Bella Itkin papers
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
- Itkin, Bella (Person)
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
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.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession 1989.31; 1995.47; 2011.18
SS 1996; KEL 2003; JMC 2014
- Acting--Study and teaching--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- College theater--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- Theater--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- Theater--Study and teaching--Archival resources--Illinois--Chicago Subject Source: Unspecified ingested source
- 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