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Robert S. Telford Personal Papers (SC-05)

 Item — Box: SC-05 Box 1
Identifier: SC-05

Scope and Contents

This collection’s inclusive dates are 1959-2008. It is comprised of newspaper clippings, letters (mainly from Mallory Freeman, fellow Virginia Museum Theater actor), event invitations and programs, and an audiotape.


  • 1959-2008, undated


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is subject to all copyright laws. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by copyright, beyond that allowed by fair use, requires the researcher to obtain permission of copyright holders.

Biographical Note

As the director of the Virginia Museum Theater from 1958-1966, Robert S. Telford dramatically grew subscriptions to the theater, stabilized management and formed a strong volunteer corps. He also introduced the VMT’s first musical production, "Kiss Me Kate." He is probably best known for his casting of African-American actors at a time when it was illegal in Virginia to have black and white actors together on the same stage. In 1966, he cast two black actors in the theater’s production of "You Can’t Take It With You," marking a major milestone in Virginia theater history. After his departure, Telford went on to direct theaters in Texas and Oklahoma, finally landing in California, where he had a successful television acting career in the 1980s and published several books.

Source: of "The Dark Side of Ambition"


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box, 4 folders; 60 items)

Language of Materials



The collection documents the life and career of Robert (Bob) S. Telford from 1959-2008. Telford, director of the Virginia Museum Theatre from 1955-1966, helped to strengthen the program and is known for casting African American actors in productions with white actors at a time when interracial casting was illegal in Virginia.


The collection is organized into one series, and items are generally organized chronologically within each folder.

Series 1
Personal Papers, 1959-2008, undated

Custodial History

The collection was donated by Robert S. Telford.

Processing Information

In general, during processing, all publications are removed and added to the VMFA Library’s holdings and original newspaper clippings are photocopied, with identifiers transferred, and then destroyed. Original folder titles are retained, when provided.

Finding Aids to the Special Collections in the VMFA Archives | Robert S. Telford Personal Papers
Special Collection 05 (SC-05)
Erica Borey, Records Manager, and Kevin Williams, Archival Intern; Finding aid encoded by Sylvio Lynch III, Archives Intern (2020)
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Archives Repository

Margaret R. and Robert M. Freeman Library
200 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard
Richmond VA 23220-4007 United States