Kramm, Joseph (1907-1991)

NOTE: All or part of this collection is stored off-site. Several days' advance notice is required for retrieval.

The Joseph Kramm collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, personal memorabilia, printed materials, legal materials, financial materials, and other items.

The collection includes a comprehensive selection of manuscripts for Kramm’s plays: The Shrike, All Honorable Men, Building with One Hand, Two Threads (with Eva le Gallienne), But Then Again, Now Say Your Thanks, Gypsies Wore High Hats, Giants, Sons of Giants, I Sing of Myself, Challenge, The Singing String, Heloise & Abelard, A Catalogue of Virtues, Cry of the Watchman, and The Pisgah Project. Also present are scripts by others, such as “Hope Is a Thing with Feathers” by Richard Harrity, as well as assorted scripts for roles played by Kramm (often marked with holograph corrections). Kramm’s manuscripts for unpublished novels (The Prisoners and Shaky Bridge) and articles may be of particular interest.

Collected correspondence (1937-1969) includes letters, cards, and telegrams from notables such as Robert W. Anderson, Isabel Bonner (wife), Dane Clark, Norman Cousins, Rachel Field, Eva le Gallienne, Elia Kazan, Burt Lancaster, Edmund S. Muskie, Clifford Odets, Carlos P. Romulo, Roger L. Stevens, and William Saroyan. Of special note is a notification of the Pulitzer Prize from Carl W. Ackerman.  

Kramm’s personal memorabilia (1920s-50s) consists of Kramm’s birth certificate; college papers; diary; and last will and testament. Also present are distinctions earned by The Shrike including the Donaldson Award for Best First Play (1951-52) and the Page One Award (1952).

The collection’s printed materials consist of newsclippings, reviews, brochures, flyers, and magazines. Items of particular distinction include programs for plays directed or acted in by Kramm, including Liliom, Journey to Jerusalem, Bury the Dead, Candida, Uncle Harry, The Man Who Killed Lincoln, Golden Boy, and Angel Street (1938-48); press clippings (1936-52) of plays in which Joseph Kramm and/or wife Isabel Bonner appeared in; and issues of Saturday Review, New Yorker, Time, Theatre Arts, Newsweek, and Dramatist’s Guild Quarterly that contain Shrike reviews

Collected legal materials include contracts for Shrike, Giants, Two Threads, and All Honorable Men, as well as for Actor’s Equity Association Agreements (1936-1949). A contract for Anna Christie signed by Kramm and Eugene O’Neill, as well as a contract for My Heart’s in the Highlands with William Saroyan, may be of particular interest. Lecture contracts (1958-61) with W. Colston Leigh, Inc. are also present. Divorce materials—including summons, separation agreements, and divorce judgments—for Kramm’s marriages to Anna May Kramm and Lillian Elizabeth Barrett Kramm constitute additional legal documents.

Financial materials in the collection include invoices collected between 1940 and 1964 and eight bad checks from Henry S. Bloomgarden.

Miscellaneous items include photographs; an audio tape containing a review of Giant; and a film, Through the Stranger’s Eyes, directed by Kramm in 1960.

Notable Figures
1. Kramm, Joseph, 1907-1991
Associated Subjects
1. Theatre and Film Subject Guide