History of TLA


Recognizing the need for documenting theatre as both an art form and as a factor in a community's social and educational life, leading theatre curators, librarians and historians met in June 1937 under the chairmanship of Harry M. Lydenberg, director of The New York Public Library, to discuss the issue. Among those present were the curators of the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum of Columbia University, the William Seymour Theatre Collection at Princeton University, the Museum of the City of New York, and the New York Public Library Theatre Collection. It was on this occasion that the group founded and successfully launched the Theatre Library Association. George Freedley, curator of the Theatre Collection of The New York Public Library, was appointed its first president, and it was formally adopted as an affiliate of the American Library Association the following year.

Learn more about the 1937 Theatre Library Round Table




Broadside: Newsletter of the Theatre Library Association (1940-1970).

Broadside: Newsletter of the Theatre Library Association (New Series), 1973-.

Correll, Laraine. "American Theatre Librarianship: Focus on Leadership of George R. Freedley." Journal of Library History 6.4 (1971, October): 317-26.

Couch, Nena, and Nancy Allen. "Performing Arts." The Humanities and the Library. Ed. Nena Couch and Nancy Allen. 2nd ed. Chicago: American Library Association, 1993. 173-211.

Freedley, George. "The Theatre Library Association: 1937-1967." Special Libraries 58.5 (1967, May/June): 354-5.

Rachow, Louis A. Theatre & Performing Arts Collections. New York: Haworth Press, 1981.

Rachow, Louis A. "The Theatre Library Association." Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science. Ed. Allen Kent and Harold Lancour. New York: Marcel Dekker, 1980. 413-415.

Rachow, Louis. "The Development of Theatre Collections and their Present State: An Overview." Theatre Survey 34.1 (1993, May): 91-6.

Sheehy, Carolyn A. "Historical Overview." Managing Performing Arts Collections in Academic and Public Libraries. Ed. Carolyn A. Sheehy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. 1-39.

"Theatre Library Round Table," unpublished transcript (1937, June 23).

White, Gladys Walker. "The Theatre Library Association Matures." Library Journal 82.18 (1957, October 15): 2483-9.


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Last updated: May 5, 2013