Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, 1923-1980
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Brief Description: The Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers documents Nina Vance’s career developing and directing the Alley Theatre as well as personal items from her life. The collection is divided into three series: Personal Papers, Correspondence, and Alley Theatre Papers. The collection includes correspondence, production materials, scripts, programs, sound recordings, clippings, speeches, scrapbooks, date books and miscellaneous items such as receipts and ephemera.
Held at:
University of Houston Libraries
M.D. Anderson Library
4333 University Drive
Houston, TX 77204 2000
Phone: 713-743-9750
Email: cdkelleher [at]
Record Series Number: 08/2000-004
Created by: Vance, Nina, 1914-1980
Volume: 9.0 Boxes
Biographical Note for Vance, Nina, 1914-1980 :

Born in 1914, Nina Vance attended Texas Christian University, Columbia University and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before coming to Houston as a high school teacher. In 1947, she began a campaign for a resident local theater. The Alley is now one of the nation's leading regional repertory theatres and one of the three oldest resident theatres in the United States.

Nina Vance’s years at the Alley were professionally and personally rewarding.  In 1958, Great Britain sponsored Ms. Vance on a tour of British repertory theatres.  The Ford Foundation awarded her a director’s grant in 1959 and in 1960, President John Kennedy invited her to serve on the advisory committee of the proposed National Cultural Center, which became the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  Secretary of State Dean Rusk appointed her to two terms on the U.S. Commission on International Education and Cultural Affairs, the only woman ever to serve.

Vance, along with seven other American directors traveled to the Russia to observe contemporary Soviet theatre in Moscow.  Additional honors include the Matrix Award of Theta Phi, the Outstanding Alumni Award of Texas Southern University and the Houston Y.W.C.A. Woman of the Year Award.  Nina Vance died on February 18, 1980 after a long illness at the age of 66 in Houston.  During the Memorial Tribute held in her memory on March 3, 1980, the building was officially renamed: The Nina Vance Alley Theatre.

Access Restrictions: Portions of this collection are restricted.
Subject Index
Alley Theatre (Houston, Tex.)
Lowry, W. McNeil (Wilson McNeil), 1913-
Performing arts
Vance, Nina, 1914-1980
Genres/Forms of Material
Agendas (administrative records)
Clippings (information artifacts)
Greeting cards
Programs (documents)
Scripts (documents)
Sound recordings
Theater programs
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.
Acquisition Notes:   

Donation of Bettye Fitzpatrick, 2001

Donation of Mrs. Walter D. Murphy, 2004

PreferredCitation: Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries