Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

University Players
University Players Collection
Princeton University Archives
Permanent URL:
18 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-18


The collection consists mainly of playbills, photographs, and clippings of press announcements and reviews of the University Players, a youthful group of Princetonians aspiring toward careers in the performing arts. Not entirely comprised of Princeton alumni and undergraduates, however, the organization provided experience and training for many hopefuls who have in fact succeeded in that goal. Taking its name from an earlier group with the same ambitions and who also made great contributions to American theatre and film, it provided the Princeton community with some exciting and meritorious summer theatre for more than a decade.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

Consists mainly of playbills, photographs, and clippings of press announcements and reviews of the University Players.

Collection Creator Biography:

University Players

In the summer of 1948 a group of seven Princeton student and alumni who were affiliated with Theatre Intime during the academic year started the University Players in Murray Theatre. The University permitted the use of the theatre and dormitory rooms over the summer provided that there would be no costs to the school. The group took the same name as a group started in 1928 at Falmouth, Massachusetts by some earlier Princeton students (as well as undergraduates from Harvard and a number of other colleges). The leaders of this second University Players company included John Capsis '50, Morris Kinnan '50, and Karl Light '47. Most of the male actors were either Princeton undergraduates or recent alumni. Local talent was drawn upon to cast the women's roles. The group, albeit with enlarged staff, continued to produce as a non-profit enterprise over the next two summers.

Due to the Korean War there were no productions during the summers of 1951 and 1952. But 1953 saw a revival of spirit and activity under the leadership of Charles "Chiz" Schultz '54. A professional was hired to direct some of the shows, and the company brought in actors from the ranks of the alumni, such as Philip Minor '50 and A. Monroe Wade '30, who were now Equity card-carrying actors. Some of the men's roles as well as the women's were played by experienced actors from the community. The 1954 season was much the same, again produced by Mr. Schultz.

In 1955 the theatre was again dark, probably reflecting a lack of capable leadership and interest in producing summer theatre.

During the summer seasons from 1956 through its final season in 1960, the University Players continued its tradition of Princeton men as producers, but increasingly adding more professionals to fill both men's and women's roles. Sometimes these included recent Princeton alumni such as Wayne Rogers '54, for example. The roster of non-Princeton professional actors who worked for the organization over the years, however, is at the very least interesting to note. It includes Vinette Carroll, Donald Moffatt, Gerald Hiken, George Segal, Rosemary Murphy, Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Falk, and Maria Tucci – all aspiring, all reflecting the youthful vitality and hope of the University Players. But by now the organization was far less Princeton-oriented than it had been in earlier years.

By 1960, despite good reviews, the group was losing money. The University advised its leadership that they would need to raise substantial funds and community support or move to another location. Plagued by the financial problems, in 1961 the organization was told that it would be unable to use Murray Theatre that summer due to major renovations to that facility. Thus the group was forced to dissolve.

Collection History


The documents have come from a number of sources, such as Players personnel, the Theatre Intime Collection, and in the case of some playbills, various donors.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Mary Ann Jensen in 1994. Finding aid written by Mary Ann Jensen in 1994. Additions were processed and the finding aid was updated by Christie Peterson with assistance from Suchi Mandavilli '14 in March and April 2011.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. The Trustees of Princeton University hold copyright to all materials generated by Princeton University employees in the course of their work. For instances beyond Fair Use, if copyright is held by Princeton University, researchers do not need to obtain permission, complete any forms, or receive a letter to move forward with use of materials from the Princeton University Archives.

For instances beyond Fair Use where the copyright is not held by the University, while permission from the Library is not required, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

University Players Collection; Princeton University Archives, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-18