Brooks McNamara Papers

Date Range: 18961997
Survey Conducted: Thu, 2009-10-01
Creator: McNamara, Brooks

History: Brooks McNamara began teaching at New York University’s Graduate Drama Department in 1968 and was instrumental in its transformation into the Performance Studies Department in 1980. He founded the Shubert Archives preserving the artistic and business records of the Shubert Brothers Sam, Lee and J.J. in 1976 and served as its Director for 20 years. McNamara’s research, writing, and curatorial pursuits resulted in numerous publications, exhibitions, productions, and archival collections. His life’s work spanned the fields of theatre history, popular entertainments, public celebrations, and New York performance history. After retiring in 1996, McNamara remained Professor Emeritus of Performance Studies and Director Emeritus of the Shubert Archive. He died in May 2009.

Sources: “Guide to the Brook McNamara Papers.” Finding aid at the NYU Fales Library and Special Collections, New York, NY: New York University.

Summary: The Brooks McNamara Papers reflect McNamara’s life’s work as a scholar and professor at NYU. The collection is comprised almost entirely of McNamara’s subject files on the expansive breadth of theater, drama, and performance in early American, early British, and contemporary American life. The general date range for the collection spans the early-1970s to the mid-1990s, as this is when McNamara was actively collecting these materials. However, there are also historical pamphlets and booklets dating from the turn of the century through the 1960s.McNamara was particularly interested in grassroots and popular theater. His collection contains some records on Asian theater, including documentation of Chinese theaters in the United States, the arts in New York’s Chinatown, and a booklet on theater in Tamil Nadu, India.

Total Size: 34.5 linear feet, 35 boxes
APA-related Size: 0.5 linear feet, 0.5 boxes
Languages of materials: English
Arrangement: other
Location: Fales Library & Special Collections, New York University
Finding Aid Link: 
Conditions Governing Access: Open to researchers without restrictions; Appointments are necessary to consult archive and manuscript materials.

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