Prepared by Thomas Scheuerman; March 3,1999
12 document boxes, 6 cubic ft.; 11th Floor
Historical Note/Biographical Sketch
Professor G. Harry Wright of the School of Speech at Kent State University grew up in the
small village of Guyandotte, West Virginia, on the banks of the Ohio River. It was there in
the first decade of the twentieth century he developed his fascination with showboats. In 1946
he began to research the history of showboats for a proposed book. In 1948 he discovered an old
showboat, The Majestic, still on the river. Upon receiving approval from Professor E. Turner
Stump, Head of the School of Speech, and Dr. George Bowman, President of the University, he
negotiated with Captain T.J. Reynolds, the owner of the boat, to lease it as a summer theater
for K.S.U. students. It was a successful venture, touring the Ohio and Kanawha Rivers for an
entire season. This collection represents the history of that experience as well as a lifetime
endeavor by an individual whose passion led him to taking the responsibility of preserving the
memories of showboats for all of us. An excellant companion piece to the collection is the
master's thesis written by Robert J. MacDonald, 1951: "THE 1948 KENT STATE UNIVERSITY SHOWBOAT.
THE RECORD OF AN EXPERIMENT", in which is included descriptions of daily life on the showboat,
the itinerary of the trip, receipts, photographs, maps, etc. Collection also includes brief
personal correspondance from Edna Ferber.
Scope and Content
Eleven legal sized document boxes plus one hinge lidded wooden box (6"x8"x12") containing
scrapbooks, photographs, manuscripts, newspaper cuttings, playbills, correspondances, note
cards, etc., pertaining to the history of showboats, particularly on the Ohio River and its
tributaries in the first half of the twentieth century. Collection also includes slides,
negatives, and audio tapes.
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