USC Libraries

University of Southern California

skip navigation

Max Reinhardt Collection

Contact Information
Melinda Hayes
(213) 740 5141

Special Collections, DML 206


In the years following 1950, the USC library succeeded in obtaining a part of the library of legendary stage director Max Reinhardt, whose name is inseparable from the history of European theater in the early part of the last century. Reinhardt went a long way toward establishing the dominant role of director as “auteur,” taking full charge of lighting, stage technology and even theater design, while exerting his personal aesthetic principles derived from a mixture of post-Wagnerism, symbolism and expressionism. His energies lifted the one-time actor to full artistic direction of numerous theaters in Germany and Austria until the menace of Nazism forced him to give up his posts and seek new areas of endeavor in the United States In Europe he was remembered for productions of Strindberg, Ibsen, Everyman in Salzburg, and Der Rosenkavelier in Dresden. In California, he directed a memorable Midsummernight’s Dream at the Hollywood Bowl (later filmed), while conducting workshops on both coasts and founding a new repertory company in New York City. Reinhardt died in 1943, and a portion of his personal library (mostly published plays in German) that had escaped confiscation was merged into the USC collections. The Max Reinhardt Library is currently housed within Special Collections in the Doheny Memorial Library.