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Huntly Carter Papers

Identifier: MSE/MN 5000

Scope and Contents

The greater part of the Carter collection, some 1,400 items, consists of correspondence and research materials retained by Carter during his years as an art critic and scholar of avant-garde theater. These materials range in date from 1906 to 1938. There are also a number of materials obtained from Soviet theaters and or scholars by Carter, such as questionnaires regarding Soviet approaches to theater or lists of productions performed at various institutions. Other, less extensive series in the collection include: photographs, mostly snapshots taken by Carter in Russia during the 1920s or promotional stills for various theatrical productions (some 210 items, including 1 scrapbook of snapshots taken by Carter in Russia from 1920 to 1921) and fine-arts ephemera related to theatrical productions and or visual arts in Europe following World War I (some 130 items). These latter include broadsides and other large advertisements for theaters in Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Leipzig, and Munich during the 1920s and 1930s.


  • Creation: 1918-circa 1938
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1925-1938


Language of Materials


Language of Materials

Collection material in English, Russian, German, Dutch, Polish, and French

Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Biographical / Historical

Huntly Carter was a British journalist and critic of the performing and visual arts. While little is known about Carter's personal life, records indicate that he was born in England sometime in 1862 and died in 1942. Although Carter received training in the medical field, he worked predominantly as a journalist and theater critic. He served as international editor and reviewer for the modernist periodical The New Age from the journal's inception in 1909 and he edited a number of volumes on various social issues in England after World War I. As a critic and a scholar, his interests shifted with time. In the years leading up to World War I he focused on the visual arts and then directed his attention to the performing arts in the years after the war. From 1914 onwards he traveled extensively in Europe, collecting research materials for his studies on the development of avant-garde theater and cinema in interwar Europe. His correspondence indicates that these research trips continued throughout the next two decades, with at least four trips taking him to the Soviet Union. He wrote at least 7 scholarly works on avant-garde art movements, including The New Spirit in the Cinema, The New Spirit in the European Theatre, 1914-1924, The New Spirit in the Russian Theatre, 1917-28, and The Theatre of Max Reinhardt. His scholarship features a pan-European focus, with a particular emphasis on arts movements in Germany and Russia, although his command of the German and Russian languages remains unclear. Several of these volumes were republished in the 1960s and 1970s, with at least one reprint emerging in 2010. Beyond these monographs, he also published articles in Soviet periodicals, including Izvestia, Vecherniaia Moskva, and Zhizn' iskusstva. Politically, Carter leaned to the left. He actively participated in the 1917 Club in London, along with other well-known British socialists such as Aldous Huxley. He regularly participated in cultural exchange programs between the Soviet Union and Great Britain. Additionally, he edited a series of volumes on political and social reform in England. The details of Carter's death are sketchy. A New York Times article from 1942 indicates that London authorities found his body in a vacant building. They determined that he died from a ''fall''. However, without a more detailed obituary, his death remains largely in the dark.


18 Cubic Feet


The personal papers and research materials of the English theater and art critic Huntly Carter (1862-1942). The greater part of the collection consists of correspondence, printed ephemera, and photographs, many collected by Carter in interwar Germany and Russia as part of his research on the fine arts.


The collection is arranged into four series, as follows: 1) Correspondence; 2) Research Materials; 3) Photographs; 4) Theater and Film Ephemera.

Huntly Carter Papers
Nathan Gerth
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Notre Dame Rare Books & Special Collections Repository

102 Hesburgh Library
Notre Dame IN 46556