PHMC grant funds processing of historical theatre lighting drawings

June 29, 2009

A $15,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission has enabled the Special Collections Library in Penn State University Libraries to identify, preserve, arrange and describe the historical records of a pioneering firm in stage-lighting design and manufacturing. The Theatre Lighting Drawings Collection consists of some 16,000 original pencil, ink, and blueprint drawings of stage-lighting equipment invented and designed primarily by Kliegl Brothers. The collection documents 20th-century innovations in lighting equipment installed in theatres and auditoriums in public spaces throughout the United States and beyond.

Awarded in Sept. 2007, the grant has provided funds for wages, equipment, and supplies to process the collection. Project directors Sandra Stelts, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, and Susan Hamburger, Special Collections manuscripts librarian, have supervised the work of project archivist Katelyn Dion, a recent Penn State graduate.

The Theatre Lighting Drawings Collection will be available to researchers this fall. It will add to the Libraries’ already strong holdings in theatre lighting: the Theatre Lighting Control System Drawings (1950–1971) from Century Lighting, Inc., and the George C. Izenour Architectural Drawings Collection.

For further information, contact Sandra Stelts, by e-mail at or by phone at (814) 865-1793.

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Last Updated July 07, 2009