Federal Theatre Project photograph collection, 1936-1939  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Federal Theatre Project photograph collection
1936-1939 (inclusive)
100 black and white photographic prints (1 box) ; various sizes
Collection Number
Photographs of stage productions from University of Washington and the Seattle Federal Theatre Project
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Selections from the collection can be viewed on the Libraries' Digital Collections website. Permission of Visual Materials curator is required to view originals. Contact Special Collections for more information.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was partially provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical BackgroundReturn to Top

Funded under the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP) was created by Congress in 1935 to provide work for theater professionals during the Great Depression. Seattle initially sponsored three Units: the Federal Players (a white unit), the Negro Repertory Company (an African-American unit), and Variety/Vaudeville. University of Washington Drama professor Glenn Hughes (1894-1964) was instrumental in establishing the Seattle program. Hughes had come to UW as a teaching fellow in 1919 as stayed on to become founder of the Drama program and head of the division. Burton James (1888-1951) and Florence James (1892-1988) of the Seattle Repertory Playhouse volunteered to spearhead the FTP Negro Repertory Company. Hughes and the Jameses had been associates as producers and directors for a number of years. The Jameses resigned from the Federal Theatre Project in 1937 amid criticism of their social realist production Power , which was denounced by both local newspapers as inflammatory. Hughes also left in 1937 because the National FTP Director Hallie Flanagan found him too preoccupied by his duties at UW to give needed attention to his FTP productions.

The WPA in general and the FTP in particular were targeted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities, with accusations of communist infiltration coming from both inside and outside the organization. Congress disbanded the Federal Theatre Project on June 30, 1939, claiming that the average American was not in favor of public funding of performers and the arts.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Photographs of stage productions from University of Washington and the Seattle Federal Theatre Project (including the Negro Repertory Company). Fifteen productions are identified; the collection also contains photographs of unidentified productions.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

View selections from the collection in digital format.

Restrictions on Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Contact the repository for details.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder item
1/1 1-8  Scenes from Androcles and the Lion 1937
1/2 9-13  Scenes from Ah, Wilderness 1939
1/3 14  Scene from Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby 1938
1/4 15-21  Scenes from Clown Prince 1937
1/5 22a,b-23  Scenes from An Evening With Dunbar 1938
1/6 24  Scene from Flight 1938
1/7 25-26  Scenes from Is Zat So? 1937
1/8 27-30  Scenes from Leading Man 1936
1/9 31  Scene from Men at Work
From accompanying material: Tacoma Federal Theatre Project.
1/10 32-33  Scenes from Mikado between 1935 and 1939
1/11 34-37  Scenes from Mississippi Rainbow 1939
1/12 38-42  Scenes from Mother Goose 1937
1/13 43-51  Scenes from One Third of a Nation 1938
1/14 52-59  Scenes from Pursuit of Happiness 1937
1/15 60-68  Scenes from See How They Run 1938
1/16 69-78  Scenes from Spirochette 1939
1/17 79-81  Scenes from Tomorrow's A Holiday 1938
1/18 82 Number not used between 1935 and 1939
1/18 83-90  Other Productions between 1935 and 1939
1/18 91-93 Numbers not used between 1935 and 1939
1/18 94 Models of theaters between 1935 and 1939
1/18 95-98  Other Productions between 1935 and 1939
1/19 99-103  Unidentified Production between 1935 and 1939
1/20 104  People in costume with musical instruments next to bus between 1935 and 1939

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Actors--Washington (State)--Seattle--Photographs
  • Corporate Names :
  • Federal Theatre Project (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs