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William F. Talbot Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: JS and HG
Date: Feb 2008

Biographical History

William F. Talbot (1923-2007) was for 52 years Editor-in-Chief of Samuel French, Inc., a publishing company that provided published plays and musical plays to theatrical groups, from elementary schools to professional troupes. Over his career he read more than 100,000 plays, saw almost every play produced in New York for forty years, and launched dozens of new playwrights.

Talbot actively encouraged new writers and taught playwriting at the City College of New York, Hunter College, and for Double Image Theater. In addition, he created the Off Off Broadway One-Act Play Festival, the prize for which was publication of the winning play by Samuel French. Under his pen name William Francis he also wrote several plays; one, Portrait of a Queen, was produced on Broadway and London’s West End in 1968.

He was a member of the Outer Critics Circle, the Dramatists Guild, the American Theatre Critics Association, and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Talbot had degrees from the University of Notre Dame, and Columbia University. He and wife Marilyn Fagan had six children.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William F. Talbot Papers contains large amounts of correspondence and play reports, some printed material, and a few scripts. The material is unprocessed and the inventory below is a simple box list.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is unprocessed apart from reboxing and remains in original order.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Francis, William (Playwright)
Talbot, William F.

Corporate Bodies

Samuel French, Inc.
Samuel French & Son.


Drama -- United States -- 20th century.
Publishers and publishing -- History -- 20th century.
Publishers and publishing -- United States -- New York (State)
Theater -- United States.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William F. Talbot Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of William Talbot.

Table of Contents

Box listing