TRUMAN STATE UNIVERSITY Pickler Memorial Library Truman State University

Ms Collection C6

Correspondence, Clippings & Photos
Relating to His Appearance in the Original
Broadway Production of “Dark of the Moon”

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Sherod Jennings Collins (1900-1981), son of Madison Franklin and Belle (Whitworth) Collins, was born March 5, 1900 in Putnam County, MO.  From 1918 till 1930, Collins taught in rural schools while attending school part-time himself.  He enrolled as a full time student at Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (now Truman State University) in 1930 and two years later received his BS with a double major in Speech and Political Science.  For the next five years he worked on his MA in Psychology of Education at the University of Missouri while serving as Superintendent of the Queen City, MO High School.  He then joined the NMSTC faculty as speech instructor and director of debate in 1937, retiring in 1969 as Assistant Professor of Speech. He died May 18, 1981 in San Antonio, TX. 

Collins spent the summer of 1942 doing additional graduate work in drama at the University of Iowa.  While there, he had a role in "Dark of the Moon", an experimental drama based on the folk ballad "Barbara Allen", by Howard Richardson and William Berney.  Two years later, the authors asked him to take the role of "Pa" Allen in the Lee Schubert Broadway production which was to go into rehearsals that December.  Collins accepted and took a leave of absence to appear in the production in Philadelphia, Washington DC, Boston and New York; he returned to the role for four months in 1946. 

While on leave, Collins corresponded with his NMSTC Speech Department colleague Clifton Cornwell (1895-1965) who later donated the letters and memorabilia he received to Pickler Memorial Library.  Photocopies of correspondence in President Walter H Ryle's file for Collins were later added to supplement the collection.

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Photo by Ehrenberg-Picture Features

Preacher: "There ain't a man in the church can make corn liquor as good as you."
Pa Allen: "Comin' from you preacher that's mighty fine praise."
("Floyd Allen", Conrad Janis; "Preacher Haggler", Winfield Hoeny; "Pa Allen", Sherod Collins; "Ma Allen", Maidel Turner )

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C6/1 “Dark of the Moon” Playbills
» National Theatre, Washington, DC, for the two weeks beginning Monday, Feb 5, 1945
» Forty-Sixth Street Theatre, New York City, for the week beginning Wednesday, Mar 14, 1945
C6/2 Sherod Collins Photographs - Photos by David Robbins, Picture Features, Inc.
[See Collins’ Apr 5, 1945 letter in C6/5]
» Director Robert Perry, Sherod Collins, Stage Manager Ross Hertz
» Co-author Howard Richardson, Sherod Collins
» Actress Carol Stone, Sherod Collins
C6/3 Scenes from “Dark of the Moon” - Photos by Graphic House, New York City  
[“Private Copy / Not to be used for publication or advertising purposes without prior permission”; see Collins’ Mar 20, 1945 letter in C6/5]
» Preacher Haggler shares a drink of Allen’s corn liquor
(Winfield Hoeny, Conrad Janis, Sherod Collins, Maidel Turner)
» John, the witch boy, asks Barbara to dance
(John Gifford, Sherod Collins, Carol Stone, Maidel Turner, Richard Hart, Roy Fant)
»  John lifts the apple barrel by magic after Marvin has lifted it by hand
(Winfield Hoeny, Charles Thompson, Carol Stone, Robert Pryor, John Gifford, Richard Hart, Roy Fant, Frances Goforth John Gerstad, Allan Tower, James Lanphier)
» John proposes to Barbara
(Carol Stone, Richard Hart, Sherod Collins, Maidel Turner)
» Church members persuade Barbara that it is the will of God that she forsake John
(Kathryn Cameron, Sherod Collins, Gar Moore, John Gerstad, Carol Stone, John Gifford, Winfield Hoeny, Maidel Turner, James Lanphier, Lil Liandre, Robert Pryor)
» Barbara dies and John is turned back into a witch
(Carol Stone, Richard Hart)
» John returns to the mountain to ask for more time as a human
(Richard Hart, Iris Whitney, Ross Matthew, Georgia Simmons, Marjorie Bell)
C6/4 Scenes from “Dark of the Moon” - Photos by Ehrenberg-Picture Features, New York 
» Preacher Haggler shares a drink of Allen’s corn liquor (2)
(Conrad Janis, Winfield Hoeny, Sherod Collins, Maidel Turner)
» Pa Allen returns from trying to get someone to marry Barbara so as to avoid scandal
(Sherod Collins, Maidel Turner)
» Barbara sings her song about the witch boy as he enters
(Sherod Collins, Norman Thompson, Maidel Turner, Carol Stone, Roy Fant, Marguerite de Anguera, Conrad Janis, Allan Tower, Robert Pryor, Agnes Scott Yost, Richard Hart)
» Preacher Haggler prays for the soul of Barbara who has been bewitched by John
(Agnes Scott Yost, Kathryn Cameron, Winfield Hoeny, Carol Stone, Maidel Turner, Sherod Collins)
» Preacher Haggler prays for the soul of Barbara who has been bewitched by John
(Agnes Scott Yost, Kathryn Cameron, Winfield Hoeny, Carol Stone, Maidel Turner, Sherod Collins, Richard Hart)
 C6/5 Correspondence (Jan [27] – May 1, 1945), Reviews & Press Releases
» Letters (10) to Cornwell from Collins while in Boston, Washington and New York discussing the play, his other activities, NMSTC Speech Department concerns and transmitting photos (see notes in C6/2&3), ads & reviews from: Philadelphia Record, Jan 26; Philadelphia Inquirer, Jan 14 & 26; Washington Post, Feb 6; Washington Daily News, Feb 6; Boston Traveler, Feb 21; Boston Daily Globe, Feb 21; Boston Daily Record, Feb 22;Boston Sunday Post, Feb 25 
» Press release (carbon copy) issued by University of Missouri Alumni Association of New England re luncheon honoring Sherod Collins to be held at Hotel Touraine, [Boston], Mar 8
» Draft of press release re Collins’ background and involvement in “Dark of the Moon”
» Review of “Dark of the Moon”, Newsweek, Mar 26, 1945
» Article re Collins’ return to NMSTC from New York, Kirksville Daily Express, May 16, 1945
  [Note: All newspaper clippings were yellowed, brittle and deteriorating; they have been discarded and replaced with acid neutral photocopies]
C6/6 Addendum: Documents from President Ryle’s File for Collins (Photocopies)
» Articles re Collins' appearance in "Dark of the Moon", Kirksville Daily Express, Dec 10, 1944, Feb 6, 1945, Feb 10, 1946
» Letters (5) to Ryle from Collins while in New York, Philadelphia & Boston (Dec 31, 1944-Apr 26, 1945) sharing his experiences, requesting extension of his leave to June 1, and transmitting reviews from the Mar 16 New York Daily News and Daily Mirror
» Ryle's responses (4) to Collins (Jan 3-Mar 29, 1945) granting the extension and relating news of campus activities
» Letter to Ryle from Ross Matthew, New York City, May 11, 1945, extolling Collins' talent and professionalism; Ryle's June 22 response [Matthew, a professional actor, was in the  "Dark of the Moon" cast with Collins]
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The play and Collins’ autobiography, both of which contain several of the photos in this collection, are available in Pickler Memorial Library:
  Richardson, Howard and William Berney. Dark of the Moon.  The Drama Library. New York: Theatre Arts,
          Books, 1974. (PS3535 I3264 D3 1966)
Collins, Sherod J. Breaking New Ground: Autobiography. Kirksville: Simpson Publishing Company, 1969. 
          (CT275 C64 A3)

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