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Richard Hoffman - August Wilson collection

Identifier: MSS 0510

Scope and Content Note

The Richard Hoffman - August Wilson Collection consists of two playbills and one poster from stage productions of African-American playwright August Wilson's plays Seven Guitars , King Hedley II , and Joe Turner's Come and Gone spanning the dates between 1988 and 1999. Included are programs from the Walter Kerr Theatre production of Seven Guitars , one playbill from Boston University's Huntington Theatre Company production of King Hedley II , and a theater poster of Joe Turner's Come and Gone from the Ethel Barrymore Theatre in New York, signed by Wilson.


  • Creation: 1988-1999


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

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

Brooklyn-based theater collector and book dealer Richard Hoffman built a number of literary collections around American playwrights over a period of many years.

Hoffman has said that he entered the United States Army in the 1950s as an actor and left as a writer. His military experience 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 University of New York. During this period he was awarded a Eugene O'Neill fellowship for playwriting. He also began to seriously collect rare books and first editions of contemporary American dramatists, notably the playwrights Eugene O'Neill, Arthur Miller, and Neil Simon. Hoffman's interest in collecting first editions led to his career as an antiquarian book dealer.

August Wilson

American playwright August Wilson (1945-2005) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wilson's dramatic work explores the black experience in twentieth-century America and is perhaps best known for the series of ten plays that portray the African-American life set specifically in Wilson's own Hill District of Pittsburgh in each decade of the twentieth century. Called The Pittsburgh Cycle (alternatively, the Century Cycle), this series of plays include some of his most critically acclaimed works, including Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (the only one of the cycle not set in Pittsburgh), which was performed on Broadway in 1984; Fences (1985), The Piano Lesson (1989), and Joe Turner's Come and Gone (1986).

Wilson dropped out of school at the age of sixteen and began educating himself at the public library. He became active in theater after founding a theater company in Pittsburgh in 1968 called Black Horizons on the Hill with fellow playwright Rob Penny. Wilson's many honors and awards include two Pulitzer Prizes (for Fences and The Piano Lesson ), a Tony award (for Fences ), a National Humanities Medal (1999), Rockefeller and Guggenheim fellowships in playwriting, and several New York Drama Critics' Circle awards.

Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2004, reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: The Gale Group. 2004. "Biographical Sketch of August Wilson."August Wilson Center for African American Culture., accessed October 20, 2010.


.3 linear foot (1 box)

1 oversize removal


The Richard Hoffman - August Wilson Collection consists of two playbills and one poster from stage productions of African-American playwright August Wilson's playsSeven Guitars,King Hedley II, andJoe Turner's Come and Gonespanning the dates between 1988 and 1999.


Purchase, 2005.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0484 Richard Hoffman - Neil Simon collection

MSS 0485 Richard Hoffman - Arthur Miller collection

MSS 0490 Richard Hoffman - David Rabe collection

MSS 0496 Richard Hoffman - David Mamet collection

MSS 0505 Richard Hoffman - John Guare collection

MSS 0508 Richard Hoffman - Lorraine Hansberry collection

Shelving Summary

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)
  2. Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)


Processed by Karalee Kopreski, October 2005. Encoded by Jillian Kuzma, January 2009. Updated by Maureen Cech, November 2010.

Finding aid for Richard Hoffman - August Wilson collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 October 22
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA