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Herb Gardner ’58 Papers Donated

Manuscripts, artwork and ephemera documenting the prolific career of author, artist and playwright Herb Gardner ’58 were given to Antiochiana, the Department of Archives and Special Collections for Antioch University, by his widow, Barbara C. Sproul, in June 2004. Mr. Gardner died in September 2003. Included in the donation are books, films, and music recordings Mr. Gardner employed in his writing as well as the furnishings of his Manhattan office. Antiochiana will recreate that office to honor Mr. Gardner’s accomplishments and to house his papers for the purpose of scholarly use.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1934, Herbert B. Gardner entered Antioch College in 1953 as a transfer student from Carnegie Institute of Technology (Carnegie Mellon University since 1967), and majored in creative writing. Mr. Gardner’s output as an undergraduate gave some indication of what was to come. A cartoonist for the Antioch Record, he also appeared several times in “The Antioch Magazine.” Even his cooperative education jobs bespoke his talents, including one making advertising figurines for a New York City brewing company and another drawing animated cartoons for children’s television. The latter position inspired “The Man Who Thought He Was Winston Churchill,” Mr. Gardner’s contribution to New Campus Writing, edited by Antioch literature professors Nolan Miller and Judson Jerome, and his first published short story. Though he never completed his degree, Mr. Gardner maintained a lifelong relationship with his alma mater and received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Antioch in 1988.

Mr. Gardner began his artistic career as a sculptor of nativity scenes for the Bliss Display Company in l953, but found greater success two years later when he was nineteen as a cartoonist of “The Nebbishes,” a strip syndicated in more than 40 papers including the Chi cago Tribune, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun, and The London Observer.

“A Thousand Clowns” (1962) was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play and Mr. Gardner won the Variety Critics Poll as Outstanding New Playwright that year. The “Goodbye People” (1968), “Thieves” (1974), “I’m Not Rappaport” (l985), and “Conversations with My Father” (1991) followed. “I’m Not Rappaport” won the Outer Critics’ Award, the John Gassner Award and the Tony Award for Best Play. “Conversations with My Father” was the runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in l992. Mr. Gardner’s work has been performed by such actors as Jason Robards, Sandy Dennis, Tom Selleck, Yves Montand, Barbara Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Dom DeLuise, Charles Grodin, Marlo Thomas, Milton Berle, Sam Levine, F. Murray Abraham, Judd Hirsch, Cleavon Little, Paul Scofield, Walter Matthau and Ossie Davis.

Mr. Gardner’s plays have appeared throughout this country as well in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Israel, Japan, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Yugoslavia and Zaire. They have been collected in Best American Plays of 1961-1962, 1985-1986, and 1991-1992. The French production of “A Thousand Clowns” won the Moliere Award for Best Foreign Play in 1966 as did “I’m Not Rappaport” in 1987.

Mr. Gardner’s one-act plays include “How I Crossed the Street for the First Time All By Myself,” “The Forever Game,” and “I’m With Ya, Duke,” which was collected in the Best American Short Plays of 96-97.

Mr. Gardner also wrote the screenplays for “Who is Harry Kellerman?” (1971) and “Thieves” (1976). For his film adaptation of “A Thousand Clowns” (1965), Mr. Gardner won Best Screenplay Award from the Screenwriters Guild and received Academy Award nominations for Best Screenplay and Best Picture of the Year. He also adapted and directed “The Goodbye People” (1983) and “I’m Not Rappaport” (1996) for the screen.

Professor Barbara Sproul is Chair of the Program in Religion at Hunter College in New York City. She applied to and was accepted to Antioch College in the early 1960s, but attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. She is a longtime officer of the Riverside Group of Amnesty International, has served on the AI National Board of Directors, and has represented AIUSA at the international level.

Students Reunite

Former Antioch students reunited at the Pacific Northwest Labor History Conference in Eugene, Oregon. The group consisted of Harry Stein ’59 (historian), Marcus Widenor ’74 (labor educator), Betsy Jameson ’70 (historian), Norm Diamond ’79 (faculty), Andrew Barnes ’94 (union organizer) with daughter Iliana Barnes-Diaz.

The group would love to hear from other Antiochians whose careers have led them to labor activism and scholarship. Contact Marcus Widenor: . Tell them how you have been active in the labor movement, how your experience at Antioch shaped your decision to work in the labor movement, and/or how other Antiochians you know of have followed a similar path.

Antioch Recipient of Getty Grant

Antioch College is a recipient of a 2004 grant from the Getty Grant Foundation. This $150,000 grant will help the College develop a comprehensive preservation plan for the campus that will focus on both the College’s historic buildings and natural landscape.

The Campus Heritage Grants awarded by the Getty Foundation help colleges and universities in the United States to manage and preserve the integrity of their significant historic buildings, sites, and landscapes. With the support of The Getty Fund, Antioch College will develop a comprehensive preservation plan for the campus. Antioch will survey the conditions and critical needs of campus buildings and cultural and natural landscape and prepare extensive conservation analyses. Through this work, the College will be given the tools needed to make informed decisions about the prioritization of the rehabilitation and renovation of key buildings and landscapes.

page last updated: August 3, 2004