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Black Swamp Players - MS 305

Introduction | Agency History | Scope and Content | Series DescriptionInventory

 Introduction

This collection is comprised of documents pertaining to the community theater group of Bowling Green, Ohio, The Black Swamp Players, from 1968 to the present. It includes minutes of meetings, correspondence, history of the organization, reports, and printed materials, including newsletters, pamphlets and play programs. Also included in this collection are playbills, posters and photographs which may be borrowed for limited time periods by members of The Black Swamp Players.

The records were donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections in April 1983 through the cooperation of The Black Swamp Players and its president at the time, Richard G. Lenhart. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purpose of preservation and scholarly research. No restrictions exist on the use of this collection. The register was prepared by Robert A. Dunkelberger in September 1984, revised by Susan Irwin in 1990, and by Paul Buckingham in September 1993.

 Agency History

The Black Swamp Players was officially inaugurated in the autumn of 1968 in Bowling Green, Ohio. The company was registered with the State of Ohio as a non-profit corporation in the Autumn of 1970.

The Black Swamp Players takes its name from the historic association of the Bowling Green area with the Great Black Swamp which covered much of northwest Ohio until drained by the settling of German and Scot farmers during the mid-nineteenth century. The name was chosen to emphasize the company's commitment to providing a theatrical outlet to the entire Bowling Green area, and to avoid confusion with the theater program of Bowling Green State University.

Plays during the early years were performed in schools--the Junior High, Crim Street School and, most frequently, Kenwood School. The season at that time usually consisted of three major productions with occasional one-acts, readings and reviews performed on demand for various organizations.

In 1976, The Black Swamp Players moved to the Veteran's Memorial Hall in the City Park. Here performance facilities were combined with storage, work-space and rehearsal space. During the 1975-76 season, the Young People's Theater program for junior high school students was created. It currently has two phases--a year-long workshop capped with its own major production, and a six-to-eight week summer program. In the 1982-83 season, a Children's Theater Workshop for elementary students was created. It is designed to be self-supporting and is autonomous within the Black Swamp Players' organization.

During the 1978-79 season, the first dinner-theater production in conjunction with the Bowling Green Elks' Lodge was performed. Since that season, the dinner-theater offerings have expanded from one to three productions.

In 1993, The Black Swamp Players, after presenting plays and musicals in various locations in town, such as the Senior Citizens Center and the Holley Lodge Atrium, moved into permanent headquarters at the Woodland Mall in Bowling Green, Ohio.

 Scope and Content

The records of the Black Swamp Players are fairly comprehensive in their documentation of the establishment, administration, membership, financial affairs and the theatrical production of this local community theater group. The Board minutes are detailed and informative and generally complete. Similarly, the general meeting minutes (becoming annual meetings in 1976) are fairly complete. Membership and office lists are available from 1968.

The correspondence is divided into various categories according to correspondent. These categories are advertisers and patrons, the board, companies, members, the president, letters of appreciation and miscellaneous. Subject files are also divided into various categories. For example, the subject file labeled, "advertisers", deals with those businesses which bought advertisements in the play programs. Other subject headings include Awards Banquet, Ohio Community Theater Association, Youth Theater, and history of The Black Swamp Players.

The reports found in this collection include financial reports, both yearly and monthly, financial reports on the plays, yearly financial statements and general reports. Legal documents include agreements, applications, contracts, by-laws and other governing rules of The Black Swamp Players. Newspaper clippings document various activities of The Black Swamp Players as well as plays produced and are available from 1969. Printed material includes The Black Swamp Players' newsletter, pamphlets for each season and play programs. A complete set of season pamphlets, for the years is included in this collection, however, some of the newsletters and play programs are missing.

Files on each play, photographs, and oversize posters advertising the plays complete this collection.

 Series Description

PROCEEDINGS

BOARD MINUTES.
1969
Arranged chronologically
A fairly complete series of Board meetings with the exception of 1972. Most of the minutes are detailed and include information on business conducted, reports on plays and planning of future events.

GENERAL MEETING MINUTES.
1968
Arranged chronologically
A fairly complete series of general meetings with the exception of 1974. Starting in 1976 the meetings were held annually each May. Most of the minutes are detailed and include information on group events and the progress of the season's plays.

BOARD AGENDAS.
1971
Arranged chronologically
The series of agendas are basically complete with the exception of 1971-1973 and 1983. The agendas list the business which will be conducted at the next scheduled Board meeting.

GENERAL MEETING AGENDAS.
1971-1982, 1987.
Arranged chronologically
A very incomplete series with only eight agendas available. The agendas list what business will be conducted at the next scheduled general meeting.

MEMBERSHIP LISTS.
1969-1982, 1987-1989.
Arranged chronologically
A fairly complete listing of the members of The Black Swamp Players, including such information as names, addresses and telephone numbers.

OFFICER LISTS.
1968-1982, 1988.
Arranged chronologically
A complete listing of officers elected for each year.

CORRESPONDENCE

CORRESPONDENCE TO ADVERTISERS AND PATRONS.
1972-1988.
Arranged chronologically
The letters in this series are copies of those sent to businesses and people in an attempt to raise money for the organization.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE BOARD.
1970.
Arranged chronologically
The letters contained in this series are a diverse collection, consisting of correspondence to the Board as a whole and to its members. These letters often deal with the Board meetings.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH COMPANIES.
1968-1976.
Arranged chronologically
Most of the letters in this series are to publishing companies with regards to the scripts for plays.

CORRESPONDENCE TO MEMBERS.
1968-1983, 1989-.
Arranged chronologically
Includes copies of letters sent to members informing them of upcoming events and plays and other business connected with the organization.

CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE PRESIDENT.
1968-1983, 1989-.
Arranged chronologically
A diverse collection of letters, either written to the president or by him to various people.

LETTERS OF APPRECIATION.
1969-1980.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains letters from The Black Swamp Players to people who performed a service.

MISCELLANEOUS CORRESPONDENCE.
1969-1981, 1991-.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains a number of letters to various people and groups, such as letters to people renting space to The Players or to groups asking if they would want The Players to perform for them.

SUBJECT FILES

ADVERTISERS.
1972-1976.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains lists of the businesses which were contacted during the years 1972-1976 as to whether or not they would purchase an ad for the play programs.

AWARDS BANQUET.
1971-.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains numerous items, including letters, certificates and lists of award winners--all connected with The Black Swamp Players Annual Swampy Award Banquet.

HISTORY-BLACK SWAMP PLAYERS.
1968-.
Arranged chronologically
The papers in this series deal with the history of the organization beginning with its founding in 1968. Also included are the articles of incorporation for The Black Swamp Players and papers stating its objectives and plans when it was founded.

HISTORY-LISTS OF PLAYS PERFORMED AND CAST MEMBERS.
1968-.
Arranged chronologically
Contains lists of major performances and cast members.

OHIO COMMUNITY THEATER ASSOCIATION.
1974-1984, 1991-.
Arranged chronologically
Contains letters, newsletters and other material related to the Ohio Community Theater Association.

OTHER COMMUNITY THEATER ASSOCIATIONS/THEATER GROUPS.
1970s.
Arranged alphabetically by name.
This series contains letters and pamphlets from other community theater associations and theater groups.

PLAY MATERIALS-MISCELLANEOUS.
1969-1986.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains miscellaneous materials from plays, including publicity flyers, set designs and production manuals.

YOUTH THEATER.
1975-1984.
Arranged chronologically
Contained in this series are materials relating to The Black Swamp Youth Theater, including letters, flyers, and lists of members.

REPORTS

FINANCIAL REPORTS.
1970-1985, 1988-.
Arranged chronologically
The reports include lists of expenditures to date and amounts budgeted. The reports are complete except for 1974-75.

FINANCIAL REPORTS ON PLAYS.
1972-1982, 1990-1991.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains the financial records on some of the plays performed from 1972-1982. Most of the reports include the attendance and box office receipts.

YEARLY FINANCIAL REPORTS.
1970-1978, 1983-1985, 1990-.
Arranged chronologically
These statements give fairly complete, detailed records for the above years with the exception of 1976-77. The statements list all financial business of the organization in a year, including total receipts, expenditures and bank statements.

GENERAL REPORTS.
1968-1980, 1987.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains a variety of documents, including agreements, applications, contracts, an insurance policy and a petition.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

LEGAL DOCUMENTS.
1969-1983, 1987-1988.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains a variety of documents, including agreements, applications, contracts, an insurance policy and a petition.

BYLAWS/OPERATING PROCEDURES.
1970s-1983.
Including bylaws for The Black Swamp Players, in addition to other papers which deal with the running of the organization.

SCRAPBOOK MATERIALS

NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.
1969-.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains an assortment of clippings from the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune dealing with The Black Swamp Players and a magazine article from Bend Of The River on the group.

PRINTED MATERIAL

NEWSLETTERS.
1973-. (scattered holdings)
Arranged chronologically
The Black Swamp Players newsletter contains information on the group and the plays performed.

SEASON PAMPHLETS.
1973-1985, 1991-.
Arranged chronologically
This complete series of pamphlets for the years 1973-1984 lists the plays which are to be performed during the season.

PLAY PROGRAMS/FILES. (start box 5)
1967-.
Arranged chronologically
This series contains a number of the programs for the plays which were produced as well as individual play files.

PHOTOGRAPHIC MATERIALS.

PHOTOGRAPHS.
1976-1992.
Black and white photographs from plays and sets and of members.

OVERSIZE PRINTED MATERIAL

PLAY POSTERS.
1975-.
Arranged chronologically
Includes oversize posters advertising the plays.

 Inventory

Box 1

Folders

  1. Board minutes 1969-1980
  2. Board minutes 1981-1990
  3. General meeting minutes, 1968-1982, 1985, 1987-1990
  4. Board agendas 1971-1992
  5. General meeting agendas, 1971-1982, 1987
  6. Membership lists 1969-1982, 1987-1989
  7. Officer lists 1968-1982, 1988-1992
  8. Correspondence to advertisers and patrons, 1972-1981, 1984-1988
  9. Correspondence with the board, 1970-1980, 1983, 1985, 1988-1992
  10. Correspondence with companies, 1968-1976
  11. Correspondence to members, 1968-1983, 1989-1991
  12. Correspondence with the president, 1968-1983, 1989-1991
  13. Letters of appreciation 1969-1980
  14. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1969-1981, 1991-1992

Box 2

Folders

  1. Advertisers 1972-1976
  2. Awards banquet 1971-1990
  3. History-Black Swamp Players, 1968-1993
  4. History-lists of plays and cast members, 1968-1992
  5. Ohio Community Theater Association, 1974-1984, 1991-1992
  6. Other community theater associations, 1970s
  7. Other community theater groups, 1970s
  8. Play materials-miscellaneous, 1969-1981, 1985-1986
  9. Youth Theater, 1975-1984

Box 3

Folders

  1. Financial report 1970-1985, 1988-1992
  2. Financial reports on plays 1972-1982, 1990-1991
  3. Yearly financial statements 1970-1978, 1983-1985, 1990-1992
  4. Black Swamp Theater Workshop-Technical Theater, n.d.
  5. General reports 1968-1980, 1987
  6. Legal documents 1969-1983, 1987-1988
  7. Organization bylaws/operating procedures, 1970s-1983
  8. Newspaper clippings/magazine articles, 1969-1992
  9. Newsletters 1973-1994
  10. Season pamphlets 1973-1985, 1991-1992

Box 4

Folders

  1. Photographs/slides 1976-1992
  2. Photographs/slides 1976-1992
  3. Notebooks-sets, floor plans, publicity, 1976-1978

Box 5

Folders

  1. The Anniversary Mar. 14-15, 1969
  2. The Impossible Years May 23-24, 1969
  3. The White Sheep of the Family, Oct. 25-26, 1969
  4. Middle of the Night April 18-19, 1970
  5. Angel Street June 13-14, 1970
  6. Mary, Mary Nov. 21-22, 1970
  7. Sherlock Holmes in A Study in Scarlet, Feb. 27-28, 1971
  8. The American Dame April 24-25, 1971
  9. The Paisley Convertible, May 22-23, 1971
  10. Plaza Suite Oct. 23-24, 1971
  11. Bell, Book and Candle Dec. 11-12, 1971
  12. Dracula Mar. 25-26, 1972
  13. The Mousetrap Dec. 9-10, 1972
  14. Blithe Spirit Feb. 24-25, 1973
  15. Barefoot in the Park May 12-13, 1973
  16. Come Blow Your Horn Nov. 10-11, 1973
  17. The Lion in Winter Feb. 9-10, 1974
  18. An Evening of Mystery, April 27-28, 1974
  19. Never Too Late Nov. 8-10, 1974
  20. Butterflies are Free Feb. 7-9, 1975
  21. Scarecrow April 25-27, 1975
  22. Star Spangled Girl Nov. 7-9, 1975
  23. Life with Father Feb. 20-22, 1976
  24. The Devil's Disciple May 13-15, 1976
  25. The Glass Menagerie Nov. 4-6, 1976
  26. Macbeth April 14-16, 1977
  27. Arsenic and Old Lace May 5-7, 1977

Box 6

Folders

  1. Ten Nights in a Bar Room, Nov. 10-12, 1977
  2. The Apple Tree Feb. 23-25, 1978
  3. The Lark April 20-22, 1978
  4. The Waltz of the Toreadors, Nov. 9-11, 1978
  5. Laura Feb. 22-24, 1979
  6. The Absence of a Cello, Mar. 23-24, 1979
  7. The Mousetrap April 26-28, 1979
  8. Hot l Baltimore Oct. 5-6, 1979
  9. I Do, I Do Dec. 6-8, 1979
  10. Harvey Feb. 28 - March 1, 1980
  11. The Tempest April 24-26, 1980
  12. The Owl and the Pussycat, May 29-31, 1980
  13. El Grande de Coca Cola, Sept. 26-27, 1980
  14. All my Sons Nov. 20-22, 1980
  15. Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Jan. 23-24, 1981
  16. My Three Angels Feb. 26-28, 1981
  17. King Lear April 23-25, 30-May 2, 1981
  18. Goodbye Charlie Sept. 25-26, 1981
  19. Angel Street Nov. 6-7, 13-14, 1981
  20. Art of Dining Jan. 29-30, 1982
  21. Outward Bound Feb. 19-20, 26-27, 1982
  22. Taming of the Shrew April 23-24, 30-May 1, 1982
  23. Deathtrap Oct. 1-2, 1982
  24. The Man Who Came to Dinner, Nov. 5-6, 12-13, 1982

Box 7

Folders

  1. Luv Jan. 28-29, 1983
  2. The Heiress Feb. 25-26, Mar. 4-5, 1983
  3. The Fantasticks Mar. 25-26, 1983, (Also performed at Fayetteville, OH, April 9, 1983)
  4. Pariah April 29-30, May 5-6, 1983
  5. Vanities Oct. 21-22, 28-29, 1983
  6. H.M.S. Pinafore Nov. 11-12, 1983
  7. Light Up The Sky Jan. 27-29, 1984
  8. Night of January 16th Feb. 17-18, 24-25, 1984
  9. Lunch Hour Mar. 30-31, 1984
  10. A Midsummer Night's Dream, April 27-28, May 4-5, 1984 (with Bowling Green High School)
  11. 1984-1985 Plays
    • On Golden Pond Nov. 10-11, 1984
    • The Trial of Reverend Peace, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, Dec. 7-8, 1984
    • Stop the World I Want to Get Off, Jan. 25-27, 1985
  12. 1984-1985 Plays
    • The Good Doctor, Feb. 22-23, Mar. 1-2, 1985
    • See How They Run, Mar. 30-31, 1985
    • M for Murder, May 10-11, 1985
  13. 1985-1986 Plays
    • Watch on the Rhine, Nov. 14-16, 1985
    • You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running, Jan. 25-26, 1986
    • Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Feb. 20-22, 1986
    • Take a Number Darling, Mar. 15-16, 1986
    • Hamlet, April 17-19, 1986
  14. 1986-1987 Plays
    • Anatomy of a Murder, Oct. 17-18, 24-25, 1986
    • Seven Year Itch, Nov. 14-15, 21-22, 1986
    • Pirates of Penzance, Jan. 24-25, 1987
    • Nightwatch, Mar. 14-15, 1987
    • Prisoner of Second Avenue, April 24-25, May 1-2, 1987
  15. 1987-1988 Plays
    • Measure for Measure Nov. 23-24, 30-31, 1987
    • Ruddigore Jan. 29-31, 1988
    • Rebecca (videotape included), April 29-30, May 6-7, 1988
    • Fools May 29-30, June 1, 1988
  16. 1988-1989 Plays
    • Odd Couple (videotape included), Oct. 14-16, 1988
    • Our Town Nov. 18-20, 1988
    • Gondoliers (videotape included), Feb. 10-12, 1989
    • Bad Seed April 14-16, 1989
  17. 1989-1990 Plays
    • Inherit the Wind Nov. 17-18, 1989
    • Fantasticks Feb. 15, 17, 1990
    • Arsenic and Old Lace April 26-28, 1990
    • Give My Regards to Broadway, July 4, 7, 8, 1990
  18. 1990-1991 Plays
    • Male Animal Oct. 26-27, Nov. 2-3, 1990
    • Murder Mystery Feb. 2-3, 1991
    • Ernest in Love Feb. 8, 9, 14-16, 1991
    • Romeo & Juliet May 17-18, 1991
  19. 1991-1992 Plays
    • Trip to Bountiful Nov. 15-17, 1991
    • Murder Mystery Feb. 8-9, 1992
    • Kiss Me Kate Feb. 13-15, 1992
    • Hot L Baltimore April 30, May 1-3, 1992
  20. 1992-1993 Plays
    • My Three Angels Nov. 13-15, 1992
    • I Do, I Do Feb. 11-13, 1993
    • The Good Doctor May 7-8, 14-15, 1993
  21. 1993-1994 Plays
    • The 1940s Radio House, Nov. 12-13, 19-20, 1993
    • Nunsense Feb. 18-19, 20, 27, 1994
    • Twelfth Night, May 13-14, 20-21, 1994

Box 8

Folders

  1. Children's Theater Productions
    • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs of the Black Forest Aesops Fables, April 16-17, 1983
    • Princess and the Pea July 1983
    • Littlest Angel Dec. 1983
  2. Extra Productions
    • Elks Children's Christmas Party, Dec. 20, 1981 (The Second Shepherds Play)
    • Lenten Readings April 1973
    • The Bickersons Nov. 16, 1974
    • Christmas Readings, Dec. 12, 1974
    • Minstrel Show, Aug. 1972
    • Pot Boiler Dec. 6-7, 1968
    • Apple Tree Scene
    • American Dame (condensed version), July 1976
    • Farewell to Love (dinner theater), Mar. 22, 1969
    • The Queens of France, Nov. 5, 1969
    • H.M.S. Pinafore Feb. 24-25, 1973
    • She was only a Farmer's Daughter (Apple Butter Festival, Grand Rapids), Oct. 13, 1985
    • Summer Musical Salute to America (for Grand Rapids Historical Society), July 11-13, 1986
    • The Pot Boiler (Apple Butter Festival, Grand Rapids) Oct. 1986
  3. Pre Black Swamp Players organization (same group of players)
    • Lily, the Felon's Daughter, 1968
    • Ten Nights in a Bar Room, 1967
  4. Newsletters--The Fresnel, 1973-

Box 9

Folders

  1. Season Programs, 1994-95
  2. Season Posters, 1995-96
  3. Season Programs, 1995-96
  4. Season Posters, 1996-97
  5. Season Programs, 1996-97
  6. Season Posters, 1997-98
  7. Season Programs, 1997-98
  8. Season Posters, 1998-99
  9. Season Programs, 1998-99
  10. Season Posters, 1999-2000
  11. Season Programs, 1999-2000
  12. Season Posters, 2000-01
  13. Season Programs, 2000-01
  14. Season Posters, 2001-02
  15. Season Programs, 2001-02

Box 10

Folders

  1. Season Programs, 2011-2012
  2. Season Programs, 2012-2013
  3. News clippings, 2012-2013
  4. Miscellaneous material (books, artwork, photos), 2012-2013

Box 11: Oversize Material

  • Play posters, 1975-1986, 1992, 2011-2012, 2012-2013

Loose volume

OCTA Manual, 1961

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