Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984

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Drama critic.

From the description of Reminiscences of Justin Brooks Atkinson : lecture, [195-?]. (Columbia University In the City of New York). WorldCat record id: 122631692

American drama critic educated at Harvard University, Atkinson became a literary editor of the New York Times in 1922 and served as the paper's dramatic critic from 1926 to 1960.

From the description of Brooks Atkinson papers, 1925-1976. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 612378941

Brooks Atkinson, drama critic for the New York Times was born Justin Brooks Atkinson in Melrose, Massachusetts in 1894.

Atkinson was a graduate of Harvard University and began writing for the New York Times in 1922. In 1926 he became the drama critic after the retirement of Stark Young. A hiatus in this work occurred during World War II when he became a foreign correspondent. He returned to the drama desk in 1946 and remained the New York Times drama critic until his retirement in 1960.

Brooks Atkinson's love of theater revealed itself not only in his frequenting of traditional Broadway theater but also by his discovery and encouragement of new talents to be found on the off-Broadway stage. A champion of all aspects of theater in New York, Atkinson was also known as an outspoken voice against the practices of the McCarthy era and the investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee, using his skill as a journalist to inform the public and expose the tactics of Joseph McCarthy and his supporters.

Brooks Atkinson retired from the New York Times in 1960 but continued writing a twice-weekly column for another 5 years called Critic-At-Large. He died in Huntsville, Alabama on January 13, 1984.

From the description of Brooks Atkinson papers, 1904-1980. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652448

Justin Brooks Atkinson was born in Melrose, Massachusetts in 1894. His interest in writing became apparent at an early age when he began writing and publishing his own newspapers. He continued throughout high school and some of the publications include: The Bay State Amateur, The Coagent, The Melrose Record and The Olympian . Atkinson graduated from Harvard University and from there taught English at Dartmouth. After a working as a reporter in Massachusetts newspapers, Atkinson joined the army in 1918. In 1922 he joined the staff of the New York Times .

Atkinson's career at the New York Times spanned the years 1922 until his final retirement in 1965. His first position there was as editor of the Sunday literary section, although he occasionally wrote play reviews. In 1926 Atkinson became the drama critic of the New York Times, replacing Stark Young. He served in this capacity until his retirement in 1960. In 1941 he took a temporary leave from this position while be worked as a war correspondent during World War II. He officially retired from the New York Times in 1960 when he reached the mandatory retirement age of 65. However, he continued for an additional 5 years writing a twice weekly column known as Critic-At-Large. Atkinson's love of theater revealed itself not only in his frequenting traditional Broadway productions but also by his discovery and encouragement of new talents to be found on the Off Broadway stage. A champion of both traditional and new forms of theater in New York, Atkinson was also known as an outspoken voice against the practices of the McCarthy era and the interrogations of the House Un-American Activities Committee, using his skill as a journalist to inform the public and expose the tactics practiced by Joseph McCarthy and his supporters in their vigilant fight against communism.

Atkinson maintained both professional and personal relationships with some of the foremost playwrights of the 20th century. He carried on a long standing friendship and correspondence with Sean O'Casey which is revealed in the vast amount of correspondence between them. Other friends and acquaintances include Tennessee Williams, Moss Hart, Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Robert W. Anderson, George S. Kaufman, Clifford Odets, Robert Sherwood, Thornton Wilder and Eugene O'Neill, among others.

Brooks Atkinson was honored throughout his life both by his peers and those he served in the theater community by numerous awards and honors. In 1947, he won a Pulitzer prize for a series of articles which he had written when he was in Moscow in 1945. He was awarded the Antoinette Perry Award for his "distinguished achievement in the theater" and was the only critic to have a Broadway theater named after him. Honorary awards include membership in the Players and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Atkinson not only wrote as a journalist but also published many other works on the theater and other topics. Some of his titles include: Broadway Scrapbook, The Cingalese Prince, The Lively Years, Tuesdays and Thursdays, Broadway, and This Bright Land . He also edited and wrote the forward for a volume about the works of his long-time friend, Sean O'Casey entitled The O'Casey Reader .

Atkinson died in Huntsville, Alabama on January 13, 1984.

From the guide to the Brooks Atkinson papers, 1904-1980, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Pace University. Audio tape collection, [ca. 1968]-1985. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn O'Brien, Seumas, 1880-. Papers, 1909-1958. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Oral History files, 1948-1986, 1969-1971 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Papers, 1840-1961. Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Lenya, Lotte, 1898-1981. General correspondence, [ca. 1920]-1981. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Robert Whitehead Papers, 1947-2002, (bulk 1950-1996) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Harold Phelps Stokes papers, 1908-1969 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Brooks Atkinson collection, [ca. 1967-ongoing]. Museum of Performance & Design
referencedIn Tennessee Williams Art Collection TXRC99-A14., ca. 1928-1980, bulk 1930s-1970s Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Letters, 1920-1977 : to Lewis Mumford. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Living Theatre records, 1945-1991 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Ruth and Augustus Goetz papers, 1930-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn R. Buckminster Fuller papers, ca. 1920-1983 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn New York Times Company records. A.M. Rosenthal papers, 1955-1994, 1967-1986 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Al Hirschfeld papers, 1931-1983 Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
referencedIn Hart, Moss, 1904-1961. Moss Hart and Kitty Carlisle papers, 1922-1962, 1988. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn New Directions Publishing Corp. records, ca. 1933-1997. Houghton Library.
referencedIn The Nation, records, 1879-1974 (inclusive), 1920-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Goetz, Ruth Goodman. Papers, 1916-1983. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Webster, Margaret, 1905-1972. Margaret Webster papers, 1837-1974 (bulk 1937-1970). Library of Congress
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, [between 1947 and 1963]. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Laurence J. Gomme collection, 1850-1973 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Clara Rotter papers, 1961-1984 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Mark Anthony De Wolfe Howe additional papers, 1880-1959. Houghton Library.
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Correspondence with Theodore Dreiser, 1912-1939. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
referencedIn Samuel and Bella Spewack Papers, ca.1920-1980 Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Roger Garis Papers, 1855-1965 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Daniel, Clifton, 1912-2000. Papers, 1955-1977. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Odets mss., 1921-1963 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Gomme, Laurence J. (Laurence James), 1882-1974. Laurence J. Gomme collection, 1850-1973. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Letter to [Edward] C. Mabie. New York, NY. 1939 Jan. 20. University of Iowa Libraries
creatorOf Finley, John H. (John Huston), 1863-1940. John H. Finley papers, 1892-1940, bulk (1913-1935). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967. Letters of Carl Sandburg [manuscript] 1951-1952. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Tennessee Williams Collection TXRC99-A14., 1880-1993, (bulk 1930s-1970s) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Brooks Atkinson papers, 1925-1976. Harvard University, Harvard Theater Collection, Harvard College Library
creatorOf Hirschfeld, Al. Al Hirschfeld papers, 1931-1983. Smithsonian Archives of American Art
creatorOf Taylor, Walter, 1918-. Walter Taylor papers, 1854-1968 bulk 1959-1968. Haverford College Library
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Brooks Atkinson papers, 1904-1980. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Spewack, Samuel and Bella. Papers, ca.1920-1980. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn John H. Finley papers, 1892-1940, 1913-1935 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Bronk, William. William Bronk papers, 1908-1999. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Rice, Elmer, 1892-1967,. Elmer Rice letters from various correspondents, 1915-1967. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn New York Times Company. New York TImes Company records. Clifton Daniel papers, 1955-1979. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Sayler, Oliver Martin, 1887-. Oliver Martin Sayler letters, 1908-1956 (bulk 1913-1930). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Ornitz, Samuel, 1890-1957. Papers, 1919-1957. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Gish, Lillian, 1893-1993. Lillian Gish papers, 1909-1992. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Hewitt, Alan. Papers, 1930-1986. New Hampshire Newsp Project
referencedIn Ward Morehouse papers, 1877-1966, 1924-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Luce, Claire, 1901-1989. Papers of Claire Luce, 1955-1969 (inclusive), 1957-1963 (bulk). Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Douglas, Melvyn. Papers, 1892-1983. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn S. N. Behrman papers, 1912-1987 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Lillian Gish papers, 1909-1992 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Lithgow, Arthur. Papers, 1937-1992. Kent State University
referencedIn Berenberg, Benedict. Interviews [sound recording] Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Daughter recalls her mother's story of rejecting Thoreau's proposal : typescript, [1962?] / by Brooks Atkinson. Concord Free Public Library, Special Collection
creatorOf Rotter, Clara. Clara Rotter papers, 1961-1984. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Gilbert Miller Collection, 1921-1967, (bulk 1932-1955) Music Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Correspondence, 1860-1979. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Kieran, John, 1892-1981. Papers of John Kieran, 1917-1981. Library of Congress
creatorOf Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983. Tennessee Williams Collection, 1880-1993 (bulk 1930s-1970s). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn John Kieran Papers, 1917-1985 Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
creatorOf Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966. Ward Morehouse papers, 1877-1966 bulk (1924-1966). New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Flanagan, Hallie, 1890-1969. Hallie Flanagan papers, 1923-1963. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Maxwell, Perriton, 1868-1947,. Perriton Maxwell collection, 1931-1932. Library of Congress
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Letter to Harry Salpeter [manuscript], n.d. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Paul Field Sifton and Claire Sifton Papers, 1912-1980, (bulk 1925-1971) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Stokes, Harold Phelps, 1887-1970. Harold Phelps Stokes papers, 1908-1969 (inclusive). Yale University Library
creatorOf Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969. Papers, 1922-1967. Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Behrman, S. N. (Samuel Nathaniel), 1893-1973. S. N. Behrman papers, 1912-1987. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Letters and cards by Brooks Atkinson, 1937-1983 and n.d. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Sifton, Paul Field, 1897-1972. Paul F. Sifton and Claire G. Sifton papers, 1912-1980. Library of Congress
referencedIn Jo Mielziner papers, 1903-1976 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951,. Letters to Alfred Kreymborg [manuscript], 1921-1956. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964. Robert G. Lowery - Sean O'Casey Collection, [188-?]-1995. Boston College, Thomas P. O'Neill Library
creatorOf Adamic, Louis, 1899-1951. Hopwood Awards Collection, 1930- University of Michigan
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Reminiscences of Justin Brooks Atkinson : lecture, [195-?]. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Brooks Atkinson letter to Mrs. Skeel, undated New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Simon, Louis M., 1906-. Louis M. Simon papers, 1923-1965. Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn New York Times Company records. Arthur Hays Sulzberger papers, 1823-1999 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984. Letters to Harold [Rugg]. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Players (New York, N.Y.). Pipe Night tape collection, 1963-1986. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Lucille Lortel papers, 1902-2000 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Atkinson, Brooks, 1894-1984,. Saturday review book review letters received, 1958-1967 (bulk 1960-1962). Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Shumlin, Herman, 1898-. Papers, 1930-1968. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Gypsy Rose Lee papers, 1910-1970 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Eppes, William D. Autograph collection of William D. Eppes, 1908-1998. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Fuchs, Emil, 1866-1929. Emil Fuchs Papers 1880-1931, 1897-1927 (bulk). Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn New York Times (Firm). Managing editors papers, 1904-1951. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
creatorOf Brooks Atkinson papers, 1904-1980 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Hallie Flanagan papers, 1923-1963 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn William Bronk Papers, 1908-1999. Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library,
referencedIn Stokes, Harold Phelps, 1887-1970. Harold Phelps Stokes papers, 1908-1969 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Richard Barr and Clinton Wilder papers, 1935-1982 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Records, 1946-2000 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
referencedIn Kerr, Walter F., 1913-1966. Walter and Jean Kerr papers, circa 1920-1993. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
referencedIn Margaret Webster Papers, 1837-1974, (bulk 1937-1970) Library of Congress. Manuscript Division
referencedIn Miller, Gilbert. Gilbert Miller collection, 1921-1967 (bulk 1932-1955). Library of Congress
creatorOf Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967. Letters of tribute to Carl Sandburg [manuscript], 1951-1952. University of Virginia. Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adofph Green person
associatedWith Anderson, Maxwell, 1888-1959. person
associatedWith Anderson, Robert, 1917-2009. person
associatedWith Arthur Miller person
associatedWith Atkinson, Oriana. person
associatedWith Barr, Richard person
associatedWith Behrman, S. N. (Samuel Nathaniel), 1893-1973. person
associatedWith Berenberg, Benedict. person
associatedWith Bronk, William. person
associatedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969. person
associatedWith Columbia University. Graduate School of Journalism. corporateBody
associatedWith Daniel, Clifton, 1912-2000. person
associatedWith Douglas, Melvyn. person
associatedWith Eppes, William D. person
associatedWith Finley, John H. (John Huston), 1863-1940. person
associatedWith Flanagan, Hallie, 1890-1969. person
associatedWith Fuchs, Emil, 1866-1929. person
associatedWith Fuller, R. Buckminster (Richard Buckminster), 1895-1983 person
associatedWith Garis, Roger, 1901-1967 person
associatedWith Gish, Lillian, 1893-1993. person
associatedWith Goetz, Ruth person
associatedWith Goetz, Ruth Goodman. person
associatedWith Gomme, Laurence J. (Laurence James), 1882-1974. person
associatedWith Hand, Learned, 1872-1961 person
associatedWith Hart, Moss, 1904-1961. person
correspondedWith Harvard Law School Forum corporateBody
associatedWith Hewitt, Alan. person
associatedWith Hirschfeld, Al person
associatedWith Hirschfeld, Al. person
correspondedWith Hocking, William Ernest, 1873-1966 person
associatedWith Hoover, J. Edgar (John Edgar), 1895-1972. person
correspondedWith Howe, M. A. De Wolfe (Mark Antony De Wolfe), 1864-1960 person
associatedWith Kaufman, George S. (George Simon), 1889-1961. person
associatedWith Kerr, Walter F., 1913-1966. person
correspondedWith Kieran, John, 1892-1981. person
associatedWith Koopman, Louise Osgood. person
associatedWith Lee, Gypsy Rose, 1914-1970 person
associatedWith Lenya, Lotte, 1898-1981. person
associatedWith Lithgow, Arthur. person
associatedWith Living Theatre (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lortel, Lucille person
associatedWith Luce, Claire, 1901-1989. person
associatedWith Mabie, Edward Charles, 1892-1956, person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Maxwell, Perriton, 1868-1947, person
associatedWith Mielziner, Jo, 1901-1976 person
associatedWith Miller, Gilbert. person
associatedWith Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966. person
correspondedWith Nation (New York, N.Y. : 1865). corporateBody
associatedWith New Directions Publishing Corp. corporateBody
associatedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times Company. corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith New York Times (Firm) corporateBody
associatedWith O'Brien, Seumas, 1880- person
associatedWith O'Casey, Sean, 1880-1964 person
associatedWith Odets, Clifford, 1906-1963. person
associatedWith O'Neill, Eugene, 1888-1953. person
associatedWith Ornitz, Samuel, 1890-1957. person
associatedWith Pace University. corporateBody
associatedWith Players (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Rice, Elmer, 1892-1967, person
associatedWith Rosenthal, A. M. (Abraham Michael), 1922-2006 person
associatedWith Rotter, Clara person
correspondedWith Rotter, Clara. person
associatedWith Rugg, Harold Goddard, 1883-1957. person
associatedWith Saddler, Donald person
associatedWith Salpeter, Harry, person
associatedWith Sandburg, Carl, 1878-1967. person
associatedWith Sayler, Oliver Martin, 1887- person
associatedWith Sean O'Casey person
associatedWith Service, John S., 1909- person
associatedWith Sewall, Ellen Devereux, b. 1822. person
associatedWith Shumlin, Herman, 1898- person
correspondedWith Sifton, Claire, 1897-1980 person
correspondedWith Sifton, Paul Field, 1897-1972. person
associatedWith Simon, Louis M., 1906- person
associatedWith Spewack, Samuel, 1899-1971 person
associatedWith Spewack, Samuel and Bella. person
associatedWith Stokes, Harold Phelps, 1887-1970. person
associatedWith Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862. person
associatedWith Thoreau, John, 1815-1842. person
associatedWith Webster, Margaret, 1905-1972. person
correspondedWith Whitehead, Robert, 1916-2002 person
associatedWith Wilder, Clinton person
associatedWith Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975. person
associatedWith Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
China
New York (N.Y.)
United States
Subject
Off--Broadway theater
World War, 1939-1945--China
World War, 1939-1945
Theater
Theater critics--Interviews
Dramatic criticism
Theater--New York (State)--New York
Anti-communist movements--United States
Theater critics
Anti-communist movements
Occupation
Theater critics
Function

Person

Birth 1894-11-28

Death 1983-01-14

Americans

English

Information

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