MS 741 - Gish Film Theater Collection
|Title||MS 741 - Gish Film Theater Collection|
|Subject||Arts & Entertainment|
|Introduction||The Gish Film Theater Collection was established by Dr. Ralph Wolfe, Curator of the Gish Film Theater and Gish Professor of Film Studies. In discussions with the Director of the Center for Archival Collections, Dr. Wolfe decided that the Center would be the appropriate repository for documents and materials he collected or had donated to the Gish Film Theater. |
In 1987 the first documents relevant to the establishment of the theater and the Gish Sisters were transferred. In 1988 the first Jean Arthur Papers were donated by Dr. Wolfe and were followed by additions in 1996 from him and in 1997 from John Oller, author of Jean Arthur: The Actress Nobody Knew. Maidie Norman donated her scrapbooks in 1994. Dr. Wolfe continually donates documentation on the theater, Eva Marie Saint, and his own papers.
Some documents, photographs and artifacts are periodically on display at the Gish Film Theater. This Collection is available to researchers. The finding aid was prepared by Ann Bowers, University Archivist in March 1998 and subsequently updated by Eric Honneffer, Archivist/Document Conservator. .
A chronology for the Gish Film Theater (PDF file) can be found at the bottom of this page.
|Agency History||On June 11, 1976, an old lecture hall, 105 Hanna Hall, was converted into the Gish Film Theater. This Theater was dedicated to Dorothy and Lillian Gish, natives of Ohio and |
successful American motion picture film pioneers. The Theater also commemorated the acting debut of young Lillian Gish, in Rising Sun, Ohio during the first decade of the 20th Century.
In 1979, Lillian Gish endowed a film studies scholarship at Bowling Green State University in the name of the Gish Sisters. In 1989, Dr. Ralph Wolfe, founder and guiding spirit and curator of the Gish Film Theater, was named Gish Endowed Professor of Film Studies.
In October 1982, the first phase of a renovation project was completed with the dedication of an exhibit of photographs from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The retrospective photo exhibit of Lillian's film career also includes images of both sisters appearances in various film productions. Lillian was present for this dedication. The first phase of expansion included a new marquee and a gallery where the photograph collection could be suitably displayed. In October 1990, the renovation project was completed and the Theater was rededicated. Remodeling of the stage, projection area and 168 new seats were part of this second stage. Each seat bears the name of friends and admirers of Lillian Gish, all of whom have made contributions to the Theater. With these contributions an endowment was created which has brought film programs, visiting directors, and speakers to the theater on a regular basis. The Gish Film Theater has become a notable historic landmark on campus and an important asset to the University's Film Studies program.
Ralph Wolfe contacted friends and admirers of Lillian Gish to help establish a National Advisory Committee to assist with fundraising and help bring acclaim to the theater. Eva Marie Saint and Roddy McDowall have served as co-chairs of this Committee.
Through the assistance of Ralph Wolfe, scrapbooks, photographs, newsclippings and other documents regarding the lives of Dorothy Gish, Lillian Gish, Jean Arthur, Eva Marie Saint, and Maidie Norman have been donated to the Gish Film Theater Collection.
|Scope and Content||The Gish Film Theater Collection is divided into record groups, which are listed below.
Record Group One: Gish Film Theater Papers
Record Group One contains two sets of records. The first includes correspondence, files, printed materials, film schedules, publicity, news clippings, press releases, blueprints, and photos relevant to the establishment and development of the Gish Film Theater and its ongoing programs dating from 1976 to the present. The second set of records includes correspondence, subject files, and expanded individual mini-collections pertaining to the establishment of the theater’s National Advisory Committee (NAC) formed in 1987 as a major fundraising arm for its endowment and renovation activities. Documents are regularly added to both segments of Record Group One.
The Gish Film Theater correspondence regarding the development, renovation, and programming of activities at the theater can be found in both sets of records. Correspondence between primarily Ralph Wolfe and BGSU officials as well as various NAC members predominates. Subject files for some members of the NAC were created to house their correspondence as well as printed materials, news clippings, and the like pertaining to them and their careers. The contents of these folders often predate the 1987 establishment date of the NAC. For convenience sake, correspondence from Lillian Gish and her manager James Frasher has been placed in separate folders within these subject files.
In the case of Ralph Wolfe, Jan Wahl, and Stuart Oderman, correspondence and literary productions, and the like became so extensive that their documents were broken off into separate collections within this National Advisory Committee segment of the Gish Film Theater holdings.
Silent film pianist, composer and author, Stuart Oderman, donated correspondence representing his large circle of celebrity friends including actors, actresses, entertainers, and writers - many of whom were contemporaries of Lillian Gish. Also found within this portion of the collection are the Pilger and Light collections. Miss Gish’s financial advisor for many years, Wilhelmina Pilger, donated correspondence and Gish mementoes to BGSU upon her death. Todd Light, a friend of Lillian Gish, donated his collection of over 500 pieces of memorabilia including photographs, publicity, correspondence and items pertaining to the career of Miss Gish.
Researchers interested in the establishment, expansion, and development of the theater and its various programs would find the correspondence, the news clippings and the promotional materials/film schedules, and photographs of great interest. Those seeking a quick overview of the theater’s history should consult the scrapbooks assembled by Dr. Ralph Wolfe which provide an encapsulation of the theater’s development with key correspondence between him, BGSU, Lillian Gish, and James Frasher and the aforementioned kinds of records found together in a convenient format. These scrapbooks may be located by consulting the Ralph Wolfe and the Lillian Gish segments of the Gish Film Theater finding aid.
Researchers will certainly find a wealth of information on the establishment of the Theater, its public and academic programs, its growth and development including physical changes made, and its value to the University and the surrounding communities.
The Collection has been arranged and described using these Record Groups. The rationale behind this arrangement scheme is to allow for additions to these Record Groups to be easily filed. It also allows for other individuals whose lives relate to the overall scope of the Collection to have their documents added. Each Record Group has its own description with the box/folder inventory.
Box 1: Gish Film Theater--History, Fundraising
Box 2: Gish Film Theater--Renovations
Box 3: Gish Film Theater--Publicity and Programs
Box 4: Gish Film Theater--Publicity and Programs
Box 5: Gish Film Theater--Photographs
Framed and loose documents relevant to the history of the Gish Film Theater
1. Framed list of Gish Film Theater National Advisory Committee, nd
2. Photo of exterior of Gish Film Theater, c. 1980
3. Two lists of contributors to the expansion of the Gish Film Theater Gallery, 10/13/1996
4. Photo of interior of Gish Film Theater, c. 1980
5. Poster for Canadian Film Series at Gish Film Theater, nd
6. Resolution from the Mayor of Bowling Green for the Gish Film Theater's commemoration of the Gish Sisters first movie, the 1912 An Unseen Enemy, 2012
7. Framed photo of Lillian Gish and BGSU President Hollis Moore at the dedication of the Gish Film Theater, 1976
Gish Film Theater blueprints
Mailing tube 1:
4 blueprints of Gish Film Theater renovation, 1982
7 blueprints of Gish Film Theater renovation, 1989
5 bllueprints of Gish Film Theater floor plan, etc. c. 1989
Mailing tube 2:
9 blueprints of Gish Film Theater Gallery expansion, 1996
Mailing tube 3:
11 blueprints of Wolfe Video Viewing Center, March 2008
Framed copy photos of the theater dedication in 1976 and others including portraits of Lillian Gish and her family.
Framed listing of contributors to the expansion of the Gish Film Theater Gallery, October 13, 1996
Box 1: Gish Film Theater—National Advisory Committee
Box 2: Gish Film Theater—National Advisory Committee. Jan Wahl
Box 3: Gish Film Theater—National Advisory Committee. Jan Wahl
Box 4: Gish Film Theater--Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 5: Gish Film Theater--Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 6: Gish Film Theater-–Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 7: Gish Film Theater – Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 8: Gish Film Theater – Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 9: Gish Film Theater – Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 10: Gish Film Theater – Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Box 11: Gladys Oderman Files
Box 12: Stuart Oderman Literary Productions
Box 13: Stuart Oderman Literary Productions and Music Manuscripts
Box 14: Stuart Oderman Printed Materials
Box 15: Stuart Oderman Scrapbooks presented to him at Greek Silent Film Festivals
Box 16: Gish Film Theater – Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Lillian Gish volumes:
Box 17: Gish Film Theater – Advisory Committee. Stuart Oderman
Other volumes with Lillian Gish references:
Box 18: Audio-visual materials
Box 19: Audio cassettes of Oderman silent film scores/accompaniment
Box 20: Audio recordings of predominantly Oderman scores/accompaniment
Box 21: VHS recordings of Oderman scores/accompaniment
Box 22: VHS recordings of Oderman scores/accompaniment
Box 23: VHS recordings of Gladys Oderman (Janet Sovey) performances
Box 24: Minature piano
OVERSIZE Box 1
OVERSIZE Box 2
OVERSIZE Box 3
*Numerical inventory for items #1-555 completed by Todd Light is below.
Box 1: Gish Film Theater--Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 2: Gish Film Theater--Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 3: Gish Film Theater--Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 4: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 5: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 6: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 7: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 8: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 9: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 10: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 11: Gish Film Theater – Ralph H. Wolfe
Box 12: Video Recordings. Programs Held at Gish Theatre
Box 13: Video Recordings. Gish Associates and Honorees. Interviews
Box 14: Video Recordings. Gish Associates and Honorees. Interviews
Box 15: Video Recordings. Gish Associates and Honorees. Interviews
Box 16: Video Recordings. Gish Associates and Honorees. Interviews
Box 17: Video Recordings, Other