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Gene A. Chesley papers


Gene A. Chesley papers
Chesley, Gene A.
Collection number:
19.50 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
State of Maryland and Historical Collections
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

Gene A. Chesley (1935-1981) was a highly regarded scenic designer, theatre historian, and teacher. Chesley taught in the Dramatic Art Deparment at the University of California Davis from 1963 until his death at age 46 in 1981. As a UCD faculty member, Chesley began an eleven-year project to identify and document extant historic theatres, opera houses, and performance halls in all fifty states. He became a renowned authority on American theatres built between 1800 and 1914, and a strong advocate for the renovation and preservation of theatres. The bulk of the Chesley Collection concerns research conducted for the National List of Historic Theatre Buildings, as well as Chesley's involvement in restoration projects undertaken during the 1970s. The depth of information concerning individual theatres varies considerably, depending on the thoroughness of the person(s) who responded to Chesley's letter of inquiry. Some files contain only a newspaper account of the renovation of a particular theatre while other files hold a broad range of materials including the original correspondence; reports and forms; playbills and programs; newspaper articles; photographs, slides, postcards; blueprints and drawings; historical files; and project files.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Gene A. Chesley papers, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

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Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.A full finding aid is available.