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Starting points for research in drama

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ABOUT Scenic Design

This is a selection of physical and digital books available through UCI Libraries. Use the following subject searches in the library catalog to find other similar materials:

Research & Inspiration

Online Collections:

  • Alexander Adduci: Historical Scenic Design * (access requires VPN) - almost 3,000 images of elements from almost 90 opera settings, with hundreds of backdrops and borders, and thousands of framed scenic units, as well as maquettes.
  • Darwin Reid Payne Theatre Collection - browse images of set models and actual stages designed by Prof. Payne throughout his career at Wake Forest University and the North Carolina School of the Arts
  • Joseph Urban Stage Design Models - a selection of models at Columbia University designed by Joseph Urban from 1914-1933 at various theatres in NYC, Ziegfield Productions, and the Metropolitan Opera.
  • NYPL Digital Collections - this is a very broad search in the freely available NYPL archival collections for scenic design. Explore around more to find many other images from historic Broadway shows. Specific sub-collections to investigate include:
  • Playing with Scale - an online exhibit from the National Theatre that explores how designers use scale models through seven different productions from 1970-2018

UCI Libraries Books:

Online collections:

  • ARTstor * - A digital library with over one million images. Images are keyword searchable or can be browsed by geographic area, classification (e.g., decorative object, painting, fashion, etc.), and date. Majority of images tend to come from museum collections.
  • Digital Public Library of America - Cross searches many of the publicly available materials that have been digitized by libraries in the United States. You might be amazed by the some of the small town finds you find here...
  • Trade Catalogues and the American Home * - Full color scans of American consumer catalogs from 1850-1950. Use it to find pictures and descriptions of tons of household objects such as washing machines, vacuums, lighting, clothing, home decor, toys, etc. A veritable treasure trove of information (both visual and written) on how Americans lived during this 100 year time span.
  • VADS - a collection of almost 150,000 freely useable images from British museums and other heritage repositories. Of particular interest might be the sub-collection from the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, which includes many images of "ordinary" homes from the early and mid-twentieth century.

UCI Libraries Books: