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Joseph G. Stockdale papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 472

Scope and Contents

The Joseph G. Stockdale papers document Stockdale's career as an actor, director, writer, and educator. The collection includes drafts of theatrical plays, screenplays, and novels; materials relating to theatrical productions such as cast lists, scripts, rehearsal schedules, programs, and photographs' correspondence; and research notes.


  • 1949 - 2006


Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Joseph G. Stockdale. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

Joe Stockdale was Professor of Theatre at Purdue University and Professor and Dean Emeritus of Theater and Film, at SUNY Purchase School of the Arts. At Purdue, he was artistic director of the League of Resident Theater (LORT) Purdue Professional Theatre Co.

Stockdale was born in Allegan, MI and graduated from Allegan High School in 1943. Following his graduation, Stockdale moved to New York City where he attended the Feagin School of Dramatic Art. During WWII, he joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Wyoming. After the war, Stockdale helped his friend Jack Ragotzy launch a summer theater in Augusta Michigan. At the first meeting of The Village Players (which would eventually become the Barn Theatre), he met his partner and wife Robin Fastenrath. The two married in 1947 and would later have five children.

Stockdale received a BA in Speech and a Secondary Teaching Certificate from Western Michigan University in 1949. In 1951 he graduated with a masters degree in Theatre with minors in Literary Criticism and Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and in 1954 he received his Ph.D in Playwriting and Dramatic Literature from The University of Denver.

Stockdale joined Purdue University as an Instructor of Speech and technical director in 1950 where he spent the next 25 years. In 1961 he was a Visiting Professor and Acting Director of the Adams Memorial Theatre at Williams College in Williamstown, MA and in 1970 he was a Visiting Professor at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. In 1975 Stockdale was appointed Dean of Theatre Arts and Film at State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase. He retired in 1991 as a Dean Emeritus of Theatre Arts having directed 140 professional productions, acted in 60 productions, served as artistic director of the Woodstock Summer Theatre, directed off-off Broadway, and served as a regular contributed to TheatreWeek. Throughout his career Stockdale worked with many notable theater professionals including Ann Revere, James Earl Jones, and Frances Farmer.

In retirement, Stockdale continued to write and authored a number of books including "Man in the Spangled Pants," " The Architecture of Drama: Plot, Character, Theme, Genre, and Style," "Taking Tennessee to Hart," "April East," and a memoir, "Stages: A Life in the Theater."

Stockdale passed away on October 5, 2016.


12.144 Cubic Feet (30 letter-size full-width manuscript boxes, one legal-size full-width manuscript box, one newspaper box, and one show box)

Language of Materials



This collection includes documents, manuscripts, theater programs, photographs, scripts, writings, and newspaper clippings relating to Joseph G. Stockdale's education, theater career, writing career, career in higher education, and role as an advocate for the theatre arts and as a mentor to young theatre professionals.


The Joseph G. Stockdale papers are arranged into six series:
  1. Compositions
  2. Productions
  3. Teaching and Administration
  4. Correspondence
  5. Research Materials
  6. Personal and Education

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Joseph G. Stockdale on February 8, 1990.

Processing Information

All materials have been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes. Rusted staples have been removed from the materials and plastic paper clips or file folder inserts have been used in their place. Oversized materials have been kept in their original series; however, items requiring storage in a larger container have been moved to a box labeled oversize.
Joseph G. Stockdale papers
Under Review
Amanda Rumba and Carly Dearborn
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2019-07-23 by Carly Dearborn.

Revision Statements

  • 2020-04-21: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to align with data entry standards.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States