Richard Hoffman collection of American and British theater and film scripts

Biographical and Historical Notes

Richard Lee Hoffman, the Brooklyn-based theater collector and bookdealer, built a number of literary collections around American and British playwrights over a period of many years.

Hoffman has said that he entered the United States Army in the 1950s as an actor and left as a writer. His military experience led to an assignment to create a television program titled “Your Army in View,” which consisted of interviews and live drama. After his discharge from the service in 1955, Hoffman taught in the drama department of The City University of New York. During this period he was awarded a Eugene O'Neill fellowship for playwriting. He also seriously began to collect rare books and first editions of contemporary American dramatists, notably the playwrights Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon. Richard Hoffman’s interest in collecting first editions led to his career as an antiquarian bookdealer.

Sources

"Richard Hoffman." Literature Resource Center. http:/galenet.galegroup.com/servlet/LitRC (accessed February 2009).

Scope and Content Note

The Richard Hoffman collection of American and British theater and film scripts spans the dates 1956-2003 and comprises four linear feet of play scripts and screenplays, mostly Broadway and Off-Broadway plays. Assembled by the writer and Brooklyn-based bookdealer Richard Hoffman, the collection also includes a few accompanying photographs, playbills, and theater programs.

Hoffman assembled a broad representation of seventy-seven American and British plays, including multiple scripts by playwrights and screenwriters James L. Brooks, Frank D. Gilroy, Tom Jones, Lyle Kessler, and Hugh Leonard. Most items are the working script copies of cast and crew members and thus the cover wrappers and inside pages show normal wear from use. Many scripts bear the annotations, revisions, stage directions, and notes made by cast and crew members. Occasionally, a script includes accompanying playbills or photographs related to the film or play.

Several of the scripts are filming continuities (F4, F25, F38, F41, F50, F53, F62, F70). The collection also includes a teleplay (F16), a storyboard with film treatment (F28), and a press kit for All the Way Home , David Susskind's production of James Agee's novel A Death in the Family (F59). All the Way Home , starring Jean Simmons and Robert Preston, debuted at the Tennessee Theatre in Knoxville, in 1963. Richard Hoffman's collection provides a good overview of working scripts to support general study of stage and film productions of the mid- to late-twentieth century.