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Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory

Personal Papers


Alley Theatre Papers

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Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, 1923-1980 | University of Houston Libraries

By Edward Lukasek & Rebecca Russell

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Collection Overview

Title: Nina Vance Alley Theatre Papers, 1923-1980

ID: 08/2000-004

Primary Creator: Vance, Nina, 1914-1980

Extent: 9.0 Boxes

Subjects: Alley Theatre (Houston, Tex.), Lowry, W. McNeil (Wilson McNeil), 1913-, Performing arts, Theater, Vance, Nina, 1914-1980

Forms of Material: Agendas (administrative records), Audiotapes, Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence, Diaries, Greeting cards, Memorandums, Photographs, Programs (documents), Scrapbooks, Scripts (documents), Sound recordings, Theater programs, Typescripts

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

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.

Biographical Note

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.

Subject/Index Terms

Alley Theatre (Houston, Tex.)
Lowry, W. McNeil (Wilson McNeil), 1913-
Performing arts
Vance, Nina, 1914-1980

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Portions of this collection are restricted.

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 Method:

Donation of Bettye Fitzpatrick, 2001

Donation of Mrs. Walter D. Murphy, 2004

Separated Materials: 3 volume bound copies of Alley Theatre Programs, 1947-1968 available in UH Library Catalog PN2277.H682 A46 v.1-3

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

Processing Information:

Edward Lukasek, 2005 

Rebecca Russell, 2008

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers, 1923-1980],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Alley Theatre Papers],

Series 2: Correspondence
Greeting cards, telegrams, personal correspondence and correspondence pertaining to Alley business are included in this series.
Sub-Series 1: Incoming Correspondence
Box 3
Folder 14: Alice in Wonderland apprentices, 1978
Folder 15: B-Z
Folder 16: [Baker], Nannie Ray
Folder 17: Criss, Louis
Folder 18: The Cultural Leader of the Year, invitation, March 22, 1972
Folder 19: Fitzpatrick, Bettye
Folder 20: Lowry, W. McNeil
Folder 21: Missouri Repertory Theatre, “The Importance of Resident Professional Theatre in America”, June 5, 1976
Folder 22: Sanford, Beth
Folder 23: University of Malaya
Folder 24: University of St. Thomas Commencement, honorary doctorate, May 23, 1969
Folder 25: The White House [President Gerald R. Ford], October 14, 1976
Sub-Series 2: Outgoing Correspondence
Box 3
Folder 26: Fitzpatrick, Bettye and Beth Sanford
Folder 27: Trotman, William
Folder 28: Whittington, Calvin & Minerva (Parents), undated
Folder 29: A-Z
Sub-Series 3: Third-Party Correspondence
Box 3
Folder 30: Miscellaneous, 1977-79

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers, 1923-1980],
[Series 2: Correspondence],
[Series 3: Alley Theatre Papers],

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