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Langner, Lawrence, 1890-1962



  • Existence: May 30, 1890 - December 26, 1962


Lawrence Langner was born in Swansea, South Wales in 1890, and immigrated to the United States in 1903. After settling in New York City, as a young man he studied patent law and was involved in New York theatre, assisting in establishing and writing plays for the Washington Square Players and The Provincetown Players, among others. With a small group of other New York theatre devotees Langner established the Theatre Guild in 1918. Langner spent the remainder of his life as co-director of the Guild with Theresa Helburn, producing stage, radio, and television shows and introducing important playwrights, directors, and actors as well as innovative stage techniques to American audiences. In 1931 Langner and his wife, Armina Marshall, established the Westport Country Playhouse near their home in Connecticut, and he founded the American Shakespeare Festival Theatre and Academy in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1951. In addition to his work in the performing arts, he was a senior partner in the law firm of Langner, Parry, Card and Langner, and was a leader in the field of patent law. A prolific writer of plays, articles, and books, Langner's autobiography, The Magic Curtain: the Story of a Life in Two Fields, Theatre and Invention, was published in 1951. He died in New York in 1962.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Lawrence Langner papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 688
Abstract: The papers include writings, correspondence, subject files, photographs and other materials relating to Lawrence Langner's work as an author, theater producer, and patent attorney. Writings include plays (Suzanna and the Elders and The Pursuit of Happiness, among others); articles on various aspects of theatre and patent law; and books, including his autobiography, The Magic Curtain; The Importance of Wearing Clothes; and G.B.S. and the Lunatic. Correspondence, subject files, and financial...
Dates: 1913-1983, bulk 1920-1962

Eugene O'Neill papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 123
Abstract: The Eugene O'Neill Papers document the life of dramatist Eugene O'Neill, especially his life with Carlotta Monterey O'Neill after 1928. Correspondents include O'Neill's lawyers, Harry Weinberger and Winfield E. Aronberg; his agent, the Richard J. Madden Play Company, Inc.; friends and colleagues; and family members, including his daughter, Oona, his sons, Shane and Eugene, Jr., his third wife, Carlotta, and her daughter, Cynthia Chapman Stram.The collection also contains Carlotta's...
Dates: 1872-1970, bulk 1930-1959

Theatre Guild archive

Call Number: YCAL MSS 436
Abstract: The Theatre Guild Archive consists of a variety of materials that document the history of the Theatre Guild from its earliest productions in 1919 through theatre and film projects in the 1980s and 1990s. Material includes correspondence and subject files relating to individuals, organizations, productions, and projects with which the company was involved; administrative and financial records; scripts and records of stage, radio, television, and film projects; scrapbooks, press books and...
Dates: 1896-1996, bulk 1930-1965