Skip to main content

The Loften Mitchell Collection

Identifier: BUA-0009


James Loften Mitchell (April 15, 1919 – May 14, 2001) was a playwright and theatre historian who was part of the black American theatre movement of the 1960s and was a professor at State University of New York at Binghamton's theater department and the Department of African American Studies (1971--85), and professor emeritus from 1985 until his death. Mitchell was part of a groundswell of writers who contributed to the black American theatre movement in the 1960s. The Loften Mitchell Collection spans several decades from 1938 to 1985, and includes playscripts, reviews, production notes, lecture notes, personal correspondence, and memorabilia.


  • 1938-1985

Language of Materials


Administrative History:


1919 Born April 15, 1919, Columbus, North Carolina.

1943-? Served in the US Navy during World War II.

1948 Married Helen March.

1992 Married Gloria Anderson.


1937-1938 City College, New York, New York.

1943 BA, Talladega College.

1951 MA, Columbia University.

Union Theological Seminary.


1938-1939 Performed with the Rose McClendon Players.

1950-1962 Actor in New York, New York. Writer of the weekly program The Later Years, WNYC-Radio.

1954 Writer of daily program Friendly Advisor, WWRL-Radio.

1955 Star of the Morning opened in Cleveland, Ohio.

1957 A Land Beyond the River opened at the Greenwich Mews Theatre.

1967 Black Drama: the Story of the American Negro in the Theatre published.

1967 Tell Pharaoh opened at the Golden Theatre, Queens, College, New York, New York.

1975 Voices of the Black Theatre published.

1975 Bubbling Brown Sugar performed by the AMAS Repertory Theatre.

1971-1985 Professor, Department of Theater and Department of African-American Studies, State University of New York at Binghamton.

1985- Professor emeritus.

1993 The Stubborn Old Lady who Resisted Change published; The Complete Works of Loften Mitchell published.

Major Awards

1958-1959 Guggenheim Award.

1974 Playwriting award, Research Foundation, State University of New York.

1976 Bubbling Brown Sugar, nominated for a Tony Award for Best Musical.

1977 Bubbling Brown Sugar, Best Musical of the Year Award.

1979 Outstanding Theatrical Pioneer Award.


4.50 LF

Custodial History

Mitchell donated his papers to the University Libraries between 1980 ans 1985.

Processing Information

The Loften Mitchell Collection was first organized by Richard Gannon, Associate Librarian, and Lisa Solo, a student intern. The original finding aid was completed by Ms. Solo in 1987. The entire collection was reorganized, and the finding aid revised and edited by Beth Turcy Kilmarx, Assistant for Special Collections and Preservation, in 1995. An ArchiveSpace version of the finding aid was later created.
Guide to the The Loften Mitchell Collection
Finding Aid Authors: Kilmarx, Beth Turcy.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Binghamton NY 13902 USA