Paul L. Soper Papers
This collection houses correspondence, class materials, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and photographs documenting Paul L. Soper's career at Western State College and at the University of Tennessee. The correspondence includes both personal and professional letters and houses several communications between Soper and Presidents Andy Holt and C. E. Brehm concerning the theatre program. The class materials are composed of class and lecture notes from Soper's classes and student record books dating from 1946 through 1986. Among Soper's writings are offprints of journal articles, a copy of Soper's thesis, and copies of his two plays, It Happened to Nice People and Once Upon A Town. Most of the newspaper clippings deal with the University of Tennessee theatre program (including the opening of the Clarence Brown Theater, where Soper was accompanied by actress Jane Wyman). The photographs show Soper's time at Western State College and at UT.
Conditions Governing Access
Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.
3 Linear Feet
This collection houses correspondence, class materials, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, and photographs documenting Paul L. Soper's career at Western State College and at the University of Tennessee.
Paul Leon Soper was born in Benidji, Minnesota on February 6, 1906. He graduated from Yakima High School in Washington in 1923 and went on to complete his AB (1930) and AM (1932) at Washington University. He later completed his PhD (1941) at Cornell University. Soper began his professional career at Western State College in Colorado, where he worked until coming to the University of Tennessee as an Instructor of English and Director of Forensics in 1936. He was very active in theatre on the UT campus, directing plays from 1939 to 1972 and founding the Carousel Theater as a self-supporting University-community theatre program in 1951. Soper became the first head of the Department of Speech and Theatre in 1968 and held this post until his retirement in 1972. He was also active in a number of professional organizations including the Tennessee Speech Association (where he served as President from 1940 to 1944) and the Southern Speech Association (where he served as President from 1943 to 1944). He also wrote a textbook entitled Basic Public Speaking that has been used worldwide. Paul Soper died in Knoxville on March 10, 1997.
This collection consists of three boxes.
Gordon Soper donated this collection to the University of Tennessee Archives in 1997.