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Faculty Records (University Of Maine). Professor Colbath (James Arnold) Papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA RG 0011-045

Content Description

The records mainly contain textual and photographic information created and curated by James Arnold Colbath during his career in theatre. Also, includes audio recordings of some theatre performances that Colbath was involved in directing and set and costume designs.

The record series Theatre Performance and Education Records contains various scripts, playbills, set designs, programs, posters, fliers, clippings, photographs, and some recordings of plays and musicals that Colbath acted, directed, and produced. The majority of this material is from Colbath’s time with the University of Maine’s Maine Masque Theatre, including as director. But also includes material from work at Catawba College, Malone Summer Playhouse, Reinhardt College, University of North Carolina, Case Western Reserve University, Elmira College, University of Minnesota, University of Delaware, and off-Broadway in New York City. The series also includes details of a Catawba College Blue Masque tour of England and Monte Carlo, correspondence with colleagues in theatre, course material for classes Colbath taught as a professor of theatre, and administrative material regarding the University of Maine’s School of Performing Arts and Maine Masque Theatre.

The record series Jacques Copeau Biography Records includes various draft manuscripts of an unpublished biography Colbath wrote on the French actor and director Jacques Copeau. Also, includes articles Copeau wrote on Colbath, notes, and research material on the subject of Copeau.

The record series Biographic Information includes biographical profiles of Colbath, information on his military service during World War, his military uniform, a regiment photograph, a photograph of and letter to Colbath’s wife Mary Lou, and a photograph of Colbath’s son Sean.


  • Creation: 1907-1994
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1955-1986


Conditions Governing Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on literary rights available in the repository.

Biographical / Historical

James Arnold Colbath earned a B.S. in 1948 from the University of Maine, a M.A. (1950), M.F.A. (1951), and Ph.D. (1962) from Case Western Reserve University. Colbath's Ph.D. was on Japanese Noh drama. Colbath also served as a student assistant in the Theatre Branch at the Shrivenham University in England under Herschell L. Bricker who as well being as the Branch Head was also the director of the Maine Masque Theatre.

Colbath taught at a number of academic institutions from 1951-1968 before coming back to the University of Maine in 1968 as an Associate Professor of Theatre. While at the University of Maine Colbath was also the Area Coordinator of the Theatre Division in the School of Performing Arts and Director of the Maine Masque Theatre (1970-1978). Colbath also served on a number of University of Maine committees including the Council of Colleges (1970-1973) and Graduate Board (1970-1972). Colbath conducted research into the French director Jacques Copeau, including writing an unpublished biography. In 1977, Colbath was named a Fellow to the National Endowment for the Humanities "Symposium on Shakespeare in Performance.

Early in Colbath's career he acted in a number of plays, but he would go on to focus more on script writing, producing and directing plays and musicals. Including producing: "Huck Finn", "The Crow In The Heart", "All Flesh Is Grass", "The Blue Moon in the Yellow Lake", "Der Augenblick, or Poor Fish", "Something About Oyster", "Dancing On The Water", and "The Women In The Sixth Row".

Colbath directed plays at the University of Maine, Catawba College, Malone Summer Playhouse, Reinhardt College, University of North Carolina, Case Western Reserve University, Elmira College, University of Minnesota, University of Delaware, and off-Broadway in New York City.

Colbath died in 1986.


10 boxes

1 box (Half size box)

1 folio folder

1 item

1 box

Language of Materials



The Records Group is broken down intellectually into the following record series: 1. Theatre Performance & Education Records, 2. Jacques Copeau Biography Records Records, and 3. Biographical Information. Physically the material is arranged by subject. File names and dates were added. Material was rehoused into archival quality storage.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were donated to Special Collection by James Arnold Colbath's son Sean Colbath on September 4, 2013 and is Accession #2013-0904.

The World War Two uniform was gifted to Special Collections by James Arnold Colbath's son Sean Colbath on August 18, 2020 and is Accession #2020-0910.


Records considered to not be of archival value were disposed of by the processing archivist, including: programs from plays James Arnold Colbath attended but was not involved with, student academic information, student assessments, and duplicate copies of items.

Separated Materials

The papers of James Arnold Colbath's wife Mary Lou Colbath are stored separately, as they do not relate to the University of Maine.

Special Collections also holds a painting "Tide Pool, Schoodic Point" by Vincent Hartgen, 1989 which was donated by the Mary Lou Colbath family.

Processing Information

Processed by Matthew Revitt, March 2020 and August-September 2020, Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Department. Processing involved a collection survey and intellectual arrangement into series and the creation of this finding aid. Material was rehoused into appropriate archival folders and the boxes and folders numbered and titled using information from ArchivesSpace.



University Of Maine. Professor Colbath (James Arnold) Papers
Matthew Revitt
September 10, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library University Archives Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States