Langton, Basil (1912-2003)

The Basil Langton collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed materials, professional materials, research materials, film and video, audio materials, photographs, and scrapbooks.

The collection includes manuscripts for Langton’s books, Artists at Home and My Life in War, as well as typescript programs for poetry readings; The Whiteoaks (play, with Joyce Howard); concert version scripts of works by John Phillips Sousa; and a libretto composed by Langton for Sousa’s “The Free Lance.” Drafts of poems from various authors, totaling over 100 items, constitute additional manuscript materials.

Collected correspondence is principally professional. Langton’s letters regard the “Poets and Playwrights” project; information for Life magazine; “The Travelling Repertory Theatre”; poetry readings; and contracts with the Manhattan School of Music.

Printed materials in the collection include newsclippings and programs for “The Arts in War Time,” “Far and Wide,” “Empire State Music Festival,” “Manhattan School of Music,” and miscellaneous productions (1932-96). Copies of The Tatler and Bystander and Stage and Screen are also present, alongside a section of the New York Times Magazine pertaining to Ezra Pound.

Professional materials are collected under headings such as “Hay Fever,” “Private Lives,” and “Yerma” (an opera by Hector Villa-Lobos, directed by Langton). Materials for Yerma are particularly comprehensive, consisting of manuscripts, correspondence, printed materials, production lists and schedules, photographs, and artwork. Miscellaneous professional items include Travelling Repertory Theatre statistics; eight Shakespeare schedules of plays; calendars; and syllabi for Langton’s courses at the Manhattan School of Music.

Langton’s research materials include notes and quotations on classic theatre and acting; typescript and holograph notes about operas; programs and press items for “The Free Lance”; and assorted materials regarding L’Arlesienne.

Film and video materials consist of four tape reels labeled “Nashville” and a VHS cassette tape entitled “BAFTA La Archive Project,” which contains an interview with Langton regarding his stage career (2000).

Collected audio materials include five reels from the Manhattan School of Music; five reel-to-reel tapes of “Poets and Playwrights” readings (1956-58); cassette tapes of the Santa Fe performance of Yerma and the Iowa State Center performance of “The Free Lance”; and 22 additional cassette tapes of lectures given by Langton at UCLA and the Manhattan School of Music.

Photographs in the collection include black and white and color prints, collected primarily between 1936 and 1994, as well as two black and white contact sheets. Some of the photos capture performances at the Manhattan School of Music.

The collection also includes scrapbooks in which Langton maintained materials pertaining to the Travelling Repertory Theatre from 1941 to 1947, as well as two untitled scrapbooks filled with clippings, letters, and photos (1930-1950).

Notable Figures
1. Langton, Basil
Associated Subjects
1. Theatre and Film Subject Guide