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Musselman Library
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Gettysburg College Box 420
Gettysburg, PA 17325

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MS - 037: The Papers of Richard A. Arms

(10 boxes, 2.7 cubic feet)

Inclusive Dates: 1846-1985

Processed by: Jennifer Chesney
August 2002

Link to Full Finding Aid 

Provenance: Musselman Library received the Richard A. Arms Collection from the estate of Anthony Arms.

Biography: Richard A. Arms arrived at Gettysburg College in 1920 at the age of 27, as head of the Mathematics Department. Having received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. Arms spent the next 43 years imparting his knowledge of both Mathematics and his love of theatre arts to the student body on campus.

Arms' love of the theatre was noted early and encouraged on the college campus. In 1921 he was invited to serve as the director of dramatics. In 1924, he reorganized the Owl and Nightingale Players, leading them to take first place at the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Drama Contest in 1925. In 1935, upon the recommendation of President Hanson, he was listed officially as Director of Dramatics-a position he held until his retirement in 1963. While at Gettysburg he produced over 200 plays and taught courses in Theatre Appreciation and Play Production that boasted enrollments of 90 students.

In addition to his contributions in the Theatre Arts, Arms was a member of the American Mathematical Society as well as the Mathematical Association of America. He served on the Athletic Council and coordinated the ROTC preflight school. The 1924 yearbook was dedicated to him, and the Green Room of Brua Hall was named in his memory. In 1964, Richard Arms suffered a heart attack and died in New York City.

Series Description: The collection is divided into three series: Series I: Published plays; Series II: Playbills and Souvenir Books; and Series III: Promptbooks from plays produced by Richard Arms' nephew Anthony.

Scope and Content: This collection represents an interesting variety of research materials in the area of theatre arts. The majority of the plays in Series I date to the mid-nineteenth century and include details from professional productions of the time. Series II contains playbills from numerous Broadway shows, many from the original productions, as well as souvenir books from famous turn-of-the-century actors. Series III consists of the promptbooks of shows produced in the 1970's by the Players Repertory Theatre of Harrisburg, PA, of which Anthony Arms, a nephew of Richard Arms, was a member.

Link to Full Finding Aid