Loyola University Maryland Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society records
Scope and Contents
The Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society records, dated 1865 – 1981, consist of annual reports, correspondence, costume design drawings, meeting notes, newspaper articles and clippings, playscripts, programs, research and historical notes, and a scrapbook. The 1901 production of “King Robert of Sicily” and the 1940 production of “Cenodoxus” are the best documented productions in this collection.
This collection contains an original copy and a photocopy of the playscript “King Robert of Sicily” for the 1901 production. Additionally, the collection includes correspondence and research notes most likely collected by former Loyola College archivist Nicholas Varga regarding the history of the play “King Robert of Sicily,” including a copy of Longfellow’s poem of the same name and a copy of Eugene McCarthy’s playscript “Robert of Sicily."
This collection also contains a 1981 student paper titled "Jesuit Contributions to Baltimore Theatre: Drama at Loyola College, 1865-1899".
- Creation: 1865 - 1981
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is located at the Loyola Notre Dame Library. Contact Archives and Special Collections for more information.
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Loyola University Maryland The Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society records are the physical property of the Archives and Special Collections, Loyola/Notre Dame Library. Copyright, except in cases where material has passed into the public domain, belongs to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.
Biographical / Historical
In April 1865, students petitioned Loyola President Ciampi for the establishment of a dramatics club; Fr. Ciampi, according to Nicholas Varga’s history of Loyola, “readily agreed.” The new Dramatic Club, as its first venture, presented a play called “The Hidden Gem” and a scene from “The Merchant of Venice at Loyola’s July 5, 1865, commencement. Over the following years the club continued to operate as a student-run organization with a faculty moderator. In the 1920s, however, student interest in dramatics evidently waned; the 1929-39 catalog notes that “the Association has not been functioning in the last two years. It is to be reorganized in 1930-1931.” In the end, however, the reorganization did not occur until 1936-37; the 1937 Green & Grey yearbook announced that “a most significant step in the history of drama at Loyola took place this year, when the College’s dramatic activities were formally organized under the control of the ‘Masque and Rapier Players,’ an association of Loyola thespians.”
In the 1958-59 academic year, the Masque and Rapier Dramatic Society changed its name to the Evergreen Players and wrote a new constitution. The October 3, 1958 Greyhound reported that “among the innovations will be an associate membership for the girls who participate in the productions. The name Masque and Rapier will be retained as an honorary organization of members who have done outstanding work in Loyola dramatics.” The name change was evidently the source of some confusion as the 1960 Evergreen yearbook, under the heading “Mask and Rapier,” refers in the text to the Evergreen Players as well as to the Mask and Rapier Society. Under new director John Synodinos, the name appears in the September 23, 1960 Greyhound as the Masque and Rapier Society with no explanation of how or why the name changed back. The Greyhound further confused the issue later that school year by referring to the group both as the Evergreen Players in the February 24, 1961 issue and the Masque and Rapier Dramatic Society in the March 21, 1961 issue.
Over the years, the dramatic society or club was referred to by many names, including Loyola Dramatic Club, Loyola College Dramatic(s) Association, Mask and Rapier Players, Loyola College (The) Dramatic(s) Society, the Evergreen Players, and Masque & Rapier (Dramatic) Society.
A document from about 1956, “Co-Curricular Activities at Loyola College,” lists the the four main functions of “The Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society”: “(1) Fall dramatic production, (2) ‘Loyola Night,’ a variety show and dance traditionally held on the eve of the Thanksgiving holidays, (3) Maryland Province One-Act Play Festival, and (4) Spring production.”
Notable productions of the dramatic club or society included the 1901 production of “King Robert of Sicily” and the 1940 production of “Cenodoxus,” which marked the quadricentennial of the Society of Jesus. The production of “Cenodoxus” was presented by Loyola College’s dramatic society, but did not appear to cast students from the college. Loyola’s presentation of “Cenodoxus” was the first time this play was performed in English.
In 1971, after the merger with Mount Saint Agnes College brought women undergraduate students to Loyola, a new and more professionalized dramatics program, Theatre Loyola, superseded the Masque and Rapier Players (as it was known in its final years).
.90 Cubic Feet (1 legal document box, 1 oversize box)
Language of Materials
The Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society records document Loyola College’s dramatic club history from 1865 to 1981. The society or club was referred to by a variety of names throughout its existence. This collection consists of annual reports, correspondence, costume design drawings, meeting notes, newspaper articles and clippings, playscripts, programs, research and historical notes, and a scrapbook.
This collection is arranged chronologically by year, with the exception of the copies of Longfellow’s poem “King Robert of Sicily” and Eugene McCarthy’s playscript “Robert of Sicily,” both of which are arranged with the materials of the 1901 production of "King Robert of Sicily."
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Materials in this collection were transferred to the Archives by various university offices and individuals affiliated with the university.
The scrapbook, the program for the 1909 production of “The New College Boy,” and the original copy of the playscript “King Robert of Sicily” are fragile and in some cases deteriorating.
This collection was processed in 2019 by Christina Meninger.
- Loyola University Maryland. Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society (Organization)
- Guide to the Loyola University Maryland Mask and Rapier Dramatic Society records
- Christina Meninger and Jack Ray
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description