Location: Bowdoin / Library / Special Collections & Archives / archives / 4.48 Collection Guide

Masque and Gown (Student Theatrical Organization): Records, Files, Memorabilia, 1903-1994, 2011, n.d.

25 linear feet.

Catalog Number: 4.48

Series List:


Agency History /
Biographical Note:

The Masque and Gown was organized as the Bowdoin Dramatic Club in the fall of 1903. The first play produced was "She Stoops to Conquer" on February 18, 1904 in the theater of the Brunswick Town Hall. Through the years membership was alternatively elective or gained by virtue of having contributed to a prior production, with directorial responsibilities filled during the years prior to 1935 by local volunteers and faculty. In 1935, George H. Quinby '23 became Director of Dramatics (a post he held until 1966) and was followed in 1971 by A. Raymond Rutan '51 (retired, 1994). Although a student-run organization, the executive committee of the Masque and Gown has always collaborated with the director of theater and technical directors to determine the program for the season and to schedule production work. Several major and minor productions, including musicals, have been presented each year. Since 1934, the annual student-written one act playwriting contest has awarded cash prizes now underwritten by Hunter S. Frost '47.

Scope and Content:
Early records, including constitution, by-laws, financial accounts and minutes, of the Bowdoin Dramatic Club and Masque and Gown. Included are technical and production scripts, such as "Decoration Day" by Louis O. Coxe, "Freedom's Journeyman" by Amy Merrill Ansara and Robert C. Johnson, Jr. '71 and the 1975 and 1993 productions of "The Only Rose" (based on a short story by Sarah Orne Jewett by Creighton Lindsay '75 and David Larsson '76. Never-produced scripts by students in playwriting courses of the Department of Theater are represented. Programs of productions chronicle seasons dedicated to Bette Davis and Gary Merrill '37, Kenneth Charles Morton Sills '01, Eugene O'Neill, and George and Polly Quinby. The collection includes scrapbooks containing photographs, reviews, and newspaper clippings, posters, designs for scenery and lighting, 35 mm slides and 8 mm film. Also included are 8 mm and VHS videocassettes of complete productions, such as "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" (1993) "Anything Goes" (1992), and the student-written musicals "Orphea" and "Corny-Copia" (1991).

Cite as: Masque and Gown: records, files, memorabilia. George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives. Bowdoin College Library.

Access Restrictions: None.

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