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Finding Aid for the William Wolf Melnitz papers, ca. 1920-1989
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William Wolf Melnitz (1900-1989) was a theater director in Europe (1923-1939), a professor in the Theater Arts Department at UCLA (1947-60), author, and the first Dean of the College of Fine Arts at UCLA (1961-67). In 1967/68 he became a Professor of Communications and Director of Performing Arts in the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania and later, a Professor of Theater and Director of the Max Reinhardt Archive at SUNY Binghamton (1969 to 1973). The collection consists of Melnitz's correspondence, research notes, drafts, books and theater reviews, education and employment documents, photos, playbills, production notes, course material, lectures, materials about Max Reinhardt and other material relating to Melnitz's career.
William Wolf Melnitz was born in Cologne, Germany on April 14, 1900; he studied Theater Arts at the universities of Cologne and Berlin (1920-23); was director in various German theaters (Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, Frankfurt/Main, Kassel, Münster) from ca. 1923 to 1935; then became director in Vienna, Austria (1935-38) and later, director in St. Gallen, Switzerland (1938-39). He emigrated to New York City and married Ruth Alice Beyer Nathanson in 1939, then moved to Los Angeles to work with Max Reinhardt (1941). He started at UCLA as a teaching assistant and lecturer in the Department of Germanic Languages (1942-ca. 1947), then received his MA (1943) and Ph.D. (1947) in German from UCLA. He became instructor, professor and Chair of new Theater Arts Department at UCLA, where he taught courses in theater history, German Expressionism, Brecht, Reinhardt; worked with Kenneth Macgowan to add Film to the Department (1947-61); during this period, he co-authored two plays with Kenneth Macgowan, The living stage (1956) and Golden ages of the theater (1959). He was Acting Dean of the new College of Fine Arts at UCLA in 1960/61 and started the Theatre Group with John Houseman around 1960 as well. From 1961 to 1967 he was the first Dean of the College of Fine Arts, UCLA, which was expanded to include the Dance Department; in 1967/68 he was Professor of Communications and Director of Performing Arts, The Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania; was Professor Emeritus of UCLA in 1968/69 and was Professor of Theater and Director of the Max Reinhardt Archive at SUNY Binghamton from 1969 to 1973. Melnitz died on January 12, 1989.
17 linear ft. (1 document box. 11 cartons)
Property rights to the physical object belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.