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Blanding Sloan Papers

 Collection
Identifier: LP000674

Scope and Content

The papers of Blanding Sloan reflect his work in puppetry in San Francisco and in the Federal Theatre Project, and, to a lesser extent, his involvement with the Unemployed Cooperative Distribution Association. They cover the period from 1928-1939.

The collection includes yearbooks, leaflets, scripts, musical scores and other items used by Blanding Sloan in the Marionette Theatre of San Francisco in the 1920s and during his involvement with the Federal Theatre Project in the 1930s. Included in this series is information on the history of the FTP, other programs under the WPA, puppet and marionette programs throughout the country, and the creation of marionettes and stages. It also contains information on the Arts and Professions Co-operative, Unit 77 of the Unemployed Co-operative Distribution Association of Los Angeles. Several photographs and woodcuts placed in Reuther AV Department. Important subjects covered in this collection are: History of the Federal Theatre Project. Marionette design and construction. Unemployed Cooperative Distribution Association.

Dates

  • 1928 - 1939

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

Collection is open for research.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.

History

(James) Blanding Sloan (1886-1975) was a puppeteer, theater designer, playwright, printmaker and director. In 1928-1929, he directed the Marionette Theatre of San Francisco, which was organized with the purpose of expanding the art of puppetry in the San Francisco Bay area. In the 1930s, Sloan was involved with the marionette program of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), one of the cultural programs of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) created in 1935. Under the direction of Hallie Flanagan and comprising a series of regional theaters headed by professional directors, this first government-sponsored theater in American history created jobs for 10,000 unemployed actors and theater technicians in forty states. Over four years, the FTP produced more than 2,700 plays, most dealing with the social and economic issues of the New Deal. Within the FTP, there were 22 marionette units; they were an integral part of the FTP and were extremely popular. In 1936, Sloan directed the Los Angeles County Marionette Theatre, an FTP program, and in 1939, he was the director of the eastern region of the FTP. Throughout its life, foes of the FTP attacked it as being propagandistic. Investigated by the Dies House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1939, the FTP was the first of the New Deal cultural programs to be abolished when Congress eliminated funds for its continuation in the WPA appropriations bill that year. Blanding Sloan was also involved in the Arts and Professions Co-operative, Unit 77 of the Unemployed Co-operative Distribution Association (UCDA) of Los Angeles in 1934. While with the UCDA, Sloan illustrated its journal "The Clarion."

Extent

1 Linear Feet (1 MB, 1 OS)

Abstract

Blanding Sloan was a puppeteer, theater designer, playwright, printmaker and director who was involved with the marionette program of the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), one of the cultural programs of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. His papers reflect his involvement with the FTP in San Francisco and with the Unemployed Co-operative Distribution Association.

Arrangement

The folders are arranged alphabetically by type of material except for three folders containing leaflets and a musical score, which are stored in an oversize box.

Acquisition

The papers of Blanding Sloan were deposited in the Archives of Labor and Urban Affairs in September 1974 by Taylor Sloan and were opened for research in October 1984.

Transfers

Approximately 35 photographs relating to marionette construction and scenes from marionette productions, and six woodcuts done by Blanding Sloan depicting co-operative organizations on the West Coast, have been placed in the Reuther Audiovisual Department.

Processing History

Processed and finding aid written by Walter P. Reuther Library in October 1984.
Title
Guide to the Blanding Sloan Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library.
Date
1984-10
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA