Leonard Brecher Louisville Theater History Collection, 1870s-1976

Accession: 1982-072
Extent: 1.75 linear feet
Restrictions: None.
Copyright: Copyright has not been transferred to the University of Louisville.

Biographical Note

Leonard C. Brecher (1900-1976) was a noted preservationist and board chairman of the Columbia Manufacturing Company, originally a manufacturer of mantels, and later a furniture manufacturer in Louisville. The year before his death, Brecher received the American Motors Conservation Award, one of twenty-four given to that date. The award honored a lifetime of work in preserving the fossil beds at the Falls of the Ohio, the wilderness area of Mammoth Cave National Park, and the Indiana Dunes. Brecher had been president of the Beckham Bird Club, the Louisville Audubon Society, and the Kentucky Ornithological Society. He was also a member of the Downtown Lions Club and several other civic organizations.

He pursued a life-long interest in the theater and served as board member and president of the Louisville Little Theatre Company in the 1950s playing a major role in its successful merger in 1961 with U of L Players to create the Belknap Theatre Playhouse. Brecher was also active in keeping the Belknap Playhouse from demolition. He had also researched the history of the Macauley Theatre, and served as chairman of the project to restore the Macauley Theatrical Photographs in 1970-1973. During that same period, he served as chairman of the Loan Committee of U of L's Woodcock Society.

He was married to Mary Lou Brecher, who designed costumes for productions of the Louisville Little Theatre in the 1930-1950 period. They had one daughter, Mrs. Charles W. Lewis, and three grandchildren. Leonard Brecher died on April 16, 1976. A Brecher Scholarship Fund was established at the University of Louisville.

Brief Description of the Collection

The Leonard C. Brecher Collection contains business and financial records as well as programs for the theatre programs at the University of Louisville-- University Players, The Little Theatre Company (LTC), and Belknap Theatre ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s. Records include information on the merger between these theater companies over time. Information regarding the Macauley Theatre is also included. Playbills/Programs and scripts from various theatres across the country are also in the collection, along with a small amount of personal papers from Brecher. An account book, presumably an 1870s KY Lottery Ledger, thought to be owned by Mr. Tom Jones includes scrapbook items, reviews of Macauley Theatre productions, and an obituary for Tom Jones.

List of Folders in this Collection

Box 1

  • Articles of Association/Statement of Organization and Aims - LTC
  • LTC Financial Documents
  • LTC Office Files
  • Correspondence with Potential Business Managers (1959)
  • Board of Governors Meeting Minutes
  • Description of Board Member/Employee Jobs
  • Correspondence To and From Patrons/Board Members
  • Advertisement and Publicity for Theatre at U of L
  • Women's Committee - Little Theatre Co.
  • Cast and Volunteer Information for Shows
  • Costume Books and Ideas
  • Costume Sketches by Mary Lou Brecher
  • Correspondence To and From Leonard Brecher (1950s-60s)
  • Programs - U of L Players
  • Programs - Little Theatre Co. (2 folders)
  • Programs - Belknap Theatre (2 folders)
  • Programs - Actors Theatre of Louisville (1960s-70s)
  • Programs - Louisville Theatrical Association (1960s-70s)
  • Program and Articles - "Bound For Kentucky" - Iroquois Amphitheatre (1961)
  • Programs - Stephen Foster Story (1960s)
  • Program - "Home is the Hunter" - Hardinsburg, KY (1963)
  • Playbills/Programs - Chicago - Blackstone Theatre (1950s-60s)
  • Playbills/Programs - Chicago - Shubert Theatre (1950s-70s)
  • Playbills/Programs - Chicago - Various Theatres (1950s-60s)
  • Playbills/Programs - New York City (1960s)
  • Playbills/Programs - Virginia (N.D.)
  • Sarah Bernhardt Playbills (Camille, 1905; L'Aiglon, 1910)
  • Newspaper Clippings (1950s-70s)
  • Notes on Preservation of Macauley Theatrical Photos - Donated to Photo Archives
  • Macauley Theatre
  • 1870s KY Lottery Ledger (?) and Scrapbook (also includes reviews of Macauley Theatre Productions and Obituary for Tom Jones)
  • LTC Plaque of Appreciation for Leonard Brecher (1960)

Box 2

  • Sides from Various Plays (1920s-30s)
  • "Kingmaker" Script by Credo Harris
  • "The Great Git-Away" Script by Romeo Muller
  • "From Thee, Eliza" Script by Ruth K. Lord (1960; World Premier)
  • "The Trial of Captain John Brown" Script by Richard F. Stockton (1959)
  • "Vive L'Empereur!" Script by Andre Chapelle (1929)
  • "Solitudes" Script by Credo Harris (1929)
  • The Louisville Fund
  • Audubon Society
  • Woodcock Society Correspondence and By-Laws (1969-75)
  • Loose Illustrations - Children’s Books