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Department of Drama and Speech Records

Identifier: UA 004.13

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the official records that reflect the history and activities of the Department of Theatre and Speech in the College of Arts and Sciences from the 1920s to 2015. These records contain materials related to the history of the department, course information, faculty affairs, student organizations, and theatre production information. The files include catalogues, recording tapes, correspondences, newspaper clippings, annual reports, and an archive of the department's website as well as wooden masks.


  • 1920 - 2021


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

From 1896 to 1920, Mary Settle Sharpe served as an instructor of elocution in speech. She also staged numerous dramatic presentations and productions. After Sharpe's retirement in 1920, the English department absorbed the fields of elocution and expression, renaming them speech and drama. William Raymond Taylor joined the faculty to teach speech in 1921, but he quickly focused on theater. Taylor spent thirty-nine years in the English Department and introduced the first courses in drama. Drama, originally an extracurricular activity, was integrated by Taylor into the school curriculum. Student dramatic groups were united into the Masqueraders, an honorary society, and the Play-Likers. The latter eventually evolving into a student and community theater company.

Drama remained within the English Department until 1953 when a separate department was formed. Under the new leadership of Herman Middleton in 1956, the department flourished. Approximately one-seventh of the student population as involved in play production by 1960. In that same year, speech courses were officially incorporated into the Department of Drama renamed the Department of Drama and Speech. It was later renamed the Department of Communication and Theatre in 1977. Eventually, in 1995, the department was divided into the Department of Communication and the Department of Broadcasting/Cinema and Theatre. In 2000, the Department of Broadcasting/Cinema and Theatre chose to separate into two departments. Thus, the Department of Theatre officially came into being.


4.20 Linear Feet (11 boxes)

Language of Materials



Drama and speech were originally offered in the Department of English in the 1920s. In 1960, the Department of Drama and Speech was formed, later becoming the Department of Theatre. Today the department is responsible for the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in theatre. The records of the Department of Theatre and Speech contain catalogues, annual reports, correspondences, recording tapes, newspaper clippings, and an archive of the department's website which document the activities of the Department from the 1920s to 2015.

Arrangement Note

Materials have been maintained in the order in which they were received.

Method of Acquisition

Records were transferred from the department or unit.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Preliminary inventory. Collection has not been fully processed.

Department of Drama and Speech Records
Jenna Stout
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US