An Inventory of the Collection
Ms. Claitor was born in Pasadena, CA, but spent most of her childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas and Amarillo, Texas. At age five she appeared on the Art Linkletter show. After attending 13 schools in 12 years she left home at 18, traveling and spending time in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Houston, England, and France before settling in Austin, Texas. Claitor first began writing articles for the Austin Sun, an underground newspaper, in the 1970s. After a brief excursion to Fayetteville, Arkansas she returned to Austin to attend the University of Texas and earn a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film, with a minor in Latin American Studies. While attending UT she worked at the Briscoe Center for American History from where she discovered what was to become a lifetime interest in Texas history.
Ms. Claitor became involved in local theater in Austin, Texas, and from 1978 to 1985, she worked as a publicist and in other capacities at Zachary Scott Theatre, Capitol City Playhouse, and Live Oak Theatre. Then from 1978 to 1985, she was the manager at the Paramount Theatre where her job involved supervising contracts and volunteers and managing the front of the house. At the same time, she wrote for newspapers such as the Austin American-Statesman and Austin Chronicle, as well as magazines including The Progressive and The Texas Observer. From 1984 to 1986, she was theater critic for the American-Statesman, and in that role she came to know radio host/writer/actor John Henry Faulk. They met when Claitor reviewed his one man show Pear Orchard, Texas; their friendship lasted until Faulk's death in 1990, and she wrote his front-page obituary for the Austin Chronicle.
During this same period and since, Claitor also worked as a freelance researcher, providing information, recordings, and photographs for clients including the PBS The American Experience series, filmmakers Robert Benton and Ron Howard, and playwright-screenwriters Horton Foote, with a special focus on historical Texas. She also spent two years working at PBS headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Claitor is married to artist David H. Elliot. Both have worked at Austin Community College in various capacities, and Claitor has continued to write for several publications. She co-founded and directs the non-profit advocacy group, Texas Jail Project.
The collection contains correspondence, notes, creative works, photographic materials, schedules and subject files (1980-1990) created and maintained by Ms. Claitor that document her activities as a theater critic for the Austin American-Statesman and The Austin Chronicle, as well as her involvement with theater in Austin, Texas. The bulk of the material dates from 1987-1989.
The Theater and Production Groups series comprise the bulk of the materials. Arranged alphabetically, this series documents theater in Austin, Round Rock, and San Marcos. Large subject files are further sub-divided by play. The Paramount Theatre file chronicles Claitor's time as the Operations Manager from 1984-1985, and the "42nd Street," "LBJ," and "The Music Man" plays. The theater most widely represented is the University of Texas Arts Complex with collected materials for "Cabaret," Mark Twain Tonight," and "South Pacific." Also chronicled are visiting theater groups such as Roadside Theater and the Seattle Mime Theater.
Smaller series include Correspondence, Creative Works, Schedules, Posters, and Photographs. The Creative Works series includes several examples of Ms. Claitor's drafts for her theater column and a substantial collection of her handwritten notes on plays, theaters and actors in Austin. The Schedules series documents Ms. Claitor's review schedule of plays presented in the Austin area. The collection also contains 32 black and white photographs and 1 color print of various theater productions, 4 posters promoting productions at Esther's Follies and Live Oak Theatre, and 2 buttons promoting art and theater in Austin.
Open to all users
The Austin History Center (AHC) is the owner of the physical materials in the AHC collections and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the AHC before any publication use. The AHC does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Consult repository for more details.
Claitor Papers (AR.1991.007). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.
Donor #: DO/1990/061
Donation Date: 1990
Finding aid and encoding by Christina Wolf/Molly Hults, 2010.
Two video tapes and an audiocassette as well as 2 artifacts still need to be located and added to the detailed description of the collection. See Donor File for more information.
Detailed Description of the Collection