The Resource Thomas Arthur papers

Thomas Arthur papers

Thomas Arthur papers, 1921-1982
Thomas Arthur papers
Inclusive dates
  • Contains documents relating to Dr. Thomas H. Arthur's book on actor Melvyn Douglas, written by Dr. Arthur, a member of the James Madison University faculty. The book, entitled "See you at the movies: the autobiography of Melvyn Douglas," was published in 1986. Series I conists of letters, mainly from Thomas H. Arthur to Melvyn Douglas regarding his biography, Arthur's dissertation on Douglas' involvement in politics and planned visits for Douglas at James Madison University. Includes a letter from actor Robert Redford to Melvin Douglas from February 1972
  • Series II consists of four folders containing a copy of Douglas' outline on acting, Douglas' handwritten notes for Arthur's book, and Arthur's manuscripts, which have been split into two folders. Series III features programs from Douglas' early performances and includes programs from the Playmongers, the Rialto Theatre, New Grand, Orpheum, and Fischer's Majestic theaters. Series IV, photographs, contains over 60 photographs used for the book
Biographical or historical data
  • Thomas H. Arthur was hired as a professor in 1973 to develop the theater program at James Madison University. Arthur was a personal friend of Melvyn Douglas and his family, and wrote his doctoral thesis about Douglas' involvement in politics. In 1971, Arthur also collaborated with Douglas, at Douglas' request, to write his autobiography, See You at the Movies: The Autobiography of Melvyn Douglas. Arthur retired from JMU in 2007.
  • Melvyn Hesselberg was born on April 5, 1901 in Macon, Georgia and began his theatrical career as Melvyn Douglas in 1917. During his career he was a star of the screen, stage, and television; to date, he has been the only male actor to win a Tony, an Emmy, and an Oscar award. In addition to acting, Douglas served in both world wars and was active in politics. In 1940 he became the first actor to serve as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. He married in 1931 and died in New York City on August 4, 1981. Dr. Arthur's interest in Douglas stems from the fact that he was a friend of Arthur's family. In addition, Douglas' involvement in politics was the topic of Arthur's doctoral dissertation. Douglas chose Arthur to help him write his autobiography in 1971.
Cataloging source
Thomas Arthur papers
Also known as the Melvyn Douglas papers; Thomas H. Arthur papers
Series I. Correspondence, 1970-1982 ; Series II. Notes and Manuscripts, undated ; Series III. Programs from Early Performances, 1921-1925 ; Series IV. Photographs, undated.
Control code
Cumulative index finding aids
See web link for Finding Aid.
1 Hollinger box (16 folders)
Governing access note
For use, see Special Collections librarian
The collection was donated to the library by Dr. Tom Arthur in 1987.

Library Locations

    • Special Collections Research CenterBorrow it
      Carrier Library Second Floor Room 203, MSC 1704, 880 Madison Drive, Harrisonburg, VA, 22807, US
      38.438299 -78.8741916
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