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Cloyd Head papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Head

Scope and Content of the Collection

Diaries, correspondence, writings and subject files of Cloyd Head.

Includes correspondence and manuscripts documenting the writing, publication and theatrical production of several plays and essays by Cloyd Head, notably The Grotesques; correspondence with Chicago literary and theatrical figures, including Harriet Monroe, Maurice Browne, Thomas Wood Stevens and Cloyd Head’s wife, Eunice Tietjens; notes, correspondence and photographs relating to Goodman Theatre in Chicago and the founding of Cloyd Head’s Miami Players; correspondence and souvenirs from travels throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central America and Africa; correspondence with family and friends. There are also a few professional photographs of actors with the Goodman Theatre and the Miami Players and snapshots of stage productions in Chicago and Florida.


  • Creation: 1895-1968



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Cloyd Head papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Cloyd Head papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Cloyd Head

Chicago playwright, theatrical director and business manager of the Goodman Theatre.

Cloyd Simmons Head was born in 1886, the son of a Chicago publisher of medical books. He grew up in Oak Park, attended Northwestern University and settled in Chicago.

His published work includes an unusual play in verse, The Grotesques: A Decoration in Black and White, which in 1915 was produced by Maurice Browne’s Chicago Little Theatre and became so widely praised for its poetry and theatrical innovation that Harriet Monroe took the unusual step of devoting an entire issue of Poetry magazine to publishing it. This and other works by Head are representative of the Little Theater movement, which attempted to create and stage new, often experimental plays inspired by issues of social and artistic concern, in contrast to the commercial theatre that dominated most American stages.

In 1920, Head married Eunice Tietjens: poet, novelist, journalist and Associate Editor of Poetry magazine. They had one son, Marshall Head. Cloyd wrote a few more plays and several essays on the theatre and then briefly served as business manager of the Goodman Theatre before resigning, along with artistic director Thomas Wood Stevens, in the wake of disagreements over the theatre’s direction.

For the rest of his life, Cloyd divided his time between Chicago and Coconut Grove, Florida, interspersed with long periods of travel through the South Seas, Europe, the Middle East, Central America and Africa. In the late 1930s he taught theatre at the University of Miami and founded a community theatre group called the Miami Players, with whom he directed several plays. During World War II and into the late 1940s he served as a radio commentator for WMAQ 670 AM in Chicago. One of his radio series, "In Our Town", looked into the various public institutions and businesses across Chicago. In between his travels he often served as a speaker on foreign affairs.

After Eunice’s death in 1944 he married Shirley Haycraft of Florida. They had no children. He died in Chicago in 1969.


6.5 Linear Feet (12 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Writings and correspondence, souvenirs and miscellany of Cloyd Head, Chicago playwright, theatrical director, business manager of the Goodman Theatre and husband of the poet Eunice Tietjens.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Diaries, 1903-1954
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Correspondence, 1915-1957
Boxes 2-4a
Series 3: Works, 1905-1953
Boxes 4a-6
Series 4: Subject Files, 1895-1968
Boxes 7-11
Series 5: Photographs, 1915-1946
Box 11
Series 6: Oversize Material
Box 12

Collection Stack Location

1 21 3


Gift of Goodman Theatre and Christopher Head (grandson), August 2006.

Processed by

Andy Steadham, 2006 and Lisa Hartman, 2018.

Inventory of the Cloyd Head papers, 1895-1968
Andy Steadham
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States