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Owen Dodson collection

Call Number: JWJ MSS 103

Scope and Contents

The Owen Dodson Collection consists of correspondence, writings, diaries, photographs, artwork, and posters that document the life and work of American playwright and poet Owen Dodson. The bulk of the material was created and accumulated by Owen Dodson in the course of his activities as an author and theater director, though portions of the collection were acquired from other sources.


  • 1896-1982
  • Majority of material found within 1936 - 1982


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Owen Dodson Collection 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

Acquired by gift and purchase from various sources. For further information, see notes at the level of each acquisition.


Organized into two groupings: Acquisitions before 1994; May 1994 and June 1995 Acquisitions.


7.1 Linear Feet (19 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

Owen Dodson (1914-1983)

Owen Vincent Dodson, American playwright, was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1914. He received a B.A. from Bates College in 1936 and a M.F.A. in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama in 1939. He was on the faculty of Howard University’s Drama Department from 1947 to 1969. He also briefly worked for Spelman College, Atlanta University, and Hampton Institute. Although best known for his playwriting, Dodson also published two novels and several volumes of poetry.

Processing Information

Former call numbers: Uncat JWJ MS 54, Uncat JWJ MS 57, JWJ MSS Small Collections, JWJ MSS Dodson

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, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization, in 1996, with further processing carried out in 2013. The list of Acquisitions before 1994 was produced from previously existing catalog cards, or from another inventory. All pertinent bibliographical information has been retained. This is a preliminary listing of materials. The typescript copy of the Divine Comedy (Box 3, folder 51b) was added in May, 1999. The May 1994 and June 1995 Acquisitions were added to the collection contents in 2013. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn 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. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

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 Owen Dodson Collection
Under Revision
Drew Adan and Lisa Conathan
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
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


121 Wall Street
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.