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Howard Richardson Papers

Identifier: MsC0301

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Howard Richardson document the playwright's life and career. It consists of thirteen linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1923 to 1987. Given to the University of Iowa over a period of years, the collection is arranged in two sections. The first grouping was given the Libraries by Howard Richardson and his mother, Mrs. Frank Howard Richardson in the years 1973-1975. This section includes correspondence and personal materials relating to his youth and early career, such as schoolwork, family letters, photographs, and college papers. Manuscripts of plays, playbills, and clippings document his early literary efforts. The second grouping titled "1988 Addendum" was given to the University of Iowa Libraries as part of Richardson's estate, in 1987. It is made up of subject files arranged chronologically within an alphabetical sequence. These files contain more correspondence, dating from 1939 to 1987, and includes legal papers dealing with Richardson's estate. This section contains lectures, reading lists, income tax returns, and videotapes as well as manuscripts of plays, playbills, photographs, and set designs. His play, "Dark of the Moon" is well documented in both parts of the collection with photographs of productions, music, clippings, manuscripts. The date appended to each file is the date of first performace of the play.


  • Creation: 1923-1987


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Howard Richardson was born on December 2, 1917. He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina in 1938 and his M.A. in 1940. He attended the University of Iowa from 1940 -- 1942, until entering the army in 1943. During his time as a graduate student at Iowa, Richardson wrote his most famous play, “Dark of the Moon.” It opened on Broadway in 1945 and ran for two seasons. Richardson did not return to the University of Iowa until 1960, when he finally completed his doctorate. Howard Richardson authored or co-authored nearly fifty plays in the course of his career. He taught playwrighting briefly at the University of Oregon, the College of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, the University of California at Northridge, and other schools, usually for periods of one to two years. “Dark of the Moon” remained Richardson’s greatest success and was widely produced by regional and community theaters and school groups. Howard Richardson died in New York City in 1985.


13.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Dramatist. Subject files relating to his career and personal life, including dra s, photographs, set designs, etc. Much of the collection relates to his best known play, Dark of the Moon..

Physical Location

AV materials moved to IRA Cool Storage

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the University of Iowa by Howard Richardson and his mother, Mrs. Frank Howard Richardson, 1973-1975; part was left to the University in Richardson's estate in 1987.

Related Materials

College papers. Including drafts and assignments. (2 folders) Make-up and royalty booklets. Roles. Commencement program and graduate recital--Mars Hill (1936). University of North Carolina. Bills and grades, 1936 -- 1938. Commencement invitation and commencement program, University of North Carolina, 1938. song Hits. Magazine, 1938. Calendar, 1939--University of North Carolina. Commencement program, University of North Carolina, 1940. Aid application, University of Iowa, 1940. Miscellaneous (adolescent and college years).

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)