Kathy A. Perkins papers, circa 1921-2022

Emory University

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Collection Stored Off-Site

All or portions of this collection are housed off-site. Materials can still be requested but researchers should expect a delay of up to two business days for retrieval.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Perkins, Kathy A.
Title: Kathy A. Perkins papers, circa 1921-2022
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 1534
Extent: 14.75 linear feet (14 boxes) and 4 extra oversized papers folders (XOPs)
Abstract:Papers of African American playwright, educator, and dramaturg Kathy A. Perkins consisting of audiovisual material, books, lighting plots, playbills, and printed material from circa 1921-2022.
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Collection stored off-site. Researchers must contact the Rose Library in advance to access this collection.

Special restrictions apply: Use copies have not been made for audiovisual material in this collection. Researchers must contact the Rose Library at least two weeks in advance for access to these items. Collection restrictions, copyright limitations, or technical complications may hinder the Rose Library's ability to provide access to audiovisual material.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


Purchase from Kathy A. Perkins, 2022


[after identification of item(s)], Kathy A. Perkins papers, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Appraisal Note

Acquired by Curator of African American Collections, Clint Fluker, as part of the Rose Library's holdings in the history of African American arts and culture.


Arranged and described at the collection level by Brynn Radak and Anicka Austin, April 2023.

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Collection Description

Biographical Note

Kathy A. Perkins is a Professor Emerita in lighting design and an African and African Diaspora theater historian. She is the editor, author, and contributor of numerous volumes on the subject of theater and the role of African and African American women in the field. Perkins was born in Mobile, Alabama, in 1954. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drama at Howard University (Washington, D.C.) and her Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Lighting Design at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). She was a Professor of Theatre at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) (1989-2011) and Professor of Theatre in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (2012-2018).

Perkins has worked on theater productions all over the world and has been internationally recognized for her work in lighting design. Awards include the Henry Hewes Design Award for Trouble in Mind (2022), the Distinguished Achievement Award in Lighting Design and Technology (2021), and several best lighting design awards for shows throughout her career. In 2021, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from The University of Michigan (Ann Arbor).

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of audiovisual materials, books and periodicals, lighting plots, Playbills and other printed material related to Kathy A. Perkins’ life and work from circa 1921-2022. Playbills make up the bulk of the collection and include theater performances from New York, California, North Carolina, Chicago, and Illinois. Pamphlets, mailings, newspaper clippings, and flyers accompany some Playbills. Similarly extensive is Perkins' collection of audio cassette and microcassette tapes of interviews she conducted with performing artists, such as Katherine Dunham, May Miller, and Lois M. Jones. The collection also includes Perkins’ lighting plots and designs from shows such as The Glorious Monster (1979); East Texas Hot Links (1995); Hang on in There, Nelson (1996); Blues for an Alabama Sky (1998); and A Raisin in the Sun (2000). There are also several Black theatre periodicals such as Black Masks (circa 1984-2018) and Overture (circa 1974-1984), as well as theater reference books, books edited by Perkins, and plays.

Arrangement Note

Arranged by record type in the order the collection was received.

Selected Search Terms

Topical Terms

Form/Genre Terms

Container List

Box Folder Content
1 Books edited by Perkins, circa 1989-2022
2 Periodicals, circa 1974-2018
3 Playbills, #s-Ch, circa 1950-1998
4 Playbills, Ru-Z, circa 2000-2019
5 Playbills, #s-Fl, circa 2000-2020
6 Playbills, Fl-Za, circa 1921-1999
7 Playbills, Ch-Ho, circa 1926-1999
9 Playbills, Pa-T, circa 1939-1993
10 Playbills, Fr-Ru, circa 2000-2019
8 Theater books and plays, circa 1939-1993
XOP1 Lighting plots, circa 1980s-2000s
XOP2 Lighting plots, circa 1979-2000
XOP3 Posters, circa 1996-2006
XOP4 Graduate school lighting projects, circa 1980-1999
AV1 Audiovisual materials, circa 1988-2014 [1 of 2]
AV2 Audiovisual materials, circa 1988-2014 [2 of 2]
AV3 Audiovisual materials, circa 1977-2010
AV4 Audiovisual materials, circa 1981-2009