Brecher (Leonard C.) (1900-1976) Papers, (1940-1970s)

Descriptive Summary

Title
Brecher (Leonard C.) (1900-1976) Papers, (1940-1970s)
Creator
Brecher, Leonard C., 1900-1976
Extent
2.0 linear feet
Finding Aid Author
Archives Staff; finding aid processed by Michele Lai-Fook
Repository
University of Louisville

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Leonard C. Brecher (1900-1976) was a noted preservationist and board chairman of the Columbia Manufacturing Company, originally a manufacturer of mantels, and later a furniture manufacturer in Louisville. The year before his death, Brecher received the American Motors Conservation Award, one of twenty-four given to that date. The award honored a lifetime of work in preserving the fossil beds at the Falls of the Ohio, the wilderness area of Mammoth Cave National Park, and the Indiana Dunes. Brecher had been president of the Beckham Bird Club, the Louisville Audubon Society, and the Kentucky Ornithological Society. He was also a member of the Downtown Lions Club and several other civic organizations.
He pursued a life-long interest in the theater and served as board member and president of the Louisville Little Theatre Company in the 1950s playing a major role in its successful merger in 1961 with U of L Players to create the Belknap Theatre Playhouse. Brecher was also active in keeping the Belknap Playhouse from demolition. He had also researched the history of the Macauley Theatre, and served as chairman of the project to restore the Macauley Theatrical Photographs in 1970-1973. During that same period, he served as chairman of the Loan Committee of U of L's Woodcock Society.
He was married to Mary Lou Brecher, who designed costumes for productions of the Louisville Little Theatre in the 1930-1950 period. They had one daughter, Mrs. Charles W. Lewis, and three grand children. Leonard Brecher died on April 16, 1976. A Brecher Scholarship Fund was established at the University of Louisville.
Scope and Content
The Leonard C. Brecher Collection (2.0 linear feet) includes correspondence and notes connected with his leadership of various theater interests, especially the Louisville Little Theatre, and the University of Louisville. The major part of the collection contains Brecher's research into the history of the Macauley Theater of Louisville as well as playbills associated with the Louisville Little Theatre during the 1940s and 1950s. Also saved were playbills from various Louisville theaters in the 1960s and early 1970s. Brecher served as president of the LLT during the transition phase of its 1959-60 merger with the U of L Players and creation of the Belknap Theatre Company the following year.

Contents of the Collection

I. Biography

A single folder containing Leonard Brecher's biography and obituary.

1. Biography and Obituary of Leonard C. Brecher

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II. Louisville Little Theatre (1950-1962)

This series includes notes from board meetings of the Louisville Little Theatre Company from the 1950s. Brecher also compiled the programs for the Louisville Little Theatre and its successor the Belknap Theatre Playhouse. A series of costume sketches by Mary Lou Brecher, his wife, are included. Correspondence from 1960-62 relating to the decision to merge the Louisville Little Theatre with U of L Players to create the new Belknap Theatre provides a view to the financial conditions and thinking of the board of directors of the two organizations at that time.

2. Hand-written Recreations of Playbills; photographic films stage set of 1947 production of "Laura," Louisville Little Theatre Productions (1935-1947)

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3. Costume Sketches for the LLT by Mary Lou Brecher and Van Horn Catalogues (1930-1950)

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4. Correspondence - LLT Business Manager (1959)

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5. Newspaper Clippings - LLT and Belknap (1950s-60s)

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6. LLT By-Laws, Boyd Martin Fund, and Early Playbills (1920-1959)

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7. Correspondence and Board Notes (early 1950s,

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8. Correspondence Transition from LLT to Belknap Theatre (1959-1962)

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9. Plaque of Appreciation to Leonard Brecher (1960)

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III. Macauley Theatrical Photographs (1970-1973)

Chiefly correspondence relating to fund raising, as Brecher served as chairman of the committee to preserve the Macauley theatrical photographs. Some references to additions to the collection are to be found here.

10. Binder containing Correspondence, Notes Regarding Preservation of Macauley Photographs

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IV. U of L's Woodcock Society

Correspondence related to Brecher's work as Loan Officer for the Woodcock Society at the University of Louisville.

11. Woodcock Society Correspondence and By-Laws (1969-1971)

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12. Notes on Woodcock Loan Fund (1974-5)

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13. Woodcock Society Correspondence (1971-1975)

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V. Macauley Theatre Research

The collection contains rare materials such as Tom Jones' Turf Accountant's personal notebook from the 1870s citing his reviews of theatrical performances in Louisville, several scripts from Louisville playwrights whose premiere productions had held at Belknap Playhouse, playbills from Sarah Bernhardt's 1905 Camille and 1910 L'Aiglon. Also Brecher collected published articles, hand-written notes, and correspondence connected with Louisville's historic Macauley Theatre.

14. 1891 Playbill Macauley Theatre "Miss Gale" and U of L Student Season Tickets 1943-44

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15. The Filson Club Quarterly October 1965 with article on early Louisville's Drake Theatre by John J. Weisert.

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16. Script #15, "From Thee, Eliza," by Louisvillian Ruth K. Lord, World Premiere Production at the Belknap Playhouse, 1960

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17. Script, "Kingmaker," by Louisville Credo F. Harris

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18. Script, "The Great Git-Away," by Romeo Muller

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19. Script, "The Trial of Captain John Brown," by Richard Stockton, Production at Belknap Playhouse in the 1959-60 Season.

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20. Script dated 1929, "Vive L'Empereur" by Andre Chappelle with note to Mademoiselle Aure d'Aurillac

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21. Sarah Bernhardt 1905 Playbill for "Camille," Sarah Bernhard 1910 Playbill for "L'Aiglon"

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22. Individual Part Scripts, 1920s and 1930s.

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23. Script, 1929, "Solitudes," by Credo Harris

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24. Tom Jones's (salesman for policy tickets) account book, with notations of his reviews of Macauley Theatre performances, 1870s.

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25. Clippings and articles about Macauley Theatre

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26. 1960 Theatre Arts with article on Macauley Theatre and 1968 Louisville with Chamber of Commerce action committees detailed

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1. Playbills from Belknap Theatre 1960s and 1970s

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2. Playbills from various Louisville theaters 1950-1976

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VI. Louisville Theater Companies

Playbills from the Brown Theatre, Actors Theatre, and other Louisville theater venues in the early 1970s.

1. Playbills from various Louisville theatres 1950-1976

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VII. Miscellaneous Interests

Assortment of newspaper clippings from the 1960s and 1970s, including Nixon tapes, nuclear power, and other topics of national interest.

2. Loose illustrations from children's books, circa 1900-1930

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3. Article on nuclear fission

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4. Article on chess

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