Lahr, John (1941- )

The John Lahr collection consists of manuscripts, printed material, research material, correspondence, professional material, audio material, film and video, photographs, financial material, legal material, diaries and journals, notebooks, scrapbooks, and other items.

Manuscripts make up the bulk of the collection. The materials for Lahr’s books usually include many drafts, notes, and research materials. The collection has items pertaining to the following: Notes on a Cowardly Lion (1969); Astonish Me (1972); The Autograph Hound (1973); Hot to Trot (1974); drafts of Lahr’s introduction to Baby, That Was Rock and Roll, by Robert Palmer (1978); Prick Up Your Ears (1978); Full Tilt, Lahr’s biography of drummer Keith Moon; and an unpublished work, The Business of Rainbows: The Life and Times of E. Y. Harburg.

Manuscripts for screenplays and stage plays by Lahr in the collection include The Autograph Hound; The Girl Who Danced with Fred Astaire; The Manchurian Candidate (adapted for the stage by Lahr); The Lemon Drop Kid; The Dog Sitter; The Bluebird of Unhappiness: A Woody Allen Revue; Sticky My Fingers, Fleet My Feet (written with John Hancock); and Opportunity Knocks.

Other manuscripts by Lahr consist several short pieces, from academic school papers to later pieces written for publication in magazines and newspapers, including many examples of Lahr’s theatre criticism. Also present in the collection is Kay M. Negash’s “John Lahr: Champion of Alternative Theatre of the 1960s.” Also in the collection are manuscripts by Sarah Ruhl including “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” and “Dog Play” as well as Ed Bullins screenplay, “Boy Times Man.”

Printed items in the collection include publications with pieces by Lahr, email printouts, articles, galley proofs, flyers, internet printouts, and clippings. Publications with Lahr’s work include The Yale Daily News, The Miami Herald, Print, Arts magazine, The Village Voice, Manhattan Review, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and many other publications from the 1960s through the 1990s. Articles are present regarding Burt Lahr, Mildred Schroeder (Lahr’s mother), and John Lahr. The collection also includes many magazines and book catalogs containing pieces written by Lahr and notices for his works. Email printouts include those from Sarah Ruhl. Articles date from 1973 to 1990 and mainly consist of those written by Lahr. Galley proofs include those for “Been Here and Gone,” “Going With the Flow,” “Prisoners of Envy,” “Sucker Punch,” “Title TK,” and “The Business of Rainbows: The Lyrics of Yip Harburg.” Also present are clippings regarding Ian McKellen and theater.

Research material in the collection primarily consists of numerous interviews of various personalities (mainly entertainers) conducted by Lahr. These date from the 1990s through the 2000s.  Many interviews were conducted for publication in The New Yorker, and were compiled for profiles on such figures as Susan Batson, Ingmar Bergman, Noel Coward, Judi Dench, Laurence Fishburne, Tony Kushner, Keith Moon, Mike Nichols, Al Pacino, Susan Stroman, Tennessee Williams, Angela Wilson, and August Wilson. Other notable interviews for other works include Alan Alda, Steve Allen, Woody Allen, Michael Apted, Rosanne Barr, Ingmar Bergman, Andre Bishop, Cate Blanchett, Robert Brustein, Steve Buscemi, Frances Ford Coppola, Claire Danes, Pres. Gerald Ford, Stephen Fry, Barbara Hershey, Dustin Hoffman, Lauren Hutton, James Earl Jones, Diane Keaton, Tony Kushner, Neil LaBute, Robert Lantz, Sidney Lumet, David Mamet, Steve Martin, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Mira Nair, Mike Nichols, Mandy Patinkin, Sean Penn, Sarah Ruhl, Jane Russell, Live Schreiber, Sherwood Schwartz, Maurice Sendak, Carly Simon, John Singleton, Steven Spielberg, Donald Spoto, Tom Stoppard, Liv Ullman, and Afre Woodarde. Other research material includes items regarding Dame Edna Everage. 

The collection also includes personal and professional correspondence. Personal correspondence includes letters written from Lahr to his parents, dating from 1950 to 1968. Also present are letters from Lahr’s high school and college friends and other individuals from the 1960s; topics addressed in these letters include Lahr’s travel abroad, his studies at Oxford, and much material relating to his other schools. Professional letters in the collection serve as research for Lahr’s books. Notable correspondents include Richard Avedon, Pearl Bailey, Eric Bentley, Harold Clurman, Jules Feiffer, Elia Kazan, Stacy Keach, Norman Lear, Hugh Martin, Ian McKellen, Harold Pinter, Joan Rivers, Sarah Ruhl, Roger W. Straus Jr., Meryl Streep, Studs Terkel, and Robert Penn Warren.  

Professional material includes resumes, production material, notes, and reviews.

Audio material in the collection includes cassette tapes and CDs of interview recordings. Notable interviews include Woody Allen, Simon Russell Beale, Alan Bennett, Andre Bishop, Cate Blanchett, Steve Buscemi, Truman Capote, Frances De La Tour, Katherine Hepburn, Ang Lee, John Madden, Steve Martin, Sean Matthias, Tobey McGuire, Ian McKellen, Helen Mirren, Sean Penn, Sarah Ruhl, Emma Thompson, and Sigourney Weaver. Also in the collection is a record of Bert Lahr’s original radio broadcast.

Film and video in the collection includes DVDs and VHS tapes involving topics such as award ceremonies and specials on Lahr.

Photographs in the collection include photos of Lahr, his family, and his first wife Anthea Lahr; still photos from The Wizard of Oz; several photos of Noel Coward; and photos of Uganda.

There is a good deal of legal and financial material pertaining to Lahr’s life and work. These items include contracts, bills, receipts, and other material. 

Legal material in the collection includes the will of Burt Lahr and a name change decree.

Diaries and Journals in the collection include The New Yorker desk diaries dating from 1994 to 2007.

Notebooks in the collection contain material regarding notes for New Yorker essays, Sean Penn, and Bill Hichs.

Other items in the collection include several scrapbooks containing reviews and letters, dating from 1966 to 1970; and papers and forms pertaining to Lahr’s college education.

Notable Figures
1. Lahr, John, 1941-
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Journalism Subject Guide
3. Theatre and Film Subject Guide
4. New Yorker Magazine Subject Guide
5. Dramatic criticism
6. Authors, American
7. Theater critics
8. American literature--20th century
9. Scrapbooks
10. Audiotapes
11. Photographs