Skip to main content

Richard Hoffman David Mamet collection

Identifier: MSS 0496

Scope and Contents

The Richard Hoffman David Mamet Collection spans the dates 1975 – 2002 and consists of 1.5 linear feet of letters, play scripts, screenplays, posters, theater programs, periodicals, photographs, presskits, and ephemera related to American playwright and screenwriter David Mamet. The collection was assembled by Brooklyn book dealer Richard Hoffman.

Most of the published works in the collection, such as published plays, screenplays, essays, poetry, novels, and children's books, as well as several volumes written about Mamet, have been cataloged individually for the printed collections.

The collection is organized into six series, the most substantial of which is Series I. Dramatic work, which includes play scripts, screenplays, poster, presskits, and other materials which represent Mamet's writing for dramatic presentation, both stage and screen. Material for twenty- five of Mamet's drama works are arranged in alphabetical order and embody a fine sample of Mamet's work.

In Series I. are remnants of Mamet's earliest successes, achieved in 1976 with the staging of three Off- Off Broadway plays, including a play script for American Buffalod, programs and production photographs from Duck Variations, and a contract, program and photographs for Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Also represented in this series are Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross, the controversial stage and screenplay, Oleanna, his first screenplay, The Postman Always Rings Twice, and an episode for the television series Hill Street Blues titled "A Wasted Weekend."

Series II. Poetry, comprises an issue of Grand Street which includes Mamet's poem, "Hotel Atlantic." Series III. Letters includes five letters written by Mamet to various individuals between 1975 and 1992. In his 1975 letters he discusses the opening of American Buffalo and work left to complete it and his daily activities. A letter written in 1990 includes Mamet's whimsical drawings of a pig and panda, while in a 1992 letter Mamet refers to himself as an "underachiever" and says "I never found anything I was good in until I found writing, when I was in my 20's."

Series IV. Interviews, consists of published or photocopied interviews and conversations with Mamet. Series V. Honors awarded Mamet includes an issue of Proceeding of the American Academy of Arts and Letters which records Mamet's induction as a member in 1994. Series VI. Miscellaneous, consists of a George M. Cohan commemorative stamp and a 22kt. gold replica.


  • Creation: 1975-2002


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Richard Hoffman

Richard Hoffman, the Brooklyn theater collector and book dealer, built the David Mamet Collection over the years. During his service in the United States Army, Hoffman's experience as an actor led to an assignment to create a television program titled "Your Army in View," which consisted of interviews and live drama.

After his discharge from the service in 1955, Hoffman taught in the drama department of The City College of New York. During this period he was awarded a Eugene O'Neill Fellowship for playwriting. He also seriously began to collect rare books and first editions of contemporary American dramatists, notably the playwrights Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, Neil Simon, and David Mamet. Richard Hoffman's interest in collecting first editions led to his career as an antiquarian book dealer.

Biographical information derived from the collection.

David Mamet

American playwright, screenwriter, director and producer David Mamet was born November 30, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois. Mamet attended Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater in 1968 and 1969 and received a B.A. from Goddard College in 1969.

David Mamet began his career as an actor and director, founding and serving as the artistic director of St. Nicholas Theater Company in Chicago from 1973 to 1976. In 1976 three plays which Mamet had written, American Buffalo, Duck Variations, and Sexual Perversity in Chicago, achieved success on Off-Off Broadway. American Buffalo and Sexual Perversity in Chicago won both Joseph Jefferson Awards and Obie Awards in 1975-1976.

In 1984 Mamet's most acclaimed play, Glengarry Glen Ross, received a Pulitzer Prize for drama and an Antoinette Perry ("Tony") nomination for best play. Mamet's play, Speed-the-Plow was awarded a "Tony" in 1988.

In addition to playwriting, David Mamet is an accomplished screenwriter, adapting his own plays, such as American Buffalo (1996) and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), for the screen and writing original screenplays such as Hoffa (1992) and Heist (2001). Mamet has also successfully adapted the writing of others for the screen, for example James Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) and Larry Barnhart's novel, American Hero, which was titled Wag the Dog for film. Mamet has also written a number of television screenplays, novels, poetry, and children's books.

David Mamet has directed for stage and screen. Some of the films directed by Mamet include House of Games (1987), Homicide (1992), Oleanna (1994), and Heist (2001). He has also has taught at Goddard College, the Yale Drama School and New York University.

As an acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, David Mamet has received numerous awards, including induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1994, an Academy Award in 1986, and the Pulitzer Prize in 1984

Literature Research Center Biographies retrieved on 11/2/2004 at http:/


1.5 linear foot (2 boxes)

1 oversize removal


A collection of materials related to American playwright and screenwriter David Mamet, assembled by theater collector and book dealer Richard Hoffman.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, October 2004

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0484, Richard Hoffman Arthur Miller collection

MSS 0485, Richard Hoffman Neil Simon collection

Shelving Summary

Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons

Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize mapcases

Processing Information

Processed by Anita A. Wellner, October 2004.

Finding aid for Richard Hoffman David Mamet collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2019 November
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA