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Alan Schneider Papers
MSS 0103  
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Collection Overview
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Papers of Alan Schneider, a prominent American theater director who staged the U.S. premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. The collection includes Schneider's production files, which contain the director's prompt books with conceptual notes, analysis of theme and characters, and notes on direction; his research files; original writings and manuscripts; play scripts; and correspondence. Correspondence includes letters between Schneider and other actors, writers and directors, including Edward Albee, Robert Anderson, Zelda Fichandler, William Saroyan, and Tennessee Williams. There are no original letters between Schneider and Samuel Beckett in the papers, though the collection includes a small amount of their photocopied correspondence.
Alan Schneider was born Abram Leopoldovich Schneider on December 12, 1917, in Kharkov, Russia. When the Russian Revolution spread to Kharkov, the Schneiders immigrated to the United States in 1923. His parents, Leo Victor Schneider and Rebecka Malkin Schneider, were both physicians specializing in tuberculosis. They later practiced together at the Maryland State Tuberculosis Sanitorium in Sabillasville, Maryland. Schneider attended high school in Baltimore and began staging productions at summer camp. Schneider entered Johns Hopkins University and studied physics for one year, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, to major in political science and literature. He was an award-winning member of the student debate team and president of the college drama group. In 1939 he was awarded a B.A. degree magna cum laude and elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Returning to Baltimore, Schneider worked as a radio announcer and as a speech writer for Postmaster General James A. Farley. He won a fellowship to Cornell University to study drama and received a master's degree in 1941.
58.0 Linear feet (99 archives boxes, 7 record cartons, 12 card file boxes, 12 flat boxes, 3 map case folders, and 1 film)
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Director's prompt books for Waiting for Godot (1957) and Endgame (1958), and original typescripts by Samuel Beckett in box 74 are restricted for preservation. Photocopies are available as surrogates. Requests to view originals must be approved by the SC&A program director.