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|Size||14.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2700 items)|
|Abstract||Professor of dramatic literature at the University of North Dakota and University of North Carolina; founder and director of the Carolina Playmakers. Correspondence, writings, photographs, and other material documenting the life of Frederick Henry Koch from his years as an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan University until his death. The bulk of the collection, particularly the correspondence, deals with his personal and family life. Especially notable is a series of long letters, circa 1897- 1917, to Koch from his father, August Wilhelm Koch, concerning family matters and life in Peoria, Ill. Correspondence after 1944 is chiefly addressed to Koch's niece, Adeline Denham McCall, and documents the lives of Koch's wife, Jean Hanigan Koch, and four sons after his death. Also included are personal and professional correspondence with literary agents, publishers, other dramatists, and University of North Carolina faculty and officers; newspaper articles and pamphlets Koch wrote about the theater; notes about play production; some information about Koch's involvement with the American Pageant Association; class-records from the University of North Carolina; and diaries from Koch's student years. The activities of the Carolina Playmakers are primarily represented by photographs and copies of prompt books for plays written by students.|
|Creator||Koch, Frederick H. (Frederick Henry), 1877-1944.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
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[This note is from the sketch of Koch written by Samuel Selden for the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography (vol. 3, p. 381). A family chart produced by the compilers of this inventory follows.]
"Frederick Henry Koch, 12 September 1877-16 August 1944, was born in Covington, Kentucky, in a family of nine boys and one girl. His father, August William Koch, was of German ancestry; his mother, Rebecca Cornelia Julian Koch, came from French stock. August, an accountant and cashier in the Etna Life Insurance Company, was a freehand artist and inventor. His imaginative bent showed up in his children: three of his sons became architects, the daughter a singer. From his father, Frederick obtained creative talents, from his mother a playful disposition."
"Koch grew up in Illinois. He attended Peoria High School and Caterals Methodist College, then Ohio Wesleyan, from which he was graduated with the A.B. degree in 1900. Wishing passionately to become an actor, he spent some time at the Emerson School of Oratory in Boston, but when his family frowned on his histrionic ambition, Koch enrolled at Harvard to study English literature. Unable to stifle completely his thespian urge, however, he traveled around the countryside giving readings of Shakespeare. He was awarded the M.A. degree in 1909."
"At Harvard Koch fell under the dramatic influence of George Pierce Baker who was, at the time, stirring a group of young men and women to write plays on native American subjects. After graduation, Koch took an extended trip to Greece, North Africa, Syria, Egypt, and Palestine. At Athens he met an Irish-American girl, Loretta Jean Hanigan, whom he married in 1910. They had four sons: Frederick, George, Robert, and William. From 1905 to 1918 Koch taught English at the University of North Dakota where, besides conducting courses in literature, he founded the Dakota Playmakers. The Playmakers produced one-act plays on the life of the state, written by students. The plays were trouped around North Dakota and presented to schools and communities, some of which had never before seen a dramatic performance."
"Informed of the singularly productive work being done by Professor Koch in the Midwest, President Edward Kidder Graham of The University of North Carolina wished to develop similar creative activity at his institution. In 1918 he wrote to Koch and persuaded him to come to the Southeast. In Chapel Hill, Koch taught dramatic literature and playwriting for twenty-six years. Young men and women from every section of the state came to work with him, and they were soon joined by students from other states, then from abroad; Canada, England, Germany, Egypt, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Mexico, Chile, and elsewhere. Among the dramatists, novelists, and short-story writers (authors, who were inspired and guided in one way or another by the lively theater man from the Midwest) were Thomas Wolfe, Paul Green, Betty Smith, Jonathan Daniels, Noel Houston, Joseph Mitchell, Frances Gray Patton, Bernice Kelly Harris, Le Gette Blythe, Howard Richardson, and Josefina Niggli."
"To provide a means for his authors to see their work in performances, Koch organized a producing group, the Carolina Playmakers, modeled on the Playmakers of North Dakota. Many of the actors, directors, dancers, and designers who received instruction at The University of North Carolina later entered the professional world of the stage, motion pictures, and television. The university group--again following the example of the Dakota students--trouped their plays all over North Carolina, and extended their tours to such far-off places as New York, Boston, Dallas, and St. Louis."
"With the help of the University Extension Department and its associates, Koch established a Bureau of Community Drama, with a field secretary, which developed dramatic centers in other parts of the state. The productions of high school, college, and community groups were brought yearly to the university in Chapel Hill where they were staged in a spring Festival. Thirty years after Koch's death, the yearly Festival was still being held."
"Selected student-written plays were published by Koch in five volumes: Carolina Folk Plays (in four series) and American Folk Plays. He sponsored single authors' works in Alabama Folk Plays, by Kate Porter Lewis; Folk Plays of Eastern Carolina, by Bernice Kelly Harris; and Mexican Folk Plays, by Josefina Niggli. Some of Miss Niggli's short stories were combined and produced as a motion picture, Sombrero. Outdoor historical plays, inspired by Koch and written by Paul Green and Kermit Hunter, were produced and published."
"Koch used the term 'folk play' in the sense of the German 'volk' (common people), thus describing his employment of the word: The term 'folk,' as we use it, has nothing to do with the folk play of medieval times. But rather is it concerned with folk subject matter: with the legends, superstitions, customs, environmental differences, and the vernacular of the common people. For the most part they are realistic and human; sometimes they are imaginative and poetic." The early plays of Eugene O'Neill and Paul Green, Koch regarded as folk plays; the dramas of such writers as Bernard Shaw and John Von Druten were not.
"A man of remarkable energy and enthusiasm, Koch remained active until the time of his death. He was buried in the old Chapel Hill Cemetery."
HANIGAN AND KOCH FAMILIES
Frank Hanigan - ?(b. 5/3/1849- d. 2/?/1910)
William J. (d. 1911) + Nell ?
Edna + W. R. ("Roy") Thompson
Bradley (b. circa 1900)
Leo + Bertha ?
Benneth (b. 1913)
Tom (b. 1915)
Helene + (1) Denham ?
Adeline + Fred McCall
+ (2) George S. McKay
Loretta Jean + Frederick Henry Koch
Frederick H., Jr. + Edna ?
Frederick K., III "Ricky" + Valerie ?
Thomas ("Tommy") + Sue ?
George Julian (b. circa 1913) + Betty ?
Barbara + Terry ?
Robert (b. 1920)
William + Dorothy ("Dot") ?
Tricia + Bob Margolis
MichelleBack to Top
This collection documents the adult life of Frederick Henry Koch from his years as an undergraduate at Ohio Wesleyan University until his death in 1944. The bulk of the collection, particularly the correspondence, deals with his personal and family life.
Koch's professional life is documented through newspaper articles and copies of published versions of pamphlets he wrote about the theater. Some information is included on his involvement with the American Pageant Association and his contacts with publishers. The activities of the Carolina Playmakers are primarily represented by photographs and copies of prompt books for plays written by students.
The correspondence after 1944 is chiefly addressed to Koch's niece Adeline Denham McCall and documents the lives of Koch's wife and four sons after his death.
See the series descriptions for further details on contents and folder listings.Back to Top
This series is arranged chronologically in three subseries. Subseries 1.1 consists of correspondence through 1904, just before Koch took his first teaching position. Subseries 1.2 covers the years 1905-1917, during which Koch taught at the University of North Dakota. Subseries 1.3 begins with 1918, the year Koch moved to Chapel Hill. See Subseries 3.2 (Royalty Accounts) for correspondence between Koch and his publishers.
Chiefly letters from members of Koch's family. Most of these are lengthy typed letters from Koch's father, August William Koch, in Peoria, Illinois, sent to Koch when he was a student at Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, Ohio) and Emerson School of Oratory (Boston). These letters primarily concern family matters, events in Peoria, and responses to Koch's description of life at school. A. W. Koch also frequently encouraged his son to live an upright Christian life.
Included are several letters written by Koch's father in November and December 1899 discouraging him from pursuing a career as an actor. There are further references to this dispute in letters from December 1901 and January 1902.
Also included are brief letters from representatives of organizations that sponsored Koch's oratorical performances, primarily from the years 1901-1904 when he was at Emerson School of Oratory.
Chiefly correspondence between Fred ("Fritz") Koch and Jean ("Genie," "Loretta") Hanigan Koch, with scattered correspondence of other Hanigan family members.
Correspondence between 1905 and 1908 consists chiefly of letters to Koch from his father and friends, and includes a few letters about Koch's appointment to the faculty at the University of North Dakota and his graduate work at Harvard University. There are numerous love-letters between Fred (travelling in Europe, and in Massachusetts and North Dakota) and Jean (travelling in Europe, especially England, and in Denver, Colorado) during their courtship in 1909, and in the months immediately following their marriage in 1910 (Fred in North Dakota, Jean in Denver).
The remainder of the series (1911-1917) consists chiefly of letters to Koch from his father and correspondence between Fred and Jean concerning family matters while he was in Montana in 1912 and in New England in 1916 and 1917. There also are a few letters from Koch's young sons to their father. Of particular interest are the detailed letters, resembling a travel diary, written by Koch from Yellowstone National Park in September 1912.
Chiefly letters to Jean and/or Frederick Koch from members of the Koch and Hanigan families. Included are an increasing number of letters to their parents from the four Koch sons after they moved away from home to go to college, travel, and work. Included are letters by Koch written from September to December 1926, when he traveled in Europe with his father.
Also included are a series of letters written by the Koch sons during World War II when George, Robert, and William Koch were drafted. Of particular interest are Robert's accounts from occupied Germany, May 1945-May 1946, and a letter from William describing his suicide attempt (30 September 1943). Also of interest are Frederick, Jr.'s accounts of wartime conditions at the University of Miami, where he worked in the Drama Department.
The correspondence after 1947 is chiefly addressed to Adeline Denham McCall, niece of Jean Koch. Included are letters from the four Koch sons and Jean. Also included is a letter to Adeline from Paul Green.
Chiefly writings by Koch, primarily from his years as an undergraduate and graduate student, and reviews of plays directed by Koch.
A collection of short essays written for an English course at Harvard from September through December 1904 is included. Also included are drafts of several poems written in 1908, one of which, "Dakota Prairies," was published in the School of Education Record, University of North Dakota, in 1915. Later writings by Koch are published versions of pamphlets about the theater.
Writings about Koch consist chiefly of newspaper articles about plays under Koch's supervision at the University of North Dakota and by the Carolina Playmakers.
Arrangement: alphabetical by author.
Chiefly prompt books of plays written by Koch's students, including "The Chatham Rabbit" by Le Gette Blythe. Also included is a prompt book of "Tom Pinch" (an adaptation of Charles Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit), the senior class play at the University of North Dakota in 1907, directed by Koch.
Also included are handwritten versions of a series of stories written by the Rev. Charles R. Talbot of Wrentham, Massachusetts. The connection between Talbot and Koch is unknown.
A few miscellaneous writings, primarily in published form, by Koch's students and associates, are filed at the end of this subseries.
Chiefly writings and newspaper articles about various pageants, especially the Pageant and Masque of St. Louis, to which Koch was invited by the St. Louis Pageant Drama Association, and the Shakespeare Pageant in Chicago.
Also included are bulletins and other items from the American Pageant Association to which Koch was elected in 1914.
Arrangement: Alphabetical by name of publishing company.
Chiefly statements of royalties earned by Koch on various publications. Also included are royalty statements for Carolina Folk Plays and American Folk Plays, which were collections of plays written by Koch's students. Some correspondence between Koch and publishers is included.
Chiefly playbills for productions that Koch directed or in which he performed. Included are playbills for dramatic readings of Shakespeare and others performed by Koch. Also included are playbills for the Carolina Playmakers.
A passport, Italian railroad ticket, wedding announcement, personal account ledger, 1896-1899, information cards on Koch's students, Harvard report card, birth certificate for Frederick Henry Koch, Jr., class schedules for Emerson School of Oratory, and a copy of the contract typically used for authors writing for the Carolina Playmakers. Also included is a folder of miscellaneous papers which relate to Charles Remington Talbot, one of which is an obituary for him.
Arrangement: by type.
Volumes include those compiled and written by Koch (Vols. 1-37: a commonplace book, an address book, personal diaries, date books, and gradebooks); prompt books used by Koch for various play productions mounted at the University of North Carolina and the University of North Dakota (Vols. 38-44, S-47); a scrap book which apparently belonged to Charles Remington Talbot, and two miscellaneous volumes.
A sex manual for married couples, untitled, unascribed, undated. (Preface concludes with the initials H.W.L.) The first page is headed, "To Members of the Medical Profession Into Whose Hands This Book May Come." 83 numbered pages, with 7-page unnumbered preface. #04124, Series: "4. Volumes, 1897-1943, and undated." 46
|Photograph Album PA-4124/1|
|Photograph Album PA-4124/2|
|Photograph Album PA-4124/3|
|Photograph Album PA-4124/4|
Processed by: Shonra Newman, Alice Thomas with assistance from Patricia Townsend, Winifred Fordham, and theTechnical Services Staff, October 1989
Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008Back to Top