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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Records Summary

Restrictions

Index Terms

Related Material

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Correspondence 1962-1963

Subject Files 1961-1963

Baylor University, the Texas Collection

BU Records: Baylor/Paul Baker Controversy, Inclusive: 1961-1963, Bulk: 1962-1963



Records Summary

Creator Baylor University
Title BU Records: Baylor/Paul Baker Controversy
Dates: Inclusive: 1961-1963, Bulk: 1962-1963
Abstract This collection contains materials about the production of Eugene O'Neill's play "Long Day's Journey into Night" at Baylor University by director Paul Baker, and the university's subsequent cancellation of the play. The collection contains thousands of letters in response to the controversy, among other files.
Accession Number BU/394
Quantity: 3 document boxes.
Language of the Material English
Repository Baylor University, The Texas Collectionhttp://www.baylor.edu/lib/texas/

Biography/Profile

Paul Baker (1911-2009) was an American professor, actor, director, and author. Baker earned a Rockefeller Foundation Scholarship to complete his Master's Degree at Yale University in 1939. He would later become president of the Southwest Theater Association in 1956 and president of the National Theater conference in 1958, and was distinguished by many awards in theater throughout his life. He began his time at Baylor in 1934 as a drama professor. Six years later, in 1940, he helped create the drama department at Baylor, and was appointed chair of the department. He was known as an innovative drama teacher, including designing an auditorium known as Studio One theater, in which the audience sat in swiveling chairs surrounded by six stages. From 1959 through 1982 Baker also taught graduate courses in drama at the Dallas Theater Center.

Baker remained in his position as chair of the drama apartment until 1963. That year, Baker had obtained the rights to produce Eugene O'Neill's play "Long Day's Journey into Night." The agreement he had made with O'Neill's wife had prohibited Baker to edit the script in any way. As the play was performed for the public, several complaints were made about profanity and the adult themes of the play. Baker allegedly supervised the production of the play despite being aware of Baylor's policy against the use of profanity in public performance, eventually leading then-current Baylor President Abner McCall to shut down future productions of the play. Baker and his department staff would eventually leave to teach at Trinity University, where Baker taught until 1982.

Public response to the controversy was covered nationwide. Newspapers, radio, and possibly television broadcasts all covered the event, as Baker was a well-known figure in the theater world. Baker first claimed in an interview with the Waco News-Tribune (now the Waco Tribune-Herald) that President McCall's directive to shut down the play had come as a complete surprise; however, McCall's testimony to the Board of Trustees of Baylor University alleged this was not the case. McCall also asserted that when he contacted Baker about complaints of the production, Baker himself asked him to give official orders to shut down production so that his reputation in the theater world would not be tarnished. The production of the play at Baylor, cancellation of the play, and Baylor and Baker's responses to it is still controversial, over 50 years later.

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Scope and Content

Materials include extensive correspondence of Baylor University President Abner Vernon McCall concerning the closing of the play "Long Day's Journey into Night" and the resulting resignation of Paul Baker and eleven members of the drama department. Also included are thousands of letters received from the public giving opinions on the matter, as well as several documents reflecting President McCall's opinion on the matter to the board of trustees of Baylor University. Also included are some newspaper clippings dealing with the controversy.

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Arrangement

The collection was previously processed to a different standard prior to this finding aid. This collection was previously listed under "Paul Baker Theater Controversy" and "Oral Communication Department: Drama Division." Some of the contents found in the Paul Baker Theater Controversy collection were unrelated, and were subsequently moved to the Drama Division collection.
Currently, this collection has two series: I. Correspondence and II. Subject Files.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

All requests for copying of materials must be submitted to The Texas Collection in writing. Please use the Request Form for Copying Materials sheet. Unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator (s) of this collection are in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use. Copyright status for other collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Physical Description

General condition: Excellent.

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Baker, Paul, 1911-2009.
McCall, Abner, 1915- -- Correspondence.
O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953 -- Performances -- Texas -- Waco.
O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953. Long day's journey into night.
Subjects (Organizations)
Baylor University -- Records and correspondence.
Baylor University. Department of Theatre Arts -- Faculty.
Genres
Articles.
Clippings (Books, newspapers, etc.)

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Related Resources

Related references

Baker, Eugene W. To light the ways of time: an illustrated history of Baylor University, 1845-1986. Waco: Baylor University, 1987.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

BU Records: Baylor/Paul Baker Controversy, Accession #BU/394, Box #, Folder #, The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Acquisition Information

Accession No. BU/394.

Processing Information

Described by Daniel Earles. Released on 2017-07-13.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Correspondence 1962-1963

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Biography/Profile
Correspondence contains letters written to and from Baylor President Abner McCall. The collection is in excellent condition.
box folder
1 1 Letters 1962 December 7-8
2 Letters 1962 December 9-11
3 Letters 1962 December 11-13
4 Letters 1962 December 13-14
5 Letters 1962 December 14-19
6 Letters 1962 December 19-27
7 Letters 1962 December 28-31
8 Letters 1963 January 1-9
9 Letters 1963 January 10-February 2
10 Letters 1963 February 4 - March 8
box folder
2 1 Letters 1963 March 9
2 Letters 1963 March 10-11
3 Letters 1963 March 12-13
4 Letters 1963 March 14-15
5 Letters 1963 March 16-20
6 Letters 1963 March 21-23
7 Letters 1963 March 24-30
8 Letters 1963 April 1-8
9 Letters 1963 April 9-20
10 Letters 1963 April 22-May 17
11 Letters 1963 May 18-August 10
12 Letters 1962 December 8, undated

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Subject Files 1961-1963

Administrative Information
Physical Description
General condition: Excellent.
Biography/Profile
Subject Files contain newspaper clippings, opinion pieces, pamphlets, brochures, envelopes, church bulletins, and internal Baylor documents related to the controversy. This series is in excellent condition.
box folder
2 13 "A Warning for Americans" 1962 October
14 "Baylor University and Religious Drama" undated
15 "Brain Washing" undated
16 "Can Lightening Strike in the Same Place?" undated
17 Church Bulletins and Related Materials 1962 December-1963 March
18 Dallas Board of Trustees 1963 December 18
19 Envelopes undated
20 Financial Report-Drama Department 1961 - 1962
box folder
3 1 "The Laymen and the Expert" undated
2 "Long Day's Journey Into Night" Theater Program 1962 November-December
3 Magazines 1963 March-May
4 News Release 1963 March 12
5 "The New Iconoclast" 1962 December 14
6 Newspaper Clippings 1962
7 Newspaper Clippings (1 of 6) 1963
8 Newspaper Clippings (2 of 6) 1963
9 Newspaper Clippings (3 of 6) 1963
10 Newspaper Clippings (4 of 6) 1963
11 Newspaper Clippings (5 of 6) 1963
12 Newspaper Clippings (6 of 6) 1963
13 Newspaper Clippings undated
14 Political Cartoon undated
15 Report to Board of Trustees on Drama Department 1963 March 19
16 Music-"Wear a Crown" undated
17 General undated
18 "Rope" 1962 December 10
19 "Who is Tampering with the Soul of America" 1962 August 27
20 Student Congress resolution undated

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