Kim Edgar Swados collection

Kim Edgar Swados collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Creator: Swados, Kim Edgar, 1920-
Title: Kim Edgar Swados collection
Dates: 1940s-1980s
Quantity: 3.5 Linear feet (600 items in 1 document box, 8 oversized folders A, 19 oversized folders B, and 4 oversized folders C)
Abstract:The collection mainly consists of theatrical and motion picture set designs of Kim Edgar Swados from ca. 1953-1964. The collection includes color or black and white sketches, pencil tracings, blueprints, photographs, negatives, playbills, printed material, and clippings documenting Swados' work in the New York theater and motion pictures.
Coll. Number: ms2559

Biographical/Historical Note

Kim Edgar Swados (1920- ), theatrical set designer active in the 1950s-1960s avant garde theater movement, resident of New York City and Los Angeles, California.

Hailed by Robert Edmond Jones for his imaginative use of the entire stage, not simply the set, Swados possessed a powerful creative imagination which found its expression in the modern and experimental theatre. Not interested in realistic plays, Swados worked best in fashioning sets for the theatre of the subconscious and theatre of the avant garde. His sets for the unproduced Lincoln Kirstein production of Kafka's The Trial, for example, were powerful metaphors which communicated the anxiety and terror of modern man's inability to deal with the forces around him. Overall, Swados' work shows a great originality in relation to the themes of modern theatre.

While Swados worked in television and film, it was his theatre work which allowed him to find full expression of his creative imagination. This collection consists of all of his extant theatrical sets, with the others given away or discarded after the production. It makes a very useful and important research collection for the student of modern theatre and set design.


Arranged in alphabetical order by production title.

Index Terms

Blueprints (reprographic copies).
Experimental theater--New York (State)--New York.
Motion pictures--United States--Setting and scenery.
Set designers--New York (State)--New York.
Theaters--New York (State)--New York--Stage-setting and scenery.

General Notes

Cataloged as part of the Georgia Archives and Manuscripts Automated Access Project: A Special Collections Gateway Program of the University Center in Georgia.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Kim Edgar Swados collection. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


"THE AMITYVILLE HORROR" by Sandor Stern (Adapted from the Novel by Jay Anson)

Produced by: American Int'l Pictures & Saland/Geissinger
Starring: Rod Steiger, James Brolin & Margot Kidder
11-4Assorted color and black and white location stills selected for the design & filming of the picture (Forty (40))
5Black & white studies (various sizes) of set location exteriors & interiors (25)
6-7Color sketches (various sizes) of set renderings, exteriors & interiors (22)
Movie theatre display poster for the film ( 27" x 41" )
Design of "The House" by Mr. Swados is the Predominant Element in all Promotion & Advertising for the film.
Set of final original working drawings for the entire film (17); Pencil on tracing ( 32" x 42" )
Assorted press reviews; ads; program for private invitational screening, etc.

"THE AUTOMOBILE GRAVEYARD" by Arrabal, circa 1961

The Forty-First St. Theatre, N.Y.C-American Premiere
OS Folder
2BColor collages of the cars, on bristol paper (Three) ( 6" x 8" )
Color rendering of the set on plate bristol (One) ( 13" x 17" )
18Tempera rendering of all cars; watercolor on paper, 1961 (One) ( 3" x 5" )
OS Folder
2BInk & sepia wash rendering of all cars; Bristol (One) ( 12" x 17" )
Complete set (15) of working drawings & car drawings; tracing (Two) ( 18" x 24" )
Complete set of blueprints (12) (One) ( 18" x 24" )
Glossy proofs of production (132) ( 2 1/4" x 2 1/4" )
19Black & white glossies of production (Seven (7)) ( 8" x 10" )
OS Folder
2BBlack & white proofs of "The Rolls Royce" (Two) ( 12" x 16" )
110Playbill; general production notes

"THE BLACKS" by Jean Genet, 1961-1971

The American PREMIERE; St. Mark's Playhouse, N.Y.C.
OS Folder
3APencil sketches on vellum (Three) ( 15" x 22" )
Sketches; pencil & red crayon on vellum (Three) ( 11" x 14" )
OS Folder
4BOriginal set of blueprints ((8)) ( 18" x 24" )
OS Folder
3A"Theatre Arts" cover & article
OS Folder
4BOriginal poster ( 15" x 22" )
Photographs of set (black & white) (9) ( 9" x 7" )
Assorted plans, elevations, roughs, studies ( 12" x 20" )
111Various reviews, press & magazine articles, showbill, correspondence
Harold Clurman-The New Republic
Cue Magazine
Max Lerner-The New York Post
Norman Mailer-The Village Voice
James Baldwin-The Village Voice
The New Yorker
Howard Taubman-New York Times
Walter Kerr-New York Times
Bernard Fechtman-New York Times
Sketches of the set for the American premiere of the play, "The Blacks" by Jean Genet
Pencil on Vellum, March 1, 1961 ( 15 1/2" x 22 1/2" )
First sketch, combining images and elements necessary to the thematic action of the Play.
Pencil on Vellum with Red Crayon, March 10, 1961 ( 10 3/4" x 16" )
This sketch turns to the statement (and sub-title) of the Play as "A Clown Show." First real use of the Playhouse environment itself, the use of ramps and sharpening of elements for greater visual interest. "I added the Red accent to intensify the theme of 'bloody' murder."
Photographs of the set for "The Blacks"
Press photo of the complete set ( 8 1/2"x 13" )
Alternate press photos of the set ( 9 1/2" x 13 1/2" ) ( 10 1/4" x 13 1/2" )
P.O.V., Stage LEFT
P.O.V., Stage RIGHT
Mounted set photo featuring: Catafalque, Voodoo Dolls and Throne Chair ( 5"x 7 1/2" )
Mounted set photo featuring: the Operating Table with Masks and Gloves, the "Good Book" and the Throne Chair ( 5" x 7 1/2" )
Sheet of 4 mounted photos for purpose of delineating lighting cues ( 2 1/4" x 4 1/2" )
P.O.V. , Stage LEFT
Sheet of 4 mounted photos providing close-ups of set details ( 5" x 5" )
Stand for the "Good Book"
Mask for Diouf's mask; the "Good Book"
Chairs for confrontation scenes
Support of white sheet which becomes the Catafalque
Original theater poster for the play (color billboard) ( 13 1/2" 19 1/2" )
Original playbill for opening night, MAY 4, 1961
Original flyer for first preview performance
"Theatre Arts" Magazine (entire issue), July 1961
Magazine COVER is Photograph of a scene from "THE BLACKS"
Magazine FEATURED REVIEW (with photo insert) of the Play, by Drama Critic Alan Pryce-Jones
Press reviews for "The Blacks"
Sunday Drama Section, April 30, 1961
Page One photo of scene from the Play.
Inside Page with Advertisiment announcing the Play.
Daily Issue, May 5,1961
Review (with photo insert) by Times senior Drama Critic, Howard Taubman.
Sunday Drama Section, May 14,1961
Advertisement (2 columns) quoting rave Reviews for the play.
Sunday Lively Arts Section, April 30, 1961
Page One photo of scene from the Play.
Feature Article (p. 3) on the play by Bernard Frechtman, translator of "THE BLACKS." (Photo insert.)
Daily Issue, Tuesday, April 8, 1961
Feature Article on rehearsals for the Play by Tribune Drama Critic, Stuart W. Little. (Photo insert.)
Daily Issue, May 5, 1961
Review (with photo insert) by senior Tribune Drama Critic, Walter Kerr.
Sunday Amusement Section, April 30, 1961
Page One drawing, by William Levy, of a scene from the Play.
Daily Issue, Friday, May 5, 1961
Feature (COLUMN) Article on Genet and "The Blacks" by senior Post Drama Critic, Richard Watts, Jr. This is his REVIEW.
Sunday Amusement Section, May 14, 1961
Feature Article (entire page) offering critical analysis of the Play by Post's Richard Watts, Jr.
Daily Issue, Monday, May 22, 1961
Feature Article on "The Blacks" Director, Gene Frankel's approach to Genet by Post Drama Critic, Frances Herridge. (Photo insert)
Daily Issue, Tuesday, May 23,1961
Post Columnist, Max Lerner, devotes an entire COLUMN to Genet, emphasizing "The Blacks."
Daily Issue of, Friday, May 5, 1961
Review by Journal-American senior Drama Critic, John McClain
Daily Issue of, Friday, May 5, 1961
Review (with photo insert) by Mirror Drama Critic, Seymour Stern.
Daily Issue of, May 5, 1961
Review (full page) by Telegram senior Drama Critic, Frank Aston.
Daily Issue of, May 13, 1961
Feature Article (self-interview format) on the play, by Critic, Frank Aston.
Issue of, May 11, 1961
By Invitation from The Voice, author Norman Mailer, offers four full pages of Review and commentary on the Play, the Director, Genet, etc. (Photo insert)
Issue of, May 11, 1961
Review by Guest N.Y.POST Drama Critic, Jerry Tallmer. (Fictional interview format.)
Issue of, May 18, 1961
Extensive "follow-up" Critique of the Play, by Invitational author, Norman Mailer.
THE NEW YORKER, May 13, 1961 ((2 pgs.))
Review by critic, Whitney Balleitt.
TIME, May 12, 1961
Review of the play, with picture cut by Martha Swope.
THE NATION, May 20, 1961 ((2 pgs.))
Review by theatre Director/Author, Harold Clurman.
CUE, May 13, 1961
Review by senior Drama Critic, Emory Lewis.

"BULLFIGHT" by Leslie Stevens

Theatre DeLys, N.Y.C.-PREMIERE Of The Play
OS Folder
5BPencil backdrop studies on tracing paper (Four) ( 9" x 12" )
Pencil rough studies for backdrop on tracing paper (7) ( 9" x 12" )
Color crayon roughs on bond paper (4) ( 9" x 12" )
Complete set blueprints ((16)) ( 21" x 24" )
Complete set final tracing plans ((11)) ( 21" x 24" )
Original poster & flyers
OS Folder
6BHouse and Bullring- colored ink sketch on plate bristol (One) ( 8" x 10" )
Fiesta- colored ink sketch on bristol (One) ( 8" x 10" )
Chapel- colored ink sketch on bristol (One) ( 8" x 10" )
Bullring colored ink sketch on bristol (One) ( 5" x 9" )
Cock fight- colored ink sketch on bristol (One) ( 5" x 11" )
Figures in the house- colored ink sketch on bristol (One) ( 5" x 9" )
12Collage made from photographs of the sets (Eleven) ( 5" x 7" )
12Photographs of the set (color and b&w)
13Playbill; script notes & schedules; general lighting and scene notes
14Script (entire)

"CARDINAL MINDSZENTY" starring Claude Dauphin

"STUDIO ONE"; CBS-TV, National Network
OS Folder
7BProduction sketches (black & white) (Fifteen) ( 18" x 24" )
Complete painter color elevations for entire production ((6)) ( 22" x 30" )
115Assorted production photographs- color; black & white; various sizes
15Script with staging notes


Group Repertory Theatre; Burbank, California
OS Folder
8AColor renderings in paste-up maquettes of all elements for set; ink & color on plate bond (Five) ( 6" x 11" )
Preliminary rough color sketches in ink & wash on bond (Two) ( 9" x 12" )
Window sketch on graph paper
Black & white ink studies on plate bond and tracing paper (Seven) ( 6" x 11" )
OS Folder
9BFinal working drawings- plan & elevation on tracing paper ((2)) ( 18" x 24" )
Abstract drawings
Illegible of negative with trees
Black & White photographs with 2 black people (3)
116Sketches for title logo
GRT playbill
Personal notes, 1987


The Gate Theatre, N.Y.C.
OS Folder
10AComplete set of final working drawings on vellum ((7)) ( 18" x 24" )
117Pencil studies of set pieces on tracing paper (Five) ( 9" x 12" )
17Color negatives (Seven) ( 5" x 7" )
17Color print of sets & house curtain (Five) ( 5" x 7" )
17Final color renderings of each set, house curtain & floor painting-tempera & wash on illustration board (Six) ( 6" x 6" )
18Playbill; flyers; major press reviews; lighting, directing and production notes


OS Folder
11BDesign plans; color renderings on tracing paper and graph paper
OS Folder
12CMaster set of design plans


Adapted from the O'Neill Play by Jose Limon; Original Score Commissioned & Written by Hector Villa-Lobos
The New York Ctiy Center-WORLD PREMIERE
OS Folder
13BPencil studies for "The Trees," on vellum (Twelve) ( 3" x 6" )
Pencil study for "The Throne," on vellum (One) ( 18" x 24" )
Pencil study for "3 Masks," on vellum (One) ( 18" x 24" )
Colored ink wash studies for "The Throne," on vellum (Five) ( 5" x 7" )
Colored ink wash study for "The Nightbird," on vellum (One) ( 3" x 3" )
Colored ink wash studies for "The Slave Block," on vellum (Two) ( 3" x 3" )
Colored ink wash studies for "The Trees," on vellum (Six) ( 3" x 6" )
OS Folder
14CFull-size original working drawings for "The Throne," on tracing paper ( 3" x 6" )
Full-size original working drawings for "The Trees," on tracing paper ( 24" x 40" )
Full-size drawing of "The Slave Block," on tracing paper (One) ( 24" x 40" )
2 unidentified drawings on tracing paper ("Noisy Paint")
2 sketches on tracing paper, unidentified
1 blueprint sheet, unidentified
119Assorted press reviews; photograph (1)
This production was "toured" under the auspices of the U.S. State Dept. throughout the world. (18 countries.)


OS Folder
15APhoto posters of exhibit

"JUDITH" by Jean Giraudoux

The A.P.A. Repertory Co.; Lyceum Theatre, N.Y.C.-PREMIERE
OS Folder
16BReproductions of preliminary interiors of both sets, Act I-"Judith's House"; Act II-"Holofernes' Tent"; on sepia paper ( 16" x 22" )
Preliminary "plan" roughs of Acts I & II (blueprints) (Five) ( 19" x 24" )
Complete original set of working drawings, on tracing paper ((5)) ( 19" x 24" )
One complete set of final working drawings, blueprints ((5)) ( 19" x 24" )
Finished sepia reproduction of "House" interior (One) ( 19" x 22" )
Finished sepia reproduction of "Holofernes" interior (One) ( 19" x 22" )
Final color sketch for "Judith's House"- in ink & tempura on illustration board ( 12" x 16" )


OS Folder
17BPlans, elevations, designs on sepia, pencil sketches
OS FolderOS Folder
18A19AColor renderings, pen and ink rough sketches of scenes
120Color renderings, marker sketches, press article, 1982


OS Folder
20BSet plans, design details; pencil on trace paper
Original set of plans and designs; one sepia


OS Folder
21BProduction advertisement posters (in Dutch, 1 translated)


Produced by: Webster/Hammer Productions, Inc.
Starring: Ossie Davis, Alan Alda, Ruby Dee and Godfrey Cambridge
OS Folder
22BPencil renderings of each set (exterior/interior) on tracing paper (Seven) ( 17" x 22" )
Original working drawings of entire film; pencil on tracing paper (Nine) ( 19" x 26" )
Complete set of blueprints ((9)) ( 19" x 26" )
121Photographs- black & white production stills in assorted sizes (15)

"RHINOCEROS" by Eugene Ionesco

Westport Country Playhouse; Westport, Connecticut Try-Out for a NATIONAL TOUR
OS Folder
23BColor sketch in ink & tempera on bond paper (One) ( 14" x 20" )
Complete original working drawings on tracing paper: roughs, elevations, studies of interiors ( 18" x 24" )
Black & white photographs of Acts I, II & III (Three) ( 4" x 7" )

"SHADOW OF HEROES" by Robert Ardrey

York Theatre, N.Y.C.-PREMIERE of Play
OS Folder
24BColor sketches- ink & tempera (mixed) on plate bristol (3) ( 9" x 14" )
Pencil elevation sketches on vellum (Five) ( 14" x 19" )
Pencil studies on vellum (Two) ( 14" x 21" )
Ink & tempera-color (mixed) on plate bristol (One) ( 13" x 17" )
Cover page of New York Times drama section
India ink sketches on plate bristol (Two) ( 5" x 15" )
Ink & shellac sketches on vellum (Two) ( 5" x 15" )
122Photograph of the cast and set (black & white) (1) ( 5" x 10" )
22Playbill; cast list; newspaper ad (2)

"THE STINGIEST MAN IN TOWN"- a musical adaptation of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"

A 2-Hour Holiday "Special" for NBC-TV starring Basil Rathbone as "Scrooge"
OS Folder
25CRenderings of each set, in graphite on heavy tracing paper (Nine) ( 26" x 36" )
Finished original working drawings and plans, on tracing paper (Four (4)) ( 26" x 36" )
Complete set of blueprints (9) ( 26" x 36" )


OS Folder
26AProduction sketches, in ink (of characters)
"THE TRIAL" by Andre Gide (adapted from the novel by Franz Kafka)
A PROJECT for: Lincoln Kirstein, Otto Preminger & Jean Rosenthal; N.Y. City Center
OS Folder
27B"The face of Josef K."- charcoal & ink rendering on paper with Ink overlay of a perspective grid- to be painted on scrim ( 6" x 10" )
OS Folder
28B"Josef K.'s home"- ink, colored wash & tempera on watercolor paper ( 9" x 18" )
A maquette of all the sets (8), exterior and interior, in tempera & colored Inks on bristol paper ( 8" x 17" )
Tittorelli's Studio
Josef K.'s Bedroom
His Foyer
The Attic
Josef K.'s Bank Office
A Corridor
The Judge's Bedroom
A Street
123An identical maquette (as above)- in black & white; 10" x 18"; 7 set & "panel" pieces
By the conclusion of the play the set "panels" of Josef K's face have Disappeared. (Not Produced)
A Corridor
The Judge's Bedroom
Josef K.'s Bank Office
The Attic
Tittorelli's Studio
K.'s Bedroom & Foyer
The Street
23Preliminary studies in ink & red wash on bond paper (Two) ( 6" x 8" )
24A set of jigsaw puzzle pieces, in B&W, to fit the "panels" of the maquette; when completed they reveal Josef K.'s face (8)

"TWO LITTLE MINKS" by Loring Mandel

"Studio One"; CBS-TV
OS Folder
29 B11 Sepia sketches of each set, on tracing paper ((11)) ( 20" x 25 )
OS Folder
29BComplete set of blueprints ((12)) ( 20" x 25" )
3 mounted color and B&W photographs of the sets
1256 color and B&W photographs of the sets ((9)) ( 5" x 8" )
This Production was designed in Forced Perspective, as Profile Cut-Outs, Painted on Both Sides.


OS Folder
30BSet plans
OS Folder