Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Downer, Alan S. (Alan Seymour), 1912-1970
Alan S. Downer Collection
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
46 boxes and 20 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-46


Consists of personal papers of Alan S. Downer, Princeton professor of English (1946-1970), including correspondence, articles, lecture notes, and photographs, as well as material relating to various professional organizations to which he belonged, much of it associated with American theater.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence of Downer, Princeton professor of English (1946-1970), much of which is related to Princeton's Spencer Trask lecture series, the Voice of America radio series, and invitations to notable members of the theater to address Downer's classes; works by Downer, including articles, lecture notes and course material, miscellaneous research notes, and unfinished projects; papers of various lecture series, and articles, notes, and photographs relating to American theater; and reports and miscellaneous papers dealing with McCarter Theatre. There is also material concerning various professional organizations of which Downer was a member, as well as playbooks and scripts, such as Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane." Photographs include portraits of such actors and actresses as Sarah Bernhardt, Florence Eldridge, Mel Ferrer, Julie Harris, Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, and Frederic March.


Arranged in this order: correspondence; McCarter Theatre material; papers of professional organizations; lecture series; articles, notes, and photographs relating to American theater; manuscripts of articles by Downer; lecture notes and course materials; playbooks and promptbooks; miscellaneous research notes; and unfinished projects.

Collection Creator Biography:

Downer, Alan S. (Alan Seymour), 1912-1970

Alan S. Downer was a professor of English at Princeton University from 1946 to 1970.

Collection History


Donated by Florence Downer in 1971. Additional material donated by Florence Downer 1973-1991.

Custodial History

The collection is open to additions.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

Folder list added by Peter Runfola '2012 in 2011. Two boxes of materials added to inventory by Lauren C. Williams in March 2024.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

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. For instances beyond Fair Use, 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:

Alan S. Downer Collection; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (scarcpxm): Box 1-46