Early Works of Notable Alumni: Part 1

Are there any early works of notable Emerson alums in the Archives?

Why yes! We have had many “notable” alumni; some may have been more notable in their own time than in current memory. What we have in the Archives varies from original works as part of a collection from an individual alumnus or alumna to commercial or published works in a collection created by someone other than the alumnus or alumna. We also have plenty of works created by alumni when they were students or faculty at Emerson. Here are a few notables broken down by discipline:

Theater

Mary P. Burrill, Playwright

Mary P. Burrill was the first African American to graduate from Emerson College of Oratory in 1904. She went on to become a notable playwright for two highly political plays. One, titled Unto the Third and Fourth Generations: A One-Act Play of Negro Life, was first published in the Emersonian yearbook.

The first page of Mary Burrill’s play "Unto the Third and Fourth Generations: A One-Act Play of Negro Life" published in the 1930 "Emersonian" yearbook

The first page of Mary Burrill’s play “Unto the Third and Fourth Generations: A One-Act Play of Negro Life,” published in the 1930 “Emersonian” yearbook

David Valdes Greenwood, Nonfiction Author/Playwright

David Valdes Greenwood has written about same-­sex marriage and parenting for the Boston Globe and AOL, and in his book Homo Domesticus: Notes from a Same-­Sex Marriage, the first memoir of legal same-­sex marriage. He is a Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow whose work has been produced throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. He is currently a lecturer in English at Tufts University. Several of his plays can be found in the Carpenter Manuscripts Collection.

Film and Television

Norman Lear, Writer

Norman Lear started his education at Emerson but never finished after being drafted into World War II. The Archives holds several scripts produced by Norman Lear’s production company T.A.T. Communications in the Norman Lear Script Collection.

Henry Winkler, Actor/Writer/Producer

“The Fonz” graduated from Emerson in 1967 and graduated with an MFA from Yale in 1970. Shortly thereafter, he took a small role as Arthur Fonzarelli on the show Happy Days. Winkler has donated more than 216 cubic feet of archival materials to the Archives over the years.

Cover of "Cracked" magazine featuring “Fonz for President” from the Henry Winkler Collection

Cover of “Cracked” magazine featuring “Fonz for President” from the Henry Winkler Collection

Christina Zamon (Iwasaki Library)

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