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Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tech Show records

 Collection
Identifier: AC-0299

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the records of a student group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that produced musical or revue shows, known as the Tech Show, between the years 1899 and 1969. It includes a nearly complete set of show programs from 1899 to 1969. A program for the 1900 show titled "The Medicine Man" is missing. The collection includes published vocal scores for selected years and show scripts. There are manuscript orchestral scores from 1948 to 1957, and 1966 to 1968. Show posters are dated from the period 1958 forward. The show was entirely composed, written, created, and produced by students at MIT.

Also included in the collection are administrative records of the Advisory Council on the Tech Show from the period 1926 to 1938. The program of the first show in 1899 includes an article titled "Athletics at the Institute" and photographs of various Institute athletics teams, since the show was produced under the auspices of the Technology Athletic Association to benefit Institute athletic teams.

Audio recordings of show productions are held by the MIT Lewis Music Library.

Content Warning

Warning: This collection includes a show program which contains racist minstrel show imagery that may be disturbing to viewers. This item is located in Series I: Show Materials.

Dates

  • 1899 - 1969

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open.

Conditions Governing Use

Access to collections in the Department of Distinctive Collections is not authorization to publish. Please see the MIT Libraries Permissions Policy for permission information. Copyright of some items in this collection may be held by respective creators, not by the donor of the collection or MIT.

Historical Note

The Tech Show at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was a recurring student production, at first in the form of a vaudeville revue, later a musical comedy. The first performance was given May 12, 1899, under the auspices of the MIT Athletic Association to raise money to benefit Institute athletic teams. In 1901, the Tech Show presented the American premier of Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Grand Duke." Most show productions were original works by MIT students. Music, dance, and lyrics were composed, staged, and performed by students attending MIT. For many years William C. Greene of the English department served as coach and advisor to Tech Show students. Later, A. R. Gurney was the faculty advisor to the Tech Show. The show was presented in a number of venues in the earliest years such as the Hollis Theater in Boston and the Academy of Music in Northampton. Later because of financial reasons performances were held on campus. For many years, the show had an all-male cast with female roles played by men.

No show was produced in 1932 due to financial difficulties. There were shows again in 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936, but the show lost money each year, and the show's Advisory Council voted in May 1936 to suspend operations. The Tech Show was revived in 1947 and women, mostly from local Boston colleges, were cast as performers for the first time. The Tech Show was routinely produced until 1969, and then revived in 1979 into the 1990s. The Masque was an honorary society of Tech Show; membership was awarded for exceptional service to the show.

In 1971 the Tech Show Society merged with the MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and the Classical Music Society to form the MIT Musical Theater Guild. (Musical Theater Guild: :http://web.mit.edu/mtg/www/AboutMTG.html)

Tech Shows after 1969

1979
Loved and Lost or That Old Hack Magic/The God Option
1980
There's No Space Like Home
1981
I Scream Clone
1982
Big Show

Extent

13.5 Cubic Feet (10 record cartons, 6 legal manuscript boxes, 1 manuscript box,1 half mss box, 2 flat boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site. Advance notice is required for use.

Related Materials

Lewis Music Library, MIT Libraries: Tech Show audio recordings

Bibliography

  • "Tech Show," Technique 1915, p. 26.
  • "Tech Show," Technique 1905, p. 119.

Processing Information note

The MIT Tech Show records (AC-0299) were originally designated as MC-0169. During reprocessing occuring between 1994 and 1995, the collection was renumbered. Five folders of "Masque" records in box 7 of the collection were originally designated as a separate collection, the the Frederick A. Prahl, Jr., papers (MC-0360). Materials from the former MC-0360 were merged into the Records of the Tech Show of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(AC-0299) between 1994 and 1995.

Title
Guide to the Records of the Tech Show of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Status
Completed
Date
1980
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2021 September 8: Edited by Lana Mason to remove aggrandizing terms in the scope and content note description.

Repository Details

Part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Libraries. Department of Distinctive Collections Repository

Contact:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Libraries
Building 14N-118
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge MA 02139-4307 US