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Lee Breuer papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 1392

Content Description

This collection contains correspondence, writings, photographs, posters, puppets, printed material, personal papers, realia, and other materials created by or relating to the life and work of Lee Breuer.


  • 1920-2020


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Box 115 (Audiovisual material): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 116 (Computer media): Restricted fragile. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 119-123 (In process): Access temporarily restricted. As of September 2021, these materials are closed pending rehousing. For further information consult Access Services.

Box 125: Restricted until 2045. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Conditions Governing Use

The Lee Breuer Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Libraru, 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 Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell on the Edwin J Beinecke Book Fund and the Adele Gutman Nathan Theatrical Collection Fund, 2020.


Organized in three series: I: Writings and personal papers, 1920-2019. II: Professional papers, 1950-2020. III: Awards and objects, 1978-2020.


65.17 Linear Feet ((124 boxes) + 1 broadside)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

Lee Breuer

Esser Leopold "Lee" Breuer (1937-2021) was an American playwright, poet, educator, theater director, and filmmaker. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Breuer studied English at University of California, Los Angeles. He was a founding co-artistic director of Mabou Mines Theater Company, which he established in 1970 with JoAnne Akalaitis, Phililp Glass, Ruth Maleczech, Frederick Neumann, and David Warrilow. Breuer directed 13 Obie Award-winning productions and received wide critical acclaim for his experimental approach. Breuer also penned over a dozen plays including Animations Trilogy (1972-1978), Gospel at Colonus (1982), and the La Divina Caricatura play cycle (1988-2002).

Over the years, Breuer received numerous awards and fellowships including a Guggenheim, two Fulbrights, a MacArthur, the Helen Hayes award, and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Ministry of Culture. He was also nominated for many honors including a Pulitzer, a Grammy, and an Emmy. In 1988 Breuer officially declined a Tony Nomination for Best Book for a production of Gospel at Colonus.

Breuer and Maleczech, who met at UCLA, were married from 1978 until her death in 2013. Breuer was married to actor Maude Mitchell--who won an Obie for her performance in Breuer's adaptation Mabou Mines Dollhouse--from 2015 until his death.


Guide to the Lee Breuer Papers
By Rosemary K. J. Davis
October 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


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New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.