Barkley Leathem and the National Theatre Conference
Fri, 17 May 2013 16:29:43 EST
Barclay S. Leathem began teaching in the English Department at Western Reserve University (WRU) in 1921 while a law student. (He received his law degree in 1924.) He moved to the Speech Department in 1927 to teach the first theatre classes at WRU. Barclay Leathem in the classroom, Western Reserve...
Frederic McConnell and the National Theatre Conference
Fri, 26 Apr 2013 14:53:23 EST
The post-World War I era saw a number of significant changes in the national professional theatre dynamic, most notably the end of road company empires, the rise of motion pictures, and the collapse of the big stock companies. At the same time came the rise of the non-commercial theatre in...
The rare book holdings include one of the most beautiful color seashell books ever published, Conchology, or, The natural history of shells, by George Perry, which appeared in 1811. In the opening paragraph of his Introduction he states: "The study of Shells or testaceous animals, is a branch of...
The Womenâs Committee of the Cleveland Play House was founded to further the interests of the Play House, initially serving as liaison between the theatre and the public. The first Womenâs Committee meeting was held in the Brooks Theatre in May 1932 at the request of the Board of Trustees....
Restoration of Charles W. Wason's "Letters of a Trip Around the World"
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 23:34:43 EST
Working in a Preservation Department of a university library is a challenging and rewarding job. One of the most enjoyable activities involved with this profession is the conservation of rare and historic bindings. I recently had the opportunity to restore the damaged binding for a unique book with ties...
Our postings on the great publishers and printers continues with the house of Elsevier. The Elseviers were a Dutch family of printers, publishers and booksellers who flourished in Holland for over one hundred years from about 1585 until 1712. They were one of many fine printing establishments that conducted...
Samples from The Kelvin Smith Library Bookplate Collection
Mon, 23 Jul 2012 18:57:52 EST
Special Collections is the repository of a collection of over 5,000 bookplates from a handful of collectors who pursued that fascinating hobby. Begun with a gift in memory of their daughter Lucia to Western Reserve University by Mr. & Mrs. Paul Lemperly in 1917 the collection continued to grow through...
Though the Cleveland Play House struggled early on to find itâs financial and managerial footing, there was never a lack of artistic talent available to produce first class promotional material for a wide variety of productions each season. By 1922, the number of hand-drawn programs and playbills had been augmented...
Our processing efforts received a boost this summer through the work of three students, Mike Muth, Michael Wilson, and Char'ta Cleggett. Michael and Char'ta were part of University Circle, Inc's Future Connections program, a summer internship program for rising high school seniors. Mike joined us as an intern in Kent...
Small scale disaster recovery, or: the KSL Disaster Plan Works Again!
Mon, 18 Jun 2012 21:35:43 EST
The Preservation Department of Kelvin Smith Libraryâs Scholarly Research and Special Collections team received the phone call on Wednesday, June 13th, a perfectly normal day. Workmen on the roof were performing maintenance on an air-conditioning unit when suddenly a water pipe burst, sending water cascading through the ceiling and onto...
Cleveland Artists and Early Play House Promotional Artwork: John Lorin Black
Tue, 12 Jun 2012 20:02:51 EST
Among the items selected for display at the March 26th event announcing the donation of the Cleveland Play House Archive to the Kelvin Smith Library were several wooden printerâs blocks used in the creation of early publicity pieces for the organization. Of these, one block (below) resonated with exhibit creators...
In early March we welcomed photographer, Laura Webb, and CWRU Think Magazine's Tricia Schellenbach and Melissa Evans Persensky to Kelvin Smith Library for a sneak preview of some of the gems in the Cleveland Play House Archives. It was a fascinating glimpse at how skilled photographers set up near-studio conditions...
The Department of Special Collections begins a series of postings highlighting the great printers and publishers with Christopher Plantin of Antwerp. Plantin turned Antwerp into the most important center for book production during the second half of the 16th century and he is one of the greatest names in...
The Play House was interested in education at many levels. One program which was extremely successful was The Curtain Pullers. Originally known as The Childrenâs Theatre when it was founded in 1933 by Play House actress Esther Mullin, the Curtain Pullers produced plays acted by children for children. Local schools...
Planning for a non-profit theatre supper club, to be called the Cleveland Play House Club, was begun in the late 1950âs by the Men's Committee. Their goal was to enhance the theatre going experience and bring added income to the organization. The only requirement for membership was that the applicant...
During the 1930s, there was catastrophic unemployment in the country. A federal project was put in place in 1935, called "Work Projects Administration" which would utilize the skills of out-of-work employees helping them to earn a small wage to survive. In Cuyahoga County alone, 47,000 people were assigned to work on a variety of projects from the Cleveland Zoo, the waterworks, highways and streets, the airport, to the parks, recreation sites, cultural gardens and public housing. Previous efforts had begun in 1933, to assist unemployed artists under the Public Works of Art Project established by the Treasury Department. The country was divided into sixteen regions, one of which was the Cleveland region. Two people were instrumental in the success of the Cleveland effort: William M. Milliken, Director of the Cleveland Museum of Art and Linda A. Eastman, Director of the Cleveland Public Library. The significant benefit of their collaboration and leadership was a regional approach to art that exemplified and identified the "Cleveland Scene." In 1935, the Works Progress Administration, took over the support of artists on relief and hired hundreds of workers for the Federal Art Project in music, theater, writing and art. The Federal Art Project alone employed 350 Cleveland artists. The WPA projects were discontinued in the early 1940s due to the consequences and effects of the wartime economy.
The Cleveland artists were creating murals, mural sketches, easel paintings, ceramic sculpture, plaques, sculpture, graphic arts and photographs as well as furniture and toys . Women played a significant role in the creation and composition of the art that was produced. In an exhibit catalog entitled Federal Art in Cleveland 1933-1943, for the Cleveland Public Library exhibit in 1974, 21 women were listed as active artists in the program. In the Special Collections Research Center, representative works of seven women are included in the WPA Print Collection: Jolan Gross-Bettelheim, Gladys Carambella, Alice Haber, Florence Korda, Antonina Mancuso, Marguerite Root, and Dorothy Rutka. Three of these artists have works that are highlighted in this exhibit: Jolan Gross-Bettelheim, Gladys Carambella, and Dorothy Rutka.
Jolan Gross-Bettelheim, 1900-1972
Jolan Gross-Bettelheim came to the United States after studying in Budapest, Vienna, Berlin and Paris. Moving to Cleveland in 1925 she became a student of Henry Keller at the Cleveland School of Art. She was active in art circles, participating in the May Shows at the Cleveland Museum of Art and joined the WPA arts project in 1936. In 1938 she moved to New York where she lived until 1959 when she returned to her native Hungary. Her works were very popular and were shown in major exhibits across the United States. Her prints are powerful political statements incorporating industrial subjects of mills, bridges and factories.
Dilapidated Section Lithograph, 9 3/4" x 11 3/4"
Employment Office Lithograph, 11" x 8 1/2"
Factory Houses Lithograph, 13" x 10"
Gates and Bridges Lithograph, 11 1/2" x 8 1/2"
Industrial Section Lithograph, 13 1/4" x 9 3/4"
The Yard with Poles Lithograph, 13 1/4" x 9 1/4"
The Yard Lithograph, 11" x 8 1/4"
Under the High Level Bridge Lithograph, 10 1/2" x 7 3/4"
Blast Furnace Lithograph, 14" x 10 1/4"
Dorothy Rutka, 1907-1985
Dorothy Rutka moved from Michigan to enroll in the Cleveland School of Art, graduating in 1929. She worked as a portrait painter, a writer and illustrator before joining the graphic arts project with the WPA in 1936. Her works were included in major exhibits as well as solo exhibitions around the country. The prints in our collection exhibit her sensitive portrayal of of cultural aspects of society as well as the poverty and deprivation of those suffering from the effects of the Depression, as obvious from the titles "Poverty," "Eviction," and "Striker's Wife." She was married to Philip Porter, executive editor of The Plain Dealer. Tragically, they were killed by intruders in their home in Shaker Heights.
Poverty, Aquatint, 8 1/2" x 10 7/8"
Applecreek Farmer Aquatint, 8 1/2" x 5 3/4"
Conference Aquatint, 9" x 7 1/4"
Dead Trees Aquatint, 11" x 8 1/2"
Department Store Aquatint, 9" x 7 1/4"
Eviction Aquatint, 11" x 8 1/2"
Flood Aquatint, 11" x 8 1/2"
Melting Pot Line Etching, 6 1/4" x 6"
Negro Head Aquatint, 4 1/2" x 6"
Siesta Aquatint, 11" x 8 1/2"
Strike Talk Aquatint, 6 3/7" x 8"
Striker's Wife Aquatint Crayon, 8" x 6 1/4"
Under Bridges Etching, 11" x 8 1/2"
Gladys Carambella was a talented artist interested in illustrating children's stories. She began as a ceramics artist in the WPA project, trained by Edris Eckhardt, a professional ceramicist and sculptor. Carambella was best known as a designer of murals for schools, nurseries and hospitals. Her murals could be found in many locations in Cuyahoga county. In the Prospectus of Work for Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority in 1939, her sketches for "Christmas Day," "Thumbelina," and "Snow Queen" were included. Her prints in our WPA collection are colorful and charming scenes of children and depictions of children's stories.
Eskimo Children Colored Stencil Hand Colored with Blue Paint, 10 1/4" x 8 1/2"
Mowgli and His Brothers Colored Stencil Hand Colored with Green Paint, 13 1/4" x 11 1/2"
Navajo Children Colored Stencil Hand Colored with Blue Paint, 13 1/4" x 10 1/2"
Snow White and Rose Red Stencil, 13 3/4" x 9 1/2"
For further information, please refer to the following resources:
Landau, Ellen G. Social Realism in the 1930s: WPA Prints in Cleveland. Curated by the CWRU Undergraduate Art History Majors Seminar under the direction of Professor Ellen G. Landau. Booklet accompanying the exhibit, 1992.
Marling, Karal Ann et al. Federal Art in Cleveland 1933-1943. Cleveland Public Library, 1974. Exhibit catalog accompanying the exhibit, 1974.
Robinson, William H. and David Steinberg, et al. Transformations in Cleveland Art 1796-1946. Community and Diversity in Early Modern America. Cleveland Museum of Art, 1996. Exhibit catalog accompanying the exhibit, 1996.
Van Tassel, David and John Grabowski. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Indiana University Press, 1987 and 1996.