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Barrie Stavis

Barrie Stavis (June 16, 1906 – February 2, 2007) is best known for his plays portraying historic figures whose controversial or radical ideas and actions present a challenge to contemporary authority.   These plays depict the actions of men who set an ethical course from which they cannot be turned, while their determination changed the world even though they themselves were made to suffer or even executed for their beliefs.  His subjects include the renaissance scientist Galileo, abolitionist John Brown, and labor leader Joe Hill.  The University of Delaware Library houses the papers of Barrie Stavis, which document all aspects of his long productive career.

Lamp at Midnight, mimeographed playscript, [1947].

This copy of Stavis’s play about Galileo is marked “Draft Eight Work Copy of Barrie Stavis” on the cover and contains his extensive annotations and revisions.  It is signed by all members of the cast and production crew and has signed playbills from the December 21, 1947 premiere of Lamp at Midnight at the New Stages Theatre in New York.

Lamp at Midnight (1966), Playbill from the April 27, 1966 Hallmark Hall of Fame television production of the play.  The role of Galileo was played by the award winning actor Melvyn Douglas.

Lamp at Midnight, photograph of Stavis walking towards the stage to take a bow following a performance of the play in Leningrad, March 1990.

Lamp at Midnight, photograph of Stavis walking towards the stage to take a bow following a performance of the play in Leningrad, March 1990.

The Man Who Never Died: a Play about Joe Hill.  South Brunswick and New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, [1972]. Introduction by Pete Seeger.

This copy of the book bears a note by Stavis stating “This is the copy which Jim Carlson did during Dec. 1975 at Eckerd College.  It contains many & valuable cuts which should be examined for other Productions.” Carlson directed the world premier of The Man Who Never Died in 1955, and the book contains his extensive annotations, revisions, and stage directions.



Harper’s Ferry: a Play about John Brown.  South Brunswick [and] New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, [1967].

The dust wrapper depicts Edward Binns in the title role of the play during a 1967 Minneapolis production directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie.




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02/14/11

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