Papers of Pearl Leigh Buchanan,1878-1963

Descriptive Summary

Papers of Pearl Leigh Buchanan,1878-1963
Buchanan, Pearl Leigh, 1893-1983
3.6 cubic feet, 2,500 items, 3 boxes, 8 wrapped packets
Finding Aid Author
Processed by Sharon Brown McConnell; machine-readable finding aid created by Hilary Writt
Eastern Kentucky University

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Pearl Leigh Buchanan was born on December 21, 1893 in Virginia. Her parents were C.H. and Margaret Bassette Buchanan. Mr. Buchanan was a Methodist minister and Mrs Buchanan was a writer, who wrote under the pen name Maggie May. Her works were occasionally published in the Nashville Banner newspaper. They moved frequently during Miss Buchanan's early childhood, and was taught at home until she entered third grade at Southern Seminary for Young Ladies in Texas. She received a diploma from Mexia High School, Mexia, Texas.
She was next enrolled in College for Young Females then in San Antonio Female College in Texas. She often remarked that she hated the word "Female" in reference to her schools. She received a Bachelor of Literature degree from San Antonio Female College in 1913. She then attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas and was granted a B.A. degree there in 1915. In the following years she studied speech and drama at Northwestern University at Evanston, Illinios. In 1929 she graduated with a master's degree from George Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville.
Over the years she attended numerous workshops and conferences to keep abreast of changing methods. In 1957, she attended Edinburgh University where she studied speech. Miss Buchanan was a charter member and first president of the Kentucky Speech Association. She was also a charter member of the Southern Speech Association and active in the American Association of University Women.
Miss Buchanan was deeply involved in genealogy. Her folders contain a book giving copious notes on the Buchanan family. Her personal lineage is included. She was very proud of her inclusion in the Daughters of the American Rvolution and United Daughters of the Confederacy. Miss Buchanan authored a book of poetry, A Late Lark (1972), which was published under the name Gwinette. Several of her short stories were also published.
For many years she served in various roles at the speech and drama festivals and clinics both locally and throughout the Commonwealth. Honors she received include being named the honorary page in the Kentucky House of Representatives as a Kentucky Colonel. She was also named an honorary citizen of Tennessee by Governor Frank H. Clement. A world traveler, Miss Buchanan visited forty-eight out of the fifty states, fifty-four foreign countries, and the Artic Circle. In her time she piloted a plane, a ship, and a locomotive. She was interested in the theater, dance, and music. Her collection of programs from these events show her deep interest in cultural activities. She taught at Eastern for forty-one years, 1923-64 and from 1923-1942, she was sponsor and director of the Little Theatre Club. During her term, emphasis was placed on Shakespearean drama, although light comedies were sometimes presented. Another of her duties was the supervision and selection of students who ushered at university functions. At Eastern, Miss Buchanan was an associate professor of English. She taught a variety of courses but favored her classes in interpretative reading.
In poor health, she retired in 1964. At that time it was suggested to President Martin by Evelyn Bradley that the Little Theater in the Keen Johnson building be renamed the Pearl Buchanan Theater. This was done in 1964. Her last months were spent at the Kenwood Nursing Home in Richmond. She died on December 19, 1983 and was interred in the Richmond Cemetery.
Scope and Content
The papers of Pearl Leigh Buchanan were donated to Eastern Kentucky University by Mrs. Elizabeth Bassette of Nashville, Tennessee, a cousin of Miss Buchanan, through Francis Mason of Richmond in 1984. Since the papers were not organized, the Archives staff arranged them into four categories: scrapbooks, photographs, certificates diplomas, and a miscellaneous series. While the scrapbooks are wrapped separately, the other items are arranged in three boxes, each with a folder title. Much of the contents of these papers are clippings, and programs demonstrating Miss Buchanan's love of the theatre. One book is photographs of Miss Buchanan and family. Certain certificates and diplomas awarded to Miss Buchanan are included in Box 1. The Miscellaneous category contains genealogical and personal items, some of these are her father's Bible, a short autobiography, and Buchanan's thesis from George Peabody Teacher's College in Nashville.
These papers will prove invaluable to those doing research on the Little Theatre Club at Eastern or the American theatre in general during the 1920s-1940s.

Contents of the Collection

Certificate Series

Ten diplomas or certificates are in this series. These are school diplomas, club certificates and declarations of honor for Miss Buchanan and her mother. The materials cover the years 1911 to 1963 and are arranged chronologically.

Mexia High School diploma, May 26, 1911.

  • Box 1, folder 1
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San Antonio Female College, certificate of proficiency in Latin

  • Box 1, folder 2
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San Antonio Female College diploma, May 5, 1913.

  • Box 1, folder 3
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Pi Gamma Mu. Pearl Buchanan, September 14, 1926.

  • Box 1, folder 4
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Diploma from George Peabody College for Teachers bestowing Master of Arts degree upon Pearl L. Buchanan, August 24, 1929.

  • Box 1, folder 5
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DAR Certificate: Pearl Leigh Buchanan, November 7, 1931

  • Box 1, folder 6
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DAR Certificate: Margaret Gwin Bassette Buchanan, July 7, 1933.

  • Box 1, folder 7
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Certificate of Merit in Genealogy presented to Margaret Buchanan, December 27, 1938.

  • Box 1, folder 8
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House of Representatives of Kentucky. Certificate as honorary page. April 12, 1956. Requested by Clarence H. Bates

  • Box 1, folder 9
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Declaration of honorary citzenship in TN for Miss Pearl Buchanan. 1963. Signed by Frank Clement, Governor of Tennessee.

  • Box 1, folder 10
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Miscellaneous Series

This series contains eight items, including the family Bible, handwritten notes by C.H. Buchanan and autobiographical notes by Miss Buchanan. Also included are her thesis and a painting by Maude Gibson. The materials cover the years 1886 to 1957 and are arranged according to size within the box.

Stenographer's notebook containing autobiographical notes by Charles H. Buchanan in his handwriting. n.d.

  • Box 2, folder 1
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The Polyglot Bible belonging to Rev. C.H. Buchanan. 1886

  • Box 2, folder 2
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Notebook containing genealogical information of the Buchanan family

  • Box 2, folder 3
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Thesis: Pearl Leigh Buchanan. An Experiemental Study of Adult Reading Abilities." George Peabody College for Teachers. Aug 1929.

  • Box 2, folder 4
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Lineage. Miss Buchanan1s direct line.

  • Box 2, folder 5
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Short autobiography of Miss Buchanan Clipping from Eastern Progress student newspaper. 1957.

  • Box 2, folder 6
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Water color of rose by Maude Gibson. 1951.

  • Box 2, folder 7
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Photograph Series

The Photograph Series consists of one box of black and white prints of personal photographs belonging to Miss Pearl Buchanan. There are eleven folders of photographs of Miss Buchanan and her parents, professional actors, members of the Little Theatre Club, and pictures of certain plays in progress which Miss Buchanan directed. These prints cover a period from 1878 to 1956. All photographs are filed in acid free folders, interleaved with acid-free paper, and are numbered consecutively per folder.

Individual photographs of Pearl Buchanan, 1894-1956.

1-5 Miss Buchanan as an infant and young child 1899-1900; 6-10 Miss Buchanan as a young women. ca. 1908-1914; 11-18 Miss Buchanan after college. ca. 1920-25; 19-22 Miss Buchanan as maturing woman at Eastern ca. 1930-40; 23-27 Miss Buchanan before her retirement. ca. 1950-56

  • Box 3, folder 1
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Margaret Bassette Buchanan and Charles Buchanan. 1878-1889

1-4 Margaret Gwin Bassette Buchanan. 1878-1889; 5 Charles H. Buchanan. 1880

  • Box 3, folder 2
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Unidentified play given in Hiram Brock Auditorium. ca. 1930, numbers 1-9

1-9 Unidentified photographs. ca. 1930.

  • Box 3, folder 3
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Pioneer Play, unidentified, n.d., numbers 1-3

1 Photograph of cast; 2 Slide of photo; 3 Guide to names of cast members

  • Box 3, folder 4
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Twelth Night. ca. 1938, numbers 1-27.

1-10 8" x 10" photographs; 11 5" x 7" photographs; 12-20 3" x 5" photographs; 21-27 2" x 4" photographs

  • Box 3, folder 5
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Romeo and Juliet. 1938, numbers 1-23

1 - 2 Unidentified 8" x 10" photographs; 3 -19 Unidentified 5" x 7" photographs; 20-23 Unidentified~4'1 x 6" photographs

  • Box 3, folder 6
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Merchant of Venice. ca. 1938, numbers 1-13

1-7 8" x 10" photographs; 8-13 5" x 7" photographs

  • Box 3, folder 7
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Little Theatre members. ca. 1930s, numbers 1-36

1 Lenorne Caywood; 2 Marguerite Henzmann; 3 Margaret Hubbard (2 copies); 4 Curtis Burman; 5 Luther C. Jones; 6 Sue Toadvine (2 copies); 7 Jack Hughes; 8 Barbara Congleton; 9 Unidentified woman; 10 Jim Hart; 11 May Agnes Finneran; 12 Oscar Estes; 13 Francis Mason; 14 Donald Dorris; 15 J.A. McCord; 16 Carolyn Moores; 17 Sara White; 18 Garnett Hanshaw; 19 Frances Little; 20 Raymond Van Winkle; 21 Leonard Stafford; 22 Willie McKee; 23 Jack Hughes; 24 Opal Hanshaw; 25 Elizabeth Elmore; 26 Ann Stigertz; 27 Ann Ingels; 28 Louis Kendall; 29 Maude McLaughlin; 30-33 Unidentified woman; 34-36 Unidentified man

  • Box 3, folder 8
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Miscellaneous. n.d, numbers 1-2

1-2 Copies of young women in evening dresses

  • Box 3, folder 9
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Scrapbook Series

The Scrapbook Series consists of eight large scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings and programs from the many dramatic presentations Miss Buchanan attended. Some family news is recorded as well as certain programs for events taking place at Eastern. Dates range from 1902 to 1940.

(Wrapped Packet 1)Scrapbook: n.d Postcards of WV and VA, including Thomas Jefferson's home.

(Wrapped Packet 2)Scrapbook: 1931-1940 Newspaper/magazine clippings of Katherine Cornell and Helen Hays.

(Wrapped Packet 3)Scrapbook: 1934-1939 Clippings of professional dancers and opera companies.

(Wrapped Packet 4)Scrapbook: 1921-1940 Clippings about presentations of Shakespearean plays

(Wrapped Packet 5)Scrapbook: 1902-1958 Clippings of reviews and articles about Little Theatre Club, various university news, obituaries; and feature articles about friends of the Buchanan family, family news and reviews of the book Miss Buchanan S father, the Reverend C.H. Buchanan, notices, poetry columns.

(Wrapped Packet 6)Scrapbook: 1922-1936 Programs of plays and concerts presented at Eastern Kentucky University and theaters in Berea, Lexington, Cincinnati, and New York

(Wrapped Packet 7)Scrapbook: 1918-1938 Mrs. C.H. Buchanan's Scrapbook. Clippings concerning family events, obituaries, etc. and news items of the day and church happenings.

(Wrapped Packet 8)Scrapbook: 1922-1939 Programs of plays presented by the Little Theatre Club and programs of plays which Miss Buchanan attended. Some of these are from Madison High School in Richmond, Kentucky. Also represented are commencement programs, notices of musicals, Founder's Day programs, and miscellaneous material concerning Eastern