The Irene Worth collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, professional material, printed material, photographs, personal memorabilia, artwork, audio, film and video, and other items. Material in the collection overall is dated 1909-2002, with the bulk of the collection dated between 1955 and 1999.
Correspondence in this collection includes general letters to and from Worth (1952-2002). Included are forty-five items from Alec Guinness (1967-1994), including a tribute by Worth; several cards and a letter from Noel Coward; four letters from Edward Albee; several items from Tony Snowdon; and a card from T. S. Eliot. Other notable correspondents include Dirk Bogarde, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ralph Fiennes, Claire Bloom, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Fontaine, Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Barbara Streisand, Emma Thompson, Tennessee Williams, John Gielgud, Thornton Wilder, and Cecil Beaton.
Manuscripts in the collection include approximately one hundred items of various kinds, including scripts for stage plays, dramatic readings, speeches, and summaries, all used by Worth for public performances. The plays include works by Samuel Beckett, Anton Chekhov, Noel Coward, Lillian Hellman, and Edward Albee. Also present are translations of Aeschylus, Seneca (by David Turner and Ted Hughes), and Dante's Inferno (by Robert Pinsky). Other items include "Walking," by Henry David Thoreau; a synopsis of Homer's Iliad ; several short pieces written by Worth; and poems and articles by assorted authors.
Professional material in the collection primarily consists of subject files, mainly organized around plays in which Worth performed between 1950 and 1994. These files include reviews, articles, cast lists, playbills, musical scores, scripts, letters, photographs, and advertisements. Other professional items include Worth's notes and research on her various roles, sketches, and costumes.
Printed material in the collection includes magazines that are either about acting and/or theater, contain references to Worth, or were used by her for role research; they date from 1891 to 2001. Titles include Ladies Home Journal, Saturday Review, The New Yorker, Photoplay, Picture-Play, American Theatre, Opera, Hume Chat, Dance Ink, and Ziegfeld Follies . Also included are programs for nearly one hundred stage productions, almost all for shows in which Worth appeared between 1945 and 2002. In addition, the collection contains reviews, essays, and published scripts relating to Worth’s work, as well as various articles, book segments, privately printed items, press releases and musical scores.
Photographs in the collection are extensive, consisting of several hundred photos (prints and negatives) pertaining to several subjects. Among the professional photos are still images from many of Worth’s stage play performances. Titles include King Lear, Death Trap, The Physicists, Happy Days, Suite in Three Keys, The Cherry Orchard, Off-Shore Island, Lost in Yonkers, The Sea Gull, The Magic Box, Queen and the Rebels, Macbeth, and Sweet Bird of Youth . Each title includes multiple photos, some as many as fifty. Personal photos in the collection show Worth and her family from 1916 through the 1980’s; Worth at various events; many friends; landscapes; exhibits; examples of architecture; and other images. Notable individuals represented include Robert Motherwell, Vivien Liegh, Gabriel Pascal, George Bernard Shaw, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Gerald Ford, Samuel Beckett, Christopher Walken, Leslie Howard, Kevin Spacey, Whoopie Goldberg, Steve Guttenberg, and Ed Koch.
Personal memorabilia in the collection includes several awards, statuettes, and certificates given to Worth, including two Tony awards, a Drama Desk Award, and Worth's Commander of the British Empire medal. Other items include framed letters, various objects given to Worth by colleagues, and several academic hoods.
Artwork in the collection consists of sketches and caricatures of Worth, as well as posters and sketches (chalk and pencil) of others. Some works are watercolors or oil paintings.
Audio recordings in the collection consist of many recordings of classical piano pieces, as well as songs, literature and poetry readings, accent tutors, lectures, interviews, and talks given by Worth (1970s-2000). Media include reel-to-reel tapes, record albums, cassettes tapes, and compact discs.
Film reels in the collection consist of Worth performing Seneca's Oedipus ; Orders to Kill ; and Old Vic Studies African Dance . Video recordings consist of award presentation, public appearances, and Worth's performances; most date from the 1990s.
Other items in the collection consist of five journals and three scrapbooks (undated).
The Gotlieb Center is also home to many items from Worth’s personal library. Consisting of printed images, pamphlets, magazines, etchings, newspaper articles, catalogs, recipes, and plays and books, many items contain handwritten notations by Worth and/or notes inserted into the pages. Also present are additional photographs and letters by John Gielgud, Alec Guinness, Cecil Beaton, Libby Edwards, Ted Hughes, John Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Jerome Robbins, Daniel Mayer Selznick, Tennessee Williams, and others.