Notes
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N o t e s Introduction 1. Arena, 23. 2. Federal Theatre 1.6. 3. Paul Sporn remembers attending a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Bronx’s Crotona Park. “I recall that a huge audience, sitting on newspapers, blankets, handkerchiefs, paper bags, or simply on the grass itself, covered every square foot of the hillside . . . . The drone of sound that issued from it died away shortly after the curtain parted, and this audience of Bronx eastsiders sat as still as it could on a crowded, bumpy hillside that became more and more dampish as the night advanced. When the play was over, it came back to noisy life: cheering, whistling, applauding, and waving handkerchiefs in grateful appreciation of the work the actors had performed” (Against Itself: The Federal Theatre and Writers’ Projects in the Midwest, 14–15). 4. The Federal Theatre Project: A Catalogue-Calendar of Productions, xv. 5. The Cultural Front, 50. 6. “Children’s Theatre—New York,” Federal Theatre 2.3. 7. See Roland Marchand’s Advertising the American Dream (296–99) for a discussion of Depression anxieties focused on children. For discussions of representations of the child and American identity, see Carol Levander’s Cradle of Liberty and Levander and Carol Singley’s The American Child: A Cultural Studies Reader. See also Karen Sánchez-Eppler’s Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture. 8. I am indebted to Sánchez-Eppler’s “Raising Empires Like Children: Race, Nation, and Religious Education” for the elegantly phrased analogy. 9. In his 1945 study of the Dies Committee, August Raymond Ogden writes that “The St. Louis Post Dispatch of 20 October 1938 carried an article in which it was stated that, for the first time, Dies revealed that two of the outstanding results of his inquiry had been to paralyze the left-wing element in the Administration and to discredit John L. Lewis and the 149 150  · Notes to Introduction CIO” (The Dies Committee: A Study of the Special House Committee for the Investigation of Un-American Activities, 1938–1944, 152). 10. By then Oscar Saul, co-author of The Revolt of the Beavers, was a Hollywood screenwriter with one film to his credit; Jules Dassin, the dashing Oakleaf, was directing films noirs; and Elia Kazan was making his name as a director. 11. Naming Names, xiii. 12. Radical Visions and American Dreams, 98. 13. Ibid. See chapter III, “The Search for Community.” 14. Ibid., 97. 15. The Cultural Front, xvii. 16. Ibid., xxvii. 17. Ibid., xviii. 18. Ibid. 19. Reading American Photographs, 247. 20. For a comprehensive look at certain government investigations into the New York units of the Federal Theatre Project, see Government Investigations of Federal Theatre Project Personnel in the Works Progress Administration, 1935–1939 (The show must NOT go on!), by Judith Brussell. As she writes, “By fall, 1936, the Department of Justice had directed the DOI [Division of Investigation] to investigate all supervisors of all Arts Projects and find models for criminal prosecution” (iv). The DOI began as an agency to investigate economic fraud but reported all manner of accusations to the WPA Division of Investigation, the Dies Committee, and the FBI. These investigations, which preceded the Dies Committee hearings , are not well known. Brussell writes that even people in the Federal Theatre Project were not aware of them, though Brussell’s investigation makes clear that people were fired on account of them. 21. For information about the economic, social, and political upheavals caused by the Depression, see Robert McElvaine’s The Great Depression. For an account of the Roosevelt presidency and the programs it instituted, see William Leuchtenberg’s Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal: 1932–1949. 22. Her travel to the Soviet Union would later be seized upon by the Dies Committee as proof of her radical leftism, and she would be questioned about it in hearings. 23. The Federal Theatre Project’s Living Newspapers were staged productions of current events, drawing on epic theatre staging techniques developed by Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator. FTP Living Newspapers included Triple A Plowed Under, about the crisis of agriculture and practices that were exacerbating it; Power, about the relation of consumers and the electrical industries; Spirochete, about syphilis; and Injunction Granted, about labor. For extensive treatment of the Living Newspapers, see Laura Browder’s Rousing the Nation: Radical Culture in Depression America. 24. Quoted in Mathews, The Federal Theatre, 1935–1939, 21. 25. Flanagan, “The...


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