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Charles Smith papers

Identifier: MSS0057

Scope and Contents

The Charles Smith papers contain drafts and typescripts of the playwright’s works.


  • 1986-2004


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

A member of the Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble, Charles Smith has seen his plays produced throughout Chicago and the United States by companies such as the Goodman Theatre, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the Seattle Repertory Theatre, and the St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre. Smith is also the author of two Emmy Award-winning teleplays, Fast Break to Glory and Pequito. Nine of Smith’s plays, including Takunda, Jelly Belly, Cane, and The Sutherland, all premiered at the Victory Gardens Theatre. His play, Denmark, was the inaugural production of the reopening of Victory Gardens Theater at the Biograph Theater in 2006 ( Smith is an alumnus playwright of New Dramatists, a graduate of the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and one of the founding members of the Playwrights Ensemble at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. He has taught playwriting and creative writing extensively. He is currently head of the Professional Playwriting Program at Ohio University, Distinguished Professor of Playwriting, and Ohio University Presidential Research Scholar in the Arts and Humanities. Many of Smith’s plays address African American topics. Portraying Chicago’s historic South Side jazz scene, The Sutherland is the story of a young musician who experiences the destruction of the race riots during the 1960s. In 1995, Smith’s play Black Star Line, commissioned by the Goodman, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The story chronicles the rise of Marcus Garvey and the Back to America movement of the 1920s.


0.75 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Charles Smith papers are organized into two series: 1. Biographical; 2. Plays.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 2000.06

Guide to Charles Smith papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the DePaul Special Collections and Archives Repository

John T. Richardson Library
2350 N. Kenmore Ave.
Room 314
Chicago Illinois 60614