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Leon Katz papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 1409

Scope and Contents

The Leon Katz Papers consists of research files, writings, personal and professional papers, correspondence, subject files, photographs, printed materials, computer media, and audiovisual materials by or relating to Leon Katz. The collection documents Katz's lifelong study of Gertrude Stein; included are extensive research files, notes, drafts, and Stein's correspondence with notable associates, such as Mabel Dodge Luhan, Ernest Hemingway, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Leo Stein, Mabel Weeks, and Carl Van Vechten. It also includes a card index and transcripts of Katz's interviews with Stein's partner, Alice B. Toklas, as well as Katz's doctoral thesis about the earliest drafts of Stein's novel The Making of Americans, and drafts of his book The Notebooks of Gertrude Stein. Personal and professional papers contain Katz's other books, anthologies, plays, scripts, articles, and reviews by Katz, in addition to teaching files, artwork, and personal financial records. Correspondence and subject files include letters between Katz and notable individuals such as Meiling Cheng, Ulla Dydo, Donald Gallup, Peter Golub, Virgil Thomson, Alice Toklas, and his son, writer Elia Katz. Also present within the collection are translations, plays, books, and articles by other writers, including Conrad and Linda Bishop, Donald Freed, Georgi Iliev, Elia and Fred Katz, Rose Martula, and Orson Welles. Photographs contain images of Katz and his family, as well as images from theater productions. Printed materials contain books, serials, and broadsides. Computer and audiovisual media consist of compact discs, DVDs, floppy disks, videocassettes, audiocassettes, and audio discs.


  • 1914-2016 and undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Boxes 56-57 (student works): Restricted until 2087. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Box 84 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 85-89 (audiovisual media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Leon Katz Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2017.


Organized into eight series: I. Research and Writings on Gertrude Stein, 1914-circa 2015 and undated. II. Professional and Personal Papers, 1950-2016 and undated. III. Correspondence and Subject Files, 1943-2016 and undated. IV. Other Papers, 1975-2016 and undated. V. Writings of Others, circa 1947-2009 and undated. VI. Photographs, circa 1950-2016 and undated. VII. Printed Materials, 1939-2010 and undated. VIII. Computer and Audiovisual Media, 1947-1998 and undated.


82.08 Linear Feet (90 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The Leon Katz Papers contains research files, writings, personal papers, professional papers, correspondence, subject files, photographs, printed materials, computer media, and audiovisual materials by or relating to Leon Katz.

Leon Katz (1919-2017)

Leon Katz was an American playwright, dramaturg, and Professor Emeritus of Drama at Yale University, where he was co-chair of the Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism department from 1981 to 1989. He was a prominent scholar of Gertrude Stein, and as a doctoral candidate in 1948, Katz uncovered a previously obscure collection of Stein’s notebooks in her archives at Yale, kept while she was writing The Making of Americans (1925). His transcriptions of the notebooks, followed by extensive interviews with Stein’s partner Alice B. Toklas from 1952 to 1953, were the foundation of his 1963 dissertation, “The First Making of The Making of Americans: A Study Based on Gertrude Stein's Notebooks and Early Versions of Her Novel (1902-1908).” Throughout his life, Katz continued to work on his book, The Notebooks of Gertrude Stein, which he completed days before his death in 2017.

Katz was born on July 10, 1919 in New York City to Bernard Katz and Rachel Koslow. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1940 and studied at Columbia University, where he earned an M.A. in 1946 and a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature in 1962.

Katz was a professor of drama for over 60 years; he taught at Carnegie Mellon University from 1968 to 1977 and the University of Pittsburgh from 1977 to 1981, where he was a leading figure in Pittsburgh’s theater scene and active in local alternative theater companies such as Theater Express and the 99 Cent Floating Theatre. After retiring from Yale, he taught at the University of California Los Angeles for 12 years. In 2004, he was appointed David G. Grey Distinguished Professor of Dramaturg for PlayMakers Repertory Company at the University of North Carolina. He was recognized for his contributions to teaching with an Association for Theatre in Higher Education lifetime achievement award in 2004.

Katz wrote over 50 plays, among them original works such as The Three Cuckolds (1986), The Son of Arlecchino (1986), and Beds (2000), and adaptations from other authors and playwrights including Dracula: Sabbat, The Dybbuk, Pinocchio, and the Marquis de Sade’s Justine. In 1973, he wrote an opera based on Stein’s The Making of Americans with composer Al Carmines. Four of his plays were published in the anthology Midnight Plays (1992). In the field of dramaturgy, Katz was renowned for his 1984 essay “The Compleat Dramaturg.” He also served as resident dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, where he contributed work on Tony Kushner's play Angels in America (1992).

Katz was married to Sadell Kasmere, an elementary school classmate, with whom he had two sons, Elia and Frederick. He died on January 23, 2017 in Encino, California.

Separated Materials

Fifty books and four serial publications were removed for separate cataloging and can be accessed by searching the library's online catalog. A bibliography of these materials can be found in Appendix A.

Appendix A: Separated Materials Bibliography


  1. Aeschylus. The Eumenides. Translated by Hugh Lloyd-Jones. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970.
  2. Aeschylus. The Oresteia Trilogy and Prometheus Bound. Translated by Michael Townsend. San Francisco: Chandler Publishing Company, 1966.
  3. Agnon, S.Y. A Simple Story. Translated by Hillel Halkin. New York: Schocken Books, 1985.
  4. Berlin, Isaiah. Against the Current: Essays in the History of Ideas. Edited by Henry Hardy. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.
  5. Bradbury, Malcolm and James McFarlane, eds. Modernism: A Guide to European Literature, 1890-1930. New York: Penguin Books, 1976.
  6. Burns, Edward, ed. Staying on Alone: Letters of Alice B. Toklas. New York: Liveright, 1973. (2 copies)
  7. Chamberlin, Roy B. and Herman Feldman , eds . The Dartmouth Bible. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1950.
  8. Critical Essays of the Early Nineteenth Century. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1921.
  9. Crunden, Robert M. American Salons: Encounters with European Modernism, 1885 -1917. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  10. Dorfman, Ariel. Widows. New York: Penguin Books, 1983.
  11. Dydo, Ulla E., ed. A Stein Reader. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1993.
  12. Edwards, Anne. Sonya: The Life of Countess Tolstoy. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1981.
  13. Four Americans in Paris: The Collection of Gertrude Stein and Her Family. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1970.
  14. Gide, André and Jean-Louis Barrault. The Trial: A Dramatization Based on Franz Kafka’s Novel. Translated by Leon Katz. New York: Schocken Books, 1963
  15. Grahn, Judy. Really Reading Gertrude Stein. Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1989.
  16. Gygax, Franziska. Gender and Genre in Gertrude Stein. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1998.
  17. Hobsbawm, E.J. The Age of Empire: 1875-1914. New York: Vintage Books, 1989.
  18. The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments, A Reference Edition. New York: American Bible Society , n.d.
  19. Hubbell, George Shelton. Writing Documented Papers. New York: De Pamphilis Press, Inc., 1941.
  20. Katz, Leon and Georgi Iliev, eds. Classical Monologues, From Aeschylus to Bernard Shaw, Volume 1: Younger Men’s Roles. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2002.
  21. Katz, Leon and Georgi Iliev, eds. Classical Monologues, From Aeschylus to Bernard Shaw, Volume 2: Older Men’s Roles. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2002.
  22. Katz, Leon and Georgi Iliev, eds. Classical Monologues, Women, Volume 3: From Aeschylus to Racine. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2004.
  23. Katz, Leon and Georgi Iliev, eds. Classical Monologues, Women, Volume 4: From the Restoration to Bernard Shaw. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2004.
  24. Katz, Leon. Cleaning the Augean Stables: Examining Drama’s Strategies. Encino, CA: Leon Katz, 2012.
  25. Katz, Leon. The Making of Americans: An Opera and a Play, from the Novel by Gertrude Stein. West Glover, VT: Something Else Press, 1973. (2 copies)
  26. Katz, Leon. Midnight Plays . Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992.
  27. Katz, Leon. The Son of Arlecchino. New York: Applause Theatre Book Publishers, 1986. (2 copies)
  28. Kostelanetz, Richard, ed. The Avant-Garde Tradition in Literature. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1982.
  29. Kostelanetz, Richard, ed. The Yale Gertrude Stein. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1980.
  30. Meyer, Steven. Irresistible Dictation: Gertrude Stein and the Correlations of Writing and Science. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.
  31. Miles, Jack. God: A Biography. New York: Vintage Books, 1996.
  32. Musil, Robert. Five Women. Translated by Eithne Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser. Boston: Verba Mundi, 1999.
  33. Pivano, Fernanda. Gertrude Stein: Pioniera Di Un Secolo. n.p., n.d.
  34. Reid, B.L. Art By Subtraction: A Dissenting Opinion of Gertrude Stein. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1958.
  35. Richey, Elinor. Eminent Women of the West. Berkeley: Howell-North Books, 1975.
  36. Rigal, Waldo A. A Shortcut to the Italian Language. New York: Philosophical Library, 1960.
  37. Rubin, William, ed. Pablo Picasso: A Retrospective. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1980.
  38. Shattuck, Roger. The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant Garde in France, 1885 to World War I. New York: Vintage Books, 196 8.
  39. Souham, Diana. Gertrude and Alice. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1992.
  40. Stein, Gertrude. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. New York: The Literary Guild, 1933.
  41. Stein, Gertrude. Fernhurst, Q.E.D., and Other Early Writings. New York: Liveright, 1971.
  42. Stein, Gertrude. How to Write. New York: Dover Publications, 1975.
  43. Stein, Gertrude. The Making of Americans: Being a History of a Family’s Progress. Normal, IL: Dalkley Archive Press, 1995.
  44. Stimpson, Catharine R. and Chessman, Harriet, eds. Stein: Writings 1903-1932. New York: The Library of America, 1999.
  45. Treble, H.A. and G.H. Vallins. An ABC of English Usage. New York: Oxford University Press, 1937.
  46. Turner, Kay, ed. Baby Precious Always Shines: Selected Love Notes Between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
  47. Wagner-Martin, Linda. “Favored Strangers:” Gertrude Stein and Her Family. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1995.
  48. Watson, Dana Cairns. Gertrude Stein and the Essence of What Happens. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005.
  49. Watson, Steven. Strange Bedfellows: The First American Avant-Garde. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 1991.
  50. Wineapple, Brenda. Sister Brother: Gertrude & Leo Stein. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996.


  1. The Book Collector, A Reprint 19, no. 2 (Summer 1970).
  2. Degler, Carl N. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman on the Theory and Practice of Feminism.” American Quarterly, n.d.
  3. The Yale University Library Gazette 50, no. 1 (July 1975).
  4. The Yale Review 100, no. 3 (July 2012).

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections as they are acquired, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

Leon Katz originally organized his collection into four large groupings: Leon Katz Papers, Leon Katz-Gertrude Stein Archive, Katz's Files, and Other Materials. After receipt, library staff reviewed the housing and arrangement of the collection and made adjustments as necessary to meet collection management requirements. An archivist sorted the boxes into broader series, but made few changes to the folder-level arrangement of the archive, except where necessary to meet the library's best practices for processing manuscript collections. Library staff wrote the collection- and series-level description. Almost all description at the file level was transcribed from folder titles supplied by Katz, with minimal edits made by library staff. Titles in brackets were supplied by the archivist.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Leon Katz Papers
by Emily Komornik
December 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

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