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Bella Itkin papers

Identifier: DPUA0061

Scope and Contents

The Bella Itkin papers contain director's scripts, photographs, publicity, videotaped lectures, scrapbooks, awards, notes, class materials and syllabi, and memorial materials related to Dr. Bella Itkin.

Itkin's 1954 dissertation from Case Western University, "The Patterns of Verbal Imagery as Found in Ten Major Works of O'Neill," has been removed from the collection and cataloged within the Special Collections department. The call number is SpC.812.5 O58Yi1954.


  • circa 1920s-2011
  • Majority of material found within 1935-1999


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Bella Itkin was a theatre director and acting coach for 47 years, working at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and DePaul University. Born in Russia in 1920, she immigrated to the United States in 1932 with her mother and sister Israella "Iza" Itkin. Her father, David Itkin, previously a member of the Moscow Art Theatre, had already settled in Chicago and found work at both the Goodman School of Drama (then affiliated with SAIC) and the DePaul University Department of Drama. Bella went on to study at the Goodman, receiving a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1943. She later received her doctorate from Case Western Reserve University.

Bella started her career at the Goodman as her father's assistant, but soon developed her own name in the theatre community. As a Goodman faculty member, she saw firsthand the administration's plans to close the school in the early 1970s, its acquisition by DePaul in 1978, and its reemergence as the Theatre School at DePaul University in 1985. She directed more than 200 stage productions at the Goodman/Theatre School, including "The Seagull," "The Cherry Orchard," "Romeo and Juliet," and "A Streetcar Named Desire." Affectionately known as "Dr. Bella," her students included Joe Mantegna, Lois Nettleton, Kevin Anderson, Betsy Palmer, and Geraldine Page, among many others. From 1945-1950, she also operated the Lake Zurich Playhouse, a summer theater established by Bella and colleagues and students from the Goodman School. She served as Artistic Director of Chicago Playworks (formerly known as the Goodman Children's Theatre) for 15 years.

In 1967, Bella met carpenter Frank Konrath on the set of "Hamlet." The two were married until his death in 2002. Bella retired from full time teaching in 1989, but continued to teach part time until 2000. She died in 2011 at the age of 90.


2.25 Linear Feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into two series: 1. Biographical Files; 2. Career. The Biographical Files series is arranged chronologically. The Career series is further divided into subseries: 2.1 Theatre Performances; 2.2 Class Materials. See series-level arrangement notes for additional details.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession 1989.31; 1995.47; 2011.18

Related Materials

Collection on Theatre at DePaul; David Itkin papers

Processing Information

SS 1996; KEL 2003; JMC 2014

Guide to Bella Itkin papers
SS 1996; KEL 2003; JMC 2014
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