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George Corrin, Jr. Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 2007-0001

Scope and Contents

The collection is arranged in six series and primarily comprised of visual materials documenting Corrin's work. Some additional biographical material is also included.

The six series are: General (.2 linear feet), Samples (.5 l. ft.), Scrapbooks (1 l. ft), Sets and Other Designs (.4 l. ft.), Videos (.5 l. ft), and Slides (.3 l. ft.).

Dates

  • 1942-2002

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright has been transferred to Carnegie Mellon University. Standard copyright rules apply.

Biography

George C. Corrin Jr.(1922-2015) graduated from East Orange High School in East Orange, New Jersey in 1940. In his junior and senior years at East Orange, Corrin developed stage designs for school plays, work for which he had a natural talent. Upon his graduation, Corrin secured an internship at the Studio Playhouse of Upper Montclair, New Jersey, working under head scene designer Franklin C. Wells. In 1942, Corrin applied to Drama Department of the College of Fine Arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. In reply, he received a letter from Henry Boettcher, Head of the Department of Drama, suggesting that “Negro students” did not fit well within the program as it was designed, stating specifically that all drama students were expected to take their turn on stage and that there were not enough parts written in plays that were appropriate for black students. Undeterred, Corrin thanked Boettcher for his concern and arranged a letter writing campaign in which his teachers, employers and mentors petitioned for his acceptance to the program. These letters, combined with Corrin’s grades and talents, won him admission. Corrin started his freshman year in 1942 but was drafted into the army, serving three years in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon discharge he entered Carnegie Tech to major in Stage Production. In 1947, Corrin wrote an essay for the student publication Cano entitled, “On The Nature of Art.” The views he put forth in this brief essay led to discussions among fellow students in the College of Fine Arts and culminated in the first ever “Arts Night” on May 23, 1948. Several arts students formed a committee to plan the event and selected Corrin as their committee chairman. At the time of his graduation in 1949, Corrin was one of nine African American students at CIT.

Upon graduation, Corrin was scheduled to work at Woodstock as an assistant to Alber Heschong. Heschong, however, was hired to be a television producer and recommended that Corrin take his place at Woodstock as Chief Set Designer. At the end of the Woodstock Summer season, Corrin entered the Yale School of Drama where he received an M.F.A. in Drama in 1951. By the time he was 34, Corrin was a scenic designer in the production department of the American Broadcasting Company where he designed the set used for both the Nixon/Kennedy debates and ABC’s coverage of the 1966 National Elections.

After working for thirteen years at ABC, Corrin spent ten years at Teletape Productions, where he continued his work in scene design as well as office design and management of an art department. By 1977, Corrin was working as an independent scene designer and was hired by the likes of Pepsi, AT&T, IBE and Union Carbide. In 1995, Corrin’s work was featured as part of the exhibition, Onstage; A Century of African American Stage Design, at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

Corrin passed away in 2015 at the age of 92.

Extent

3 Linear feet (3 boxes, 3 oversize boxes, and 1 drawer)

Language

English

Overview

This collection contains the papers of George Corrin (A '49), an African-American set and television designer. His work included designs for the Kennedy-Nixon debates and several news productions.

The collection is primarily comprised of set designs and photographs of his work.
Title
George Corrin, Jr. Papers, 1945-2002
Subtitle
2007_0001
Status
Completed
Author
Julia Corrin
Date
August 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

Contact:
4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021