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Guide to the Buck Roberts Papers, 1935-1979

Summary

Papers of playwright and actor Charles “Buck” Roberts from Durham, N.C. The collection consists of scripts authored by Roberts, photographs of productions, scrapbooks from his youth, and programs and press releases from performances.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11331
Title
Buck Roberts papers
Date
1935-1979
Creator
Roberts, Buck
Extent
7.0 Linear Feet
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

The collection is divided into scripts, publicity, and scrapbooks. All scripts are authored by Buck Roberts. Many have hand-written edits and multiple drafts. Titles include: The Dukes, A Lost Day is Hard to Find, The Lost Peace (or Last Peace), and Tomorrow and Today. Most scripts are undated. Publicity photos, programs, and clippings are for productions involving or produced by Roberts while he was a member of various groups. Press kits for The Dukes are included as are photos of productions and actors. The scrapbooks range from his childhood years to his documentation of seasons of Triangle Theater which Roberts founded and directed.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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Collection is open for research.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Buck Roberts Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Scripts, 1963-1976 and undated

Scripts authored by Buck Roberts often with edits and multiple drafts. Most undated.

The Big Time, undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
The Divine Sarah : Life of Sarah Bernhardt, undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
The Dukes, 1964 December
(2 folders)

2 copies of the final revised stage version and 1 copy of the final stage version with a dedication to Duke University Library staff (dated 1964 December 19).

Box 1
Durham, the Medical Center of the South, undated

3 drafts

Box 1
The Grand Design (The President's Mystery), undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
Greetings, undated
Box 1
History is Made at Night : The Life and Story of Sarah Bernhardt, undated

Elsewhere titled The Divine Sarah : Life of Sarah Bernhardt.

Box 1
I, Mark Rollins, undated
(3 folders)

3 copies, drafts 1 and 2.

Box 1
In Dark of the Sun, undated
(2 folders)
Box 1
A Lost Day is Hard to Find, 1963
(4 folders)
Box 1
The Lost Peace / The Last Peace, undated
(2 folders)

3 versions

Box 1
Love is Eternal, 1966 June 1
(2 folders)
Box 1
Master of Suspense, undated
Box 2
More than Conquerors, 1976 September 29
Box 2
The Pioneers of Durham, undated [1976?]
Box 2
The President, undated
(3 folders)
Box 2
A Question of Mother, undated
(2 folders)
Box 2
Songs, undated
(2 folders)

Folder 1 labelled "extra copies;" folder 2 labelled "music and lyrics."

Box 2
Stagville, undated

2nd draft

Box 2
Star in Darkness, undated
Box 2
Star in Midnight, undated
Box 2
Tomorrow and Today, undated
(2 folders)

4 copies/drafts

Box 2
The Unknown George Washington, undated
Box 2
A USA, undated
(5 folders)

5th copy subtitled A Musical Comedy in Screenplay.

Box 2
Victory in Death, undated
Box 2
The Windsors, undated

2 copies

Box 2
(unattached pages), undated
Box 2

2. Publicity, 1954-1965 and undated

Includes press kits for Roberts' most well-known play The Dukes, also programs from productions, clippings of press releases and reviews, and photos of productions and actors.

The Dukes press kit, 1964
(3 folders)

Folder 1 contains a bound kit with script.

Box 3
Miss Johnson studio portraits, undated
Box 3
Photos removed from frames, 1954-1965 and undated
(3 folders)
Box 4
Press Releases / Correspondence, 1965 and undated
(1 folders)
Box 4
Programs, 1958-1965
(1 folders)
Box 4
Triangle Theatre, 1964-1965
(4 folders)
Box 4

3. Scrapbooks, 1935-1979

Scrapbook of childhood and youth and other books regarding Roberts' efforts in various local theaters.

Childhood Scrapbook, 1935-1953

School reports and pictures from Roberts' earliest days. Roberts was often honored and deeply involved during his time at East Durham Junior High and Durham High School (1941-1947). While a student at Duke University Roberts was a member of Theta Alpha Phi the National Honorary Dramatic Fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, and Omicron Delta Kappa. Contains programs from productions by the Hoof 'n' Horn, Duke Players, Duke Summer Theatre, and Carolina Playmakers in which Roberts took part.

Box 5
Career Scrapbook, 1949-1963, 1979

Pictures from performances in which Roberts was involved. Productions by: East Durham Community Players, Durham Theater Guild, Duke University Singing and Dancing Choruses, Duke Players, Hoof 'n' Horn, Laguna Professional Summer Stock (California), Carolina Playmakers, Carriage House Theater, Allied Arts Follies, Durham Star Professional Playhouse, and Duke University Wesley Players.

Box 6
Durham Star Playhouse Scrapbook, 1958
(2 Volumes)

Roberts was Coordinator in 1958 and Producer in 1959 for "North Carolina's First Professional Star-System Summer Theatre." Clippings and pictures regarding visiting actors and programs from productions. Two very similar copies exist (one in box 7 and the other in box 8).

Box 7
Box 8
Triangle Professional Theatre Scrapbook, 1964

Clippings from the shows produced under the auspices of the Triangle Theater. Variously referred to as the Triangle Theater, Triangle Professional Theater, Triangle Professional Summer Theater, or Triangle Summer Theater.

Box 8
Triangle Summer Theatre, 1963
(2 Volumes)

Clippings and photographs from productions written and/or directed by Roberts. Presented at the YWCA Auditorium in association with the Durham Theater Guild. Two very similar copies exist (one in box 8 and the other in box 9).

Box 9
Box 8
Triangle Theatre Scrapbook, 1963-1965

Photographs from Triangle Theatre and Triangle Theatre Children's Troupe productions.

Box 10
 

Historical Note

Roberts was active while a student at Duke University and in many Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) theater groups: East Durham Community Players, Durham Theater Guild, Duke University Singing and Dancing Choruses, Duke Players, Hoof 'n' Horn, Carolina Playmakers (the precursor to the PlayMakers Repertory Company), Carriage House Theater, Allied Arts Follies, Durham Star Professional Playhouse, and the New Triangle Players (the original name for the Triangle Repertory Theater).

Roberts first organized the Durham Star Playhouse in the late 1950s. He founded the Triangle Summer Theater in 1963 which became a professional theater the next year and then blossomed in to the Triangle Repertory Theater.

Many of the clippings and one of the scrapbooks concern the Triangle Repertory Theater, where many of Roberts’ plays were produced. Roberts co-directed this theater along with Wesley Van Tassel and attempted to establish it as a permanent professional theater in Durham, N.C. in 1964 and 1965.

Perhaps Roberts’ most famous play is The Dukes, produced in 1964. The play concerns the collaboration between James Buchanan Duke and Dr. William Preston Few which resulted in the creation of Duke University. The script begins with several pages of historical background regarding the time period (early to mid 1920s).


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The Buck Roberts Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 1965, 1966, and 1980.

Processing Information

Processed by Lucy VanderKamp, November 2016.

Accessions described in this collection guide: 1965-0023, 1965-0025, 1965-0112, 1965-0190, 1966-0039, 1980.