The Concord Players Collection, 1919-1983
Vault A75, Con.Pl., Unit 2
Extent: .21 linear ft. (one container), plus 5 oversized folders.
Organization: Two series: Series I: Productions, 1919-1983; Series II: Membership and history, 1952-1973.
History: The Concord Players, of Concord, Massachusetts, is an amateur theater group established in 1919 under the leadership of Samuel Merwin. The Club can trace its roots to the founding of the Concord Dramatic Union in 1856. The Union became known as the Concord Dramatic Club in 1872 but was not dissolved until 1918. Some of the original members of the Concord Players had previously belonged to the Concord Dramatic Club.
The first Concord Players production was Fame and the Poet, which premiered on November 28, 1919. Local performances were staged at Monument Hall or the Town Hall until the fall of 1922. The Concord Players assisted the town with payment towards construction of a stage in the recently repaired Town Armory, which was renamed the Veterans Building in 1920. Their first performance on this new stage was November 16, 1922. Today that building is known as 51 Walden Street and is home not only to the Concord Players but also to the Concord Band, the Concord Orchestra, and various dance classes.
In addition to their own productions, the Concord Players have aided other theater groups, including those related to Concord Academy and to local parishes. Members have assisted with everything from directing to scenic effects to make-up instruction and application.
The Concord Players are three-time winners of the New England Theater Conference (NETC) Moss Award and 5-time winners of the Eastern Massachusetts Associations of Community Theaters Festivals. They are especially well known for their presentation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women every ten years, starting in 1932.
Scope and content: Records (1919-1983) include: playbills and cast photographs from 1926-1982 (bulk 1926-1975); inventory lists featuring all the Players’ productions between Fall 1919 and Spring 1975 and the Concord Players benefits between 1922 and 1936; a script from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: A Musical Fairy Tale by John McKey II (1983).
There are also mounted and unmounted playbills, clippings and photographs documenting local productions that members of the Concord Players assisted with but which the Players did not directly produce between 1923 and 1970 (bulk 1923-1945). Among these records is an official ballot from the Concord Massachusetts Women’s Club (dated April 11, 1927).
The collection includes an informal biography of the Samuel Merwin, the founder of the Concord Players, written by Marian B. Miller; a list of presidents of the Concord Players between 1922-1978 as well as a list of the original members of the group; a brief history of the Concord Dramatic Club and its transition in to the Concord Players, written by Hans W. Miller in 1952; a copy of a newspaper article published by The Concord Free Press in 1973 regarding a gift by Marian B. Miller to the Concord Free Public Library and the history of the Players; and “honorary lifetime membership cards” for Mr. and Mrs. Hans W. Miller.
Source of acquisition: Items donated by Marian B. Miller, 1973, 1979, and [mid-1980s]; and by Lydia Smith, 1975.
Associated materials (all in the CFPL): The Concord Players scrapbook, 1919-1954; Collection of materials issued by or related to the Concord Players, Concord, Mass., [1920-] and Collection of materials issued by or relating to the Concord Players, Concord, Mass., pertaining to the Players’ production of Little Women, [1932-1992]; The Concord Dramatic Club Collection.
Processed by: Brianne Comeau, 2017.
Series I: Productions, 1919-1983
5 oversized folders
A partial run of playbills from productions by the Concord Players, 1926-1974. These playbills are extra-long and consequently stored separately from the rest of the collection.
Folder 1: 1926-1935
Folder 2: 1936-1940
Folder 3: 1941-1951
Folder 4: 1954-1959
Folder 5: 1960-1974
Box 1, Folder 1
A partial run of playbills from productions by the Concord Players, 1926-1982 (bulk 1965-1975).
Box 1, Folder 2
Inventory lists, including productions by the Concord Players between Fall 1919 and Spring 1975 and Concord Players benefits between 1922 and 1936.
Box 1, Folder 3
Cast photographs from productions by the Concord Players, 1933-1934.
Box 1, Folder 4
A script from the Concord Players’ 1983 production of Snow White and the Severn Dwarfs: A Musical Fairy Tale, by John McKey II.
Box 1, Folder 5
Playbills, clippings and photographs, 1923-1970 (bulk 1923-1945), from performances presented by theater groups other than the Concord Players.Folder includes an official ballot from the Concord Massachusetts Women’s Club dated 1927.
Series II: Membership and history, 1952-1973
Box 1, Folder 6
Informal biography of Samuel Merwin, founder of the Concord Players, [undated]
Box 1, Folder 7
Original members list and presidents of the group, [undated].
Box 1, Folder 8
Written account by Hans W. Miller 1952; photocopied article from The Concord Free Press, 1973;
Box 1, Folder 9
“Honorary lifetime membership cards” [small brass plaques] for Mr. and Mrs. Hans W. Miller, [undated].