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Richard Hoffman - John Guare collection


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Brooklyn-based theater collector and book dealer Richard Hoffman built a number of literary collections around American playwrights over a period of many years.

Hoffman has said that he entered the United States Army in the 1950s as an actor and left as a writer. His military experience led to an assignment to create a television program titled "Your Army in View," which consisted of interviews and live drama. After his discharge from the service in 1955, Hoffman taught in the drama department of The City University of New York. During this period he was awarded a Eugene O'Neill fellowship for playwriting. He also began to seriously collect rare books and first editions of contemporary American dramatists, notably the playwrights Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon. Hoffman's interest in collecting first editions led to his career as an antiquarian book dealer.

American playwright John Guare (1938- ), whose award-winning plays are known for their dark humor and sharp portrayals of the American family, has had a successful career in theater since his debut in 1960. His plays have been produced in many major American cities such as New York and Los Angeles, as well as abroad. In addition to writing original screenplays, such as

Atlantic City (1980), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, Guare has also successfully adapted many of his own plays for the screen, such as the multi-award-winning Six Degrees of Separation (1990).

Guare was born February 5, 1938, in New York, New York. Guare wrote his first play at the age of 11, well before his education at Georgetown University and Yale University. Guare's first success as a playwright came in 1968 when his one-act play

Muzeeka earned him an Obie Award. Guare's darkly humorous vision of the American family manifests itself in scenes of illness, painful death, and murder and is reflected in such works as House of Blue Leaves (1971) and Bosoms and Neglect (1979). Guare has received numerous awards and honors throughout his career, including a New York Drama Critics' Award, an Obie, the Outer Critics' Circle Award and the Los Angeles Critics' Prize in 1971 for House of Blue Leaves. In 1972, he was awarded a Tony and a Rockefeller grant in playwriting, and for Atlantic City (1980) he received the New York Film Critics Award, the Los Angeles Film Critics' Award, the National Society of Film Critics' Award, the Venice Film Festival Grand Prize, and an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. In 1989 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; 1993 saw Guare's election to the Theatre Hall of Fame; and in 2005, he was awarded an Obie for sustained achievement.

"John Guare." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Biography Resource Center). (accessed January 2009).

The Richard Hoffman - John Guare Collection comprises .6 linear feet and oversize removals of playscripts, film scripts, theater programs, playbooks and a poster related to six of Guare's works, spanning the dates between 1972 and 1993.

The collection is organized into six series: I.

Atlantic City (1980); II. Bosoms and Neglect (1979); III. The House of Blue Leaves (1971); IV. Landscape of the Body (1977); V. Six Degrees of Separation (1990); and VI. Two Gentlemen of Verona (1973).

  1. Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes
  2. Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

Purchase, June 2005.

Processed by Karalee Kopreski, September 2005. Encoded by Jillian Kuzma, January 2009. Updated by Julia Pompetti, November 2010.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2009 January 23
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

This series comprises material relating to Guare's 1981 film

Atlantic City , directed by Louis Malle. The series includes a press kit for the film which consists of cast and crew list with biographical information on Guare, Malle, producer Denis Heroux, and leading actors Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon. Also included are an opening announcement and press releases on Lancaster and Sarandon, held in a portfolio from Paramount Pictures.
Press kit, 1981.
Box 1 Folder F1

Scope and Contents

This series consists of two typescript drafts for stage productions of

Bosoms and Neglect (1979).
Playscript, 1978.
Box 1 Folder F2
Scope and Contents

New York: Studio Duplicating Service, c 1978. Revised December 15, 1978. Typescript copy in black wrappers. "Property of St. Jude Productions c/o R. Andrew Boose … New York." With minor correction on page 1-1.

Playscript, 1979.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

New York: Studio Duplicating Service, c1978. Revised March 10, 1979. Typescript copy in black wrappers. "Property of Bernard Gersten and John Wulp."

Scope and Contents

This series comprises material relating to

The House of Blue Leaves , Guare's first play. Included are two typescript playscripts, one of which is signed by Guare, and one playbill from a May 1971 production starring Anne Meara and Harold Gould and directed by Mel Shapiro.
Playscript, 1967.
Box 1 Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Typescript with minor deletions on pages 1-24 and 1-25; housed in black wrappers; "Warren Lyons Productions, Inc., Betty Ann Besch Productions, Inc." This copy is signed by Guare on the title page.

Playscript, 1967.
Box 1 Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Typescript copy in blue wrappers. "Warren Lyons Productions, Inc."

Playbill, 1971 May.
Box 1 Folder F6
Scope and Contents

"Warren Lyons and Betty Ann Besch present The House of Blue Leaves / John Guare’s Comedy, starring Anne Meara, Harold Gould … directed by Mel Shapiro."

Scope and Contents

This series consists of several typescript playscripts of Guare's play

The Landscape of the Body , including the original typescript which is signed by Guare, the stage copy of F. Murray Abraham from the 1977 New York Shakespeare Festival Production at the Newman Public Theater, and an annotated stage copy from another staging of the play at the 1977 New York Shakespeare Festival.
Playscript, 1977.
Box 2 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

Original typescript in maroon wrappers. "St. Jude Productions." Title page signed by John Guare.

Playscript, 1977.
Box 2 Folder F8
Scope and Contents

Playscript is identified as "Version A, April 28, 1977." Typescript copy belonging to F. Murray Abraham, whose signature is on title page. Stamped "Property of New York Shakespeare Festival." With laid-in program for a New York Shakespeare Festival Production at the Newman/Public Theater, 1977. "Joseph Papp presents Landscape of the Body / a new comedy by John Guare, directed by John Pasquin, with F. Murray Abraham … "

Playscript, 1977.
Box 2 Folder F9
Scope and Contents

Tyepscript is identified as "Version C, August 15, 1977. Final script - Lake Forest." Stamped "Property of New York Shakespeare Festival." Typescript with corrections and handwritten notes on title page.

Scope and Contents

This series comprises material relating to Guare's play

Six Degrees of Separation and its 1993 film adaptation starring Stockard Channing, Will Smith, and Donald Sutherland and directed by Fred Schepisi. Included in the series are a 1991 playbill and theater poster from a stage production featuring Stockard Channing and signed by Guare and several members of the cast, as well as a draft of the film script and a press kit from the film production.
Film script, 1993.
Box 2 Folder F10
Scope and Contents

"Six Degrees of Separation by John Guare / based on his play." Culver City, Calif.: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, January 25, 1993. Typescript copy with revision dates on each page. "The writing credits may not be final and should not be used … "

Film press kit, 1993.
Box 2 Folder F11
Scope and Contents

Includes synopsis, cast and crew list, and biographical information on the cast, production crew and filmmakers. Also contains ten black and white photographs.

Playbill, July 1991, Lincoln Center Theatre, New York, 1991.
Box 2 Folder F12
Scope and Contents

Directed by Gregory Mosher and featuring Stockard Channing, Courtney B. Vance and John Cunningham. One copy is signed by several members of the cast and the author.

Physical Description

2 copies

Theater poster, 1991.
Box 2 Folder F13
Scope and Contents

Lincoln Center Theater, New York City, [1991]; Signed by John Guare and entire cast of play.

Physical Location

Removed to SPEC MSS oversized boxes (32 inches)

Scope and Contents

This series consists of one playbook from a 1973 New York Shakespeare Festival production of

Two Gentlemen of Verona featuring Jonelle Allen, Clifton Davis, Edith Diaz, and Larry Kert and directed by Mel Shapiro.
Playbook, 1973.
Box 2 Folder F14
Scope and Contents

New York: New York Shakespeare Festival, [1973]. Directed by Mel Shapiro, production features Jonelle Allen, Clifton Davis, Edith Diaz, and Larry Kert. Playbook autographed once by Jonelle Allen and twice by Clifton Davis.

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