The Rosamond Gilder Papers consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, magazines, promotional literature and other material relating to the career of Miss Gilder. The files primarily deal with Miss Gilder's involvement with Theatre Arts Monthly. (Miss Gilder inherited the files on Theatre Arts Monthly from Edith Isaacs, the first editor of the magazine.) The collection does not include personal papers or material about Rosamond Gilder or her career as an author.
Biographical/historical: Rosamond Gilder was born in Marion, Massachusetts in 1891 and raised in New York. Her father was Richard Watson Gilder, a New York literary figure and editor of The Century magazine.
Miss Gilder was a founder and former president of the International Theatre Institute, a worldwide group with 65 national centers, founded in Paris in 1947. The objective of the Institute is to provide a means for theatre people to exchange information free from government pressure. She was the Institute's president from 1947-1975 and its honorary president at the time of her death. She was also a founder and former vice president of the American National Theatre and Academy and an editor in chief and drama critic for Theatre Arts Magazine, where she was a staff member from 1924-1948. She was a former secretary of the New York Drama Critics Circle and an honorary member of the London Drama Critics Circle. She also directed the Federal Theatre Project's Bureau of Research and Publication from 1935 to 1936 as an associate of Hallie Flanagan Davis.
Rosamond Gilder was also an author. She wrote "Letters of Richard Watson Gilder", "Enter the Actress: The First Woman in the Theatre" and "John Gielgud's Hamlet: A Record of Performance". She edited "A Theatre Library: A Bibliography of 100 Books Relating to the Theatre" and was co-editor with George Freedley of "Theatre Collections in Libraries and Museums."
In 1948, Miss Gilder received a Tony Award from the American Theatre Wing, and in 1964 she was admitted to the French Order of Arts and Letters. She died in September, 1986.
Content: The Rosamond Gilder Collection measures 5 1/2 linear feet and consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, magazines, promotional literature, and other material related to the career of Miss Gilder. The material is arranged into the following five series: I. The American National Theatre and Academy; II. Artists' Clearing-House Project; III. Theatre Arts Monthly; IV. Editorial Publications Incorporated; and V. Subject Files. From the series arrangement it is clear that the bulk of the material relates to three aspects of Miss Gilder's career — her involvement with the American National Theatre and Academy, the Artists' Clearing-House Project, and Theatre Arts Monthly. There is also material in Series V. Subject Files about her involvement with the Legitimate Theatre League of New York Theatres, the New York Drama Critics Circle, the Theatre Library Association, Federal Theatre Project Publications under the Works Progress Administration, U. S. O. - Shows, Inc., and the National Little Theatre Movement. There are also a number of important correspondents in the collection including Sergei Eisenstein, Lynn Fontanne, Alfred Lunt, Clifford Odets, William Saroyan, Jean-Paul Sarte, and Thornton Wilder.
There are a number of things the researcher should understand before using this collection. These are primarily corporate files of the organizations that Rosamond Gilder was involved in as opposed to her personal files. For this reason, much of the material is arranged chronologically rather than alphabetically and a correspondent might appear in several places in a file or box. Corporate files also contain form letters and memos, many of which are not individually catalogued. For a researcher to use this collection efficiently, he/she should have some knowledge of the membership of the organization being researched during the period covered by the collection. Another thing to remember is that some of the files, especially those concerning Theatre Arts Monthly, were inherited by Rosamond Gilder from Edith Isaacs, the first editor.