Arthur Wagner Papers, 1949-1991 (MSS 809)

Extent: 1.85 Linear feet (5 archives boxes, 1 map case folder, and 2 oversize folders)

A small collection representing a selection of the papers of Arthur Wagner, an actor, director, and professor of drama at UC San Diego.

Actor, director, and professor of drama Arthur Wagner (1923-2015) was born in New York City. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and went on to receive his M.A. in Theatre Arts from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. He was involved in community theatre and was an artistic director of the Springfield Civic Theatre in Massachusetts from 1948 to 1950. Wagner studied with renowned actor Paul Mann at The Actor's Workshop in New York City from 1953 to 1955. He was named head of the Theatre Arts Department and director of the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. in 1956 and held that position for nine years, while earning his doctorate in drama from Stanford University, which was awarded in 1962.

Throughout the 1960s, Wagner held many foundational teaching positions in the field of dramatic arts. He was a professor of drama at Tulane University from 1965 to 1967, where he established the Graduate Actor Training Program. He then spent two years as a faculty member and director of graduate and undergraduate actor training programs at Ohio University, then Temple University in Philadelphia. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Wagner was a visiting professor of drama and a guest actor for Columbia University in New York.

In 1972, Wagner was recruited to UC San Diego to become chair of the new Department of Drama (now known as the Department of Theatre and Dance). In 1977, he became professor and head of the UC San Diego Graduate Actor Training Program, a position he held until his retirement in 1991. Wagner was an integral part of the performing arts scene at UC San Diego, actively directing and acting in innumerous productions, training actors, and developing the department into one of the top theatre and dance programs in the nation. After his official retirement, he and his wife, Molli Wagner, continued to be closely involved with the UC San Diego community: the Wagners were co-chairs of the Student Production Fund Endowment; Wagner served on the Board of Trustees for the La Jolla Playhouse; and he participated in the Building Advisory Committee of the Mandeville Center for the Arts, the Fourth College Planning Committee, the Advisory Committee for the Center of Music Experiment, and the Committee on Campus Growth. The Arthur and Molli Wagner Dance Facility, completed in 1998, was named in honor of the couple and their contributions to campus life.

Content for this note was provided by the UC San Diego obituary for Arthur Wagner:

A small collection representing a selection of the papers of Arthur Wagner, an actor, director, and professor of drama at UC San Diego. The collection is not comprehensive, given the large breadth and scope of Wagner's professional career. The collection includes a small amount of biographical material, including documentation from his doctoral studies at Stanford; correspondence with colleagues and students; a very small number of rehearsal books, scripts, and other production materials; files pertaining to professional organizations and research; and materials on administration and publicity for the performing arts at UC San Diego. The UC San Diego files contain memoranda, correspondence, and ephemera documenting the early years of the Department of Drama and Wagner's career within it.


Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
Box 1 Folder 2
Box 1 Folder 3
Poem tribute to Wagner entitled "Renewal," by Carol
Box 1 Folder 4
Jewish Community Theatre scrapbook; notebook, 1949, 1955
Box 1 Folder 5-7
Stanford University, Dept. of Speech and Drama - Essays, exams and PhD materials, 1957-1962
Box 1 Folder 8
City of San Diego, certificate of appreciation, 1988
Box 1 Folder 9
Retirement announcement, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1991


Box 1 Folder 10
A - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 11
Addison, Michael
Box 1 Folder 12
Alexander, Meredith
Box 1 Folder 13
Allen, Devon
Box 1 Folder 14
Alliance Theatre Company
Box 1 Folder 15
Athens Centre for the Creative Arts
Box 1 Folder 16
Attiyeh, Richard
Box 1 Folder 17
B - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 18
Burstein, Danny
Box 1 Folder 19
Butts, Ron
Box 1 Folder 20
C - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 21
Collison, Frank
Box 1 Folder 22
Connell, Kevin
Box 1 Folder 23
D - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 24
English, Fanita
Box 1 Folder 25
F and G - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 26
Glynn, Tom
Box 1 Folder 27
Grischkat, Eric
Box 1 Folder 28
H - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 29
Hackett, Peter
Box 1 Folder 30
Hall, Julie B.
Box 1 Folder 31
Hallahan, Charlie (Chuck)
Box 1 Folder 32
Harris, David
Box 1 Folder 33
Hayden, Rebecca (Wadsworth Publishing Co.), 1970-1971

Correspondence regarding reviews and prospectus for Wagner's manuscript, Acting and Transactional Analysis.

Box 1 Folder 34
Hunt, Robyn
Box 1 Folder 35
I - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 36
Ivey, Dana
Box 2 Folder 1
J and K - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 2
L - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 3
Lesmeister-Partington, Jean
Box 2 Folder 4
Lewis, Susie
Box 2 Folder 5
Liden, Inga
Box 2 Folder 6
M - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 7
Mann, Paul
Box 2 Folder 8
Maynard, Richard
Box 2 Folder 9
McQuery, Mark and Linda
Box 2 Folder 10
N - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 11
Nickles, Ellen
Box 2 Folder 12
O - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 13
O'Fallon, David
Box 2 Folder 14
Pascoe, Pamela
Box 2 Folder 15
Pauls, Walter
Box 2 Folder 16
Polish ITI Centre - Symposium Training of Theatre Directors
Box 2 Folder 17
Porter, Maria
Box 2 Folder 18
Powell, Molly
Box 2 Folder 19
R - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 20
Ross, Elizabeth (Betsy)
Box 2 Folder 21
S - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 22
San Diego Arts Foundation
Box 2 Folder 23
Sandoe, Sam
Box 2 Folder 24
Schneider, Alan
Box 2 Folder 25
Segelcke, Tore

Includes photographs. Ms. Segelcke acted in Doll's House, directed by Wagner in the late 1960s, at Rollins College; it was her first play in English.

Oversize FB-380 Folder 04
Segelcke, Tore - Photograph
Box 2 Folder 26
Sladkus, Muriel and Al
Box 2 Folder 27
Sneed, Philip
Box 2 Folder 28
T - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 29
Thompson, Katherine Anne
Box 2 Folder 30
Towler, Laurine
Box 2 Folder 31
U and W - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 32
Wright, Matthew
Box 2 Folder 33
Yavorsky, Mark
Box 2 Folder 34
Z - Miscellaneous
Box 2 Folder 35
Zehmns, Craig
Box 2 Folder 36-37
Unidentified correspondents
Box 2 Folder 38
Signed group cards


Box 3 Folder 1
Writing notes, undated
Box 3 Folder 2
After the Fall - Rehearsal book, undated
Box 3 Folder 3
Guys and Dolls - Times Square set design artwork, undated
Oversize FB-380 Folder 03
Guys and Dolls - Times Square set design artwork, undated
Box 3 Folder 4
The Homecoming - Rehearsal book, undated
Box 3 Folder 5
Macbeth - Rehearsal book, 1960
Oversize MC-051-02
Macbeth - Costume and set design sketches, 1960
Box 3 Folder 6
Skin of our Teeth - Cast list and costume sketches, undated
Box 3 Folder 7
A Streetcar Named Desire - Notes and production schedule, 1978-1979

Scripts by Others

Box 3 Folder 8
McElroy, Marlene A. The Watergate Follies, 1974
Box 3 Folder 9
Phelan, Anthony. Power Play, 1987
Box 3 Folder 10
Pratt, F. J. and Jim Hilton. Acoustic Café (pilot script), undated
Box 3 Folder 11
Stock, Irvin. The Flyers: A Play in Three Acts, 1960


Box 4 Folder 1
Brown Brick Repertory, Rockford College. Rockford, IL, 1973
Box 4 Folder 2
Contemporary versus classic play production research, 1975-1981
Box 4 Folder 3
Danforth Foundation Teachers Conference, 1961-1962
Oversize FB-380 Folder 04
Fairbanks, Douglas (?) - Portrait photograph by Landseer, London, undated
Box 4 Folder 4-5
League of Professional Theatre Training Programs and Task Force, 1971, 1986
Box 4 Folder 6-10
National Theatre Conference, 1971-1980
Box 4 Folder 11
The Rollins Players, Annie Russell Theatre, Rollins College. Winter Park, FL, ca. 1960
Box 4 Folder 12
Theatre-related ephemera
Box 4 Folder 13
Wagner interview of Clifford Odets - Transcript, ca. 1966


Box 5 Folder 1
UCSD theatre ephemera - Playbills, etc.
Box 5 Folder 2
Drama Development Committee - Appointment of Arthur Wagner, 1972
Box 5 Folder 3
Project for Music Experiment ephemera, 1972-1973
Box 5 Folder 4
Department of Drama - Wagner proposal for Regents' Faculty Fellowship and seminar outline, ca. 1977
Box 5 Folder 5
UCSD application to League of Professional Theatre Training report and response, 1978, 1981
Box 5 Folder 6-7
Department of Drama - Correspondence and memoranda, 1977-1988, and undated
Box 5 Folder 8
UCSD Theatre press kit, 1979
Box 5 Folder 9
Graduate student faculty evaluations for A. Wagner, 1981-1989