Frank Poole Bevan Papers
Scope and Contents
The Frank Poole Bevan Papers consist of costume designs, set designs, photographs, and other material documenting the work of Frank Poole Bevan. The papers provide evidence of Bevan's career as a designer and faculty member in the Yale School of Drama. The papers illuminate Bevan's creative life and are useful for studying the history of American costume design in the mid-twentieth century.
Bevan's designs can be traced from preliminary sketches to final renderings. The papers also include correspondence, fabric swatches, and production photographs, which further reveal the process of transforming Bevan's designs into fully realized costumes and sets. For example, Bevan's costume and set designs for Faust, produced by the Yale Department of Drama in 1949, are captured in final renderings and production photographs. Fabric swatches and Bevan's article for Theatre Arts also give a sense of his creative process and decision-making for Faust. Similarly, correspondence between Bevan and the Metropolitan Opera's Rudolph Bing (general manager) and Horace Armistead (resident designer) regarding Orfeo ed Eurydice offer insight into the stylistic and financial concerns influencing the final costumes, and provide a context for his designs. The papers also include one costume drawing by the designer Robert Edmond Jones, which was owned by Bevan.
The papers chronicle Bevan's education and time at Yale University as both a student and faculty member. Bevan's education is represented by his diplomas and early artwork -- such as a painting "After Bakst" emulating costume designer Leon Bakst -- and his notes on a "final lecture" for 1928. Photographs, a student paper, and retirement tributes reflect Bevan's career as a Professor of Theatrical Design. An album documents an exhibition on "The School of Frank Bevan" at the Wright-Hepburn-Webster Gallery in New York in 1971 in honor of Bevan's retirement.
- 1914 - 1971
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Frank Poole Bevan Papers are 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
Gift of Margaret Strauss Bevan (Yale, 1940), 1977-1978. Other material came to the library in small quantities from various sources as indicated on individual folders.
Organized into three series: I. Costume and Set Designs, 1922-1967. II. Other Artwork, 1932-1970. III. Personal Papers, 1914-1971.
9.1 Linear Feet (33 boxes)
Language of Materials
The Frank Poole Bevan Papers consist of theater costume designs, set designs, photographs, and other material documenting the work of Frank Poole Bevan. The papers provide evidence of Bevan's career as a designer and faculty member in the Yale School of Drama. The papers illuminate Bevan's creative life and are useful for studying the history of American costume design in the mid twentieth century.
Frank Poole Bevan (1903-1976)
Frank Poole Bevan, American costume and set designer, was born on November 9, 1903 to Walter Scott and Daisy May Poole Bevan in Scranton, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Scranton's Central High School (1921), Bevan attended Lafayette College where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1925.
Bevan enrolled in the Department of Drama in the Yale School of the Fine Arts (later the Yale School of Drama) in roughly 1927. While a student Bevan worked with producer and director George Pierce Baker on Overlords (November 1928) for which he created the costume and set designs. In September 1929 Bevan was appointed Instructor in Costume Design in the Department of Drama. Bevan remained at Yale University throughout his career and held a number of appointments: Assistant Professor, Costume Design (1932-1938), Associate Professor, Costume Design (1938-1950), Associate Professor, Theatrical Design (1950-1956), and Professor, Theatrical Design (1956-1972). In 1930 Bevan studied theatrical design in Germany. Between 1937 and 1940 Bevan worked as a professional designer in New York City where he created costumes for productions such as The Greatest Show on Earth (Playhouse Theatre) and Knickerbocker Holiday (Ethel Barrymore Theatre). Bevan obtained a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1942 from the Yale School of Drama. On December 22, 1944 Bevan married Margaret Strauss Gnau (1904-1978). Margaret ("Margo") Gnau was also a graduate of the Yale School of Drama where she was awarded a Master of Fine Arts in 1940. Bevan worked as a consultant in Hollywood in the summer of 1947 for Joan of Arc starring Ingrid Bergman. In 1956 Bevan was named Associate Dean of the Yale School of Drama, a position he held until 1959. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Bevan also created costume and set designs for productions at the Yale School of Drama and in New York (including the Metropolitan Opera). Bevan retired in 1971. He died in November 1976.
This papers received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization, at or around the time of acquisition. Further description was carried out in 2011-2012.
As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian.
This collection includes materials previously identified by the following call numbers: Za Bevan.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
- Bevan, Frank Poole, 1903-1976
- Costume design -- United States
- Costume designers -- United States -- 20th Century
- Costume designers -- United States -- 20th Century -- Archives
- Design drawings -- United States -- 20th Century
- Drawings (visual works) -- United States -- 20th Century
- Jones, Robert Edmond, 1887-1954
- Photographs -- United States -- 20th Century
- Set designers -- United States
- Set designers -- United States -- 20th Century
- Theater -- United States
- Yale School of Drama
- Guide to the Frank Poole Bevan Papers
- Under Revision
- by H. Dean
- 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
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