Documenting the international history of theatre for youth and theatre education, the Child Drama Collection is the world’s largest such archival repository, containing more than 9,000 books and dating back to the 16th century. The collection, an invaluable resource for scholars into the field’s methodology and pedagogy, includes materials providing theoretical and practical documentation on theatre education from preschool to high school, arts curriculum and training, standards and assessment, management and practices, artistry and plays for young audiences.

Collections of note

Black and white drawing of a medieval throne room with the royal family seated on a raised platform and a witch in a black robe addressing them from the floor. There are also three small fairies with wings behind the witch figure. The picture is from Julia Corner’s playscript for The Sleeping Beauty published circa 1861.

Jonathan Levy Papers

Books and manuscripts documenting the early history of theatre for youth, the status of children in society, and the cultural taste and sensibility of child education. 

Color photograph of costume/makeup designer Irene Corey adjusting the headpiece on the costumed fox that appeared in the Everyman Players production of Reynard the Fox.

Irene Corey Collection

Original renderings, sketches, correspondence, notes and photographs underscore Irene Corey’s pioneering work in theatrical costume, set and makeup design. 

Black and white photograph of a Childsplay teacher and a small girl crouching on the floor in the middle of a creative drama class.

Childsplay Records

The organizational records of Childsplay, a nonprofit professional theatre company for young audiences founded in 1977 in Tempe, Arizona.

A color painting of an elevated Yellow Boat going into the sun, painted by Benjamin Saar, circa age seven.

The David, Sonja, and Benjamin Saar Yellow Boat Collection

Features production materials and the original 54 Benjamin Saar paintings used to inspire the writing of “The Yellow Boat,” an award-winning play about the first child to contract AIDS in Arizona in the 1980s. 

A color photograph of Lowell and Nancy Swortzell and their dachshund dogs Lotte and Lenya, sitting in front of the Peter Rabbit and Me by Aurand Harris set for the New York University Educational Theatre production.

Lowell and Nancy Swortzell Theatre Arts Collection

The personal and professional papers of these two founders of the Educational Theatre Program at New York University in 1966.

Work we're passionate about

Costumes, scripts, designs and ephemera

Arizona State University’s Child Drama Collection attracts scholars, playwrights, performers and students from around the globe. Here, Katherine Krzys, former curator of the collection, walks us through the world’s largest repository of materials related to children’s theatre.


Access the collection

To view materials in this collection, please make an appointment at least five business days prior to your visit by contacting Ask an Archivist or calling (480) 965-4932.

Appointments in the Wurzburger Reading Room at Hayden Library (rm. 138) on the Tempe campus are available Monday through Friday. Check the ASU Library Hours page for current availability.