News | January 8, 2015

Yale’s Beinecke Library Acquires Archive of Playwright Paula Vogel

New Haven, Conn.—The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University is pleased to announce that it has acquired the literary archive of dramatist Paula Vogel, a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and a celebrated teacher who has mentored a generation of playwrights. Vogel is the first American female playwright to have her archive included in the Yale Collection of American Literature, where she joins such luminaries as Eugene O’Neill, Thornton Wilder, A. R. Gurney, and John Guare.

“It is difficult for a playwright to think of her script in the chaos of production as anything but ephemeral,” Vogel says. “It is a significant honor for my work to be preserved in the remarkable company of Beinecke writers and artists.”

Vogel has authored more than a dozen plays, including the 1992 Obie Award-winning Baltimore WaltzHow I Learned to Drive (1997), which won her second Obie, the Pulitzer Prize, the Lortel Prize, the Drama Desk Award, and the Outer Critics Circle Award; Desdemona, A Play About a Handkerchief (1979); The Mineola Twins (1996); and The Long Christmas Ride Home (2003). 

The Paula Vogel Papers include drafts of most of Vogel’s plays, teaching files, and drafts of work by students from her many years teaching; also included are about 200 computer disks and five computers. These digital files include photographs, documents, and email correspondence with theater critics and practitioners, including Sarah Ruhl, Bert States, David Savran, and Amy Bloom, as well as numerous theater companies who have produced Vogel’s works. Researchers will be able to access Vogel’s papers beginning in spring 2015.

“It is surprising that Beinecke had not acquired the archives of a female playwright before now, but I can’t imagine a more fitting artist to be the first than Paula Vogel,” says Melissa Barton, the Beinecke’s curator of drama and prose in the Yale Collection of American Literature. “We are very excited to welcome her archive to the Yale Collection of American Literature and to provide researchers access to this remarkable record of a great dramatist and teacher’s artistic process.”  

As director of playwriting for Brown University for 24 years, Vogel mentored numerous playwrights who have gone on to great acclaim, including Sarah Ruhl, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage, and Quiara Alegría Hudes. In 2008, Vogel joined the faculty of Yale School of Drama as chair of the playwriting program, a post she held until 2012. She is currently playwright in residence at Yale Repertory Theatre, and she continues to teach at Yale.

Born in 1951, Vogel grew up in Washington, D.C. She lives in Providence, RI.

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library is Yale's principal repository for literary archives, early manuscripts, and rare books. One of the world’s largest buildings devoted solely to rare books and manuscripts, the Beinecke Library welcomes researchers from around the world to engage with its extensive collections.