Austin History Center

Diana Claitor Papers

An Inventory to the Collection

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Claitor, Diana
Title: Diana Claitor Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1980-1990
Bulk Dates: 1987-1989
Abstract: Correspondence, notes, creative works, photographic materials, schedules and subject files that document Diana Claitor's activities as a theater critic, as well as her involvement with theater in Austin, Texas.
Identification: AR.1991.007
Quantity: 1 linear foot (1 box)
Location: Archives Stacks, Outer Vault, qAR, Archives Artifacts
Language: The records are in English.
Repository: Austin History Center, Austin Public Library,  810 Guadalupe,  PO BOX 2287,  Austin, TX 78768

Biographical Note

Diana Claitor was born in Pasadena, CA, but spent most of her childhood in Corpus Christi, Texas and Amarillo, Texas. At age five she appeared on the Art Linkletter show. After attending 13 schools in 12 years she left home at 18, traveling and spending time in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Houston, England, and France before settling in Austin, Texas. Claitor first began writing articles for the Austin Sun, an underground newspaper, in the 1970s. After a brief excursion to Fayetteville, Arkansas she returned to Austin to attend the University of Texas and earn a B.S. in Radio-TV-Film, with a minor in Latin American Studies. While attending UT she worked at the Briscoe Center for American History from where she discovered what was to become a lifetime interest in Texas history.

Claitor became involved in local theater in Austin, Texas, and from 1978 to 1985, she worked as a publicist and in other capacities at Zachary Scott Theatre, Capitol City Playhouse, and Live Oak Theatre. Then from 1978 to 1985, she was the manager at the Paramount Theatre where her job involved supervising contracts and volunteers and managing the front of the house. At the same time, she wrote for newspapers such as the Austin American-Statesman and Austin Chronicle, as well as magazines including The Progressive and The Texas Observer. From 1984 to 1986, she was theater critic for the American-Statesman, and in that role she came to know radio host/writer/actor John Henry Faulk. They met when Claitor reviewed his one man show Pear Orchard, Texas; their friendship lasted until Faulk's death in 1990, and she wrote his front-page obituary for the Austin Chronicle.

During this same period and since, Diana also worked as a freelance researcher, providing information, recordings, and photographs for clients including the PBS The American Experience series, filmmakers Robert Benton and Ron Howard, and playwright-screenwriters Horton Foote, with a special focus on historical Texas. She also spent two years working at PBS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Claitor is married to artist David H. Elliot. Both have worked at Austin Community College in various capacities, and Claitor has continued to write for several publications. She co-founded and directs the non-profit advocacy group, Texas Jail Project.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains correspondence, notes, creative works, photographic materials, schedules and subject files (1980-1990) created and maintained by Diana Claitor that document her activities as a theater critic for the Austin American-Statesman and The Austin Chronicle, as well as her involvement with theater in Austin, Texas. The bulk of the material dates from 1987-1989.

The Theater and Production Groups series comprise the bulk of the materials. Arranged alphabetically, this series documents theater in Austin, Round Rock, and San Marcos. Large subject files are further sub-divided by play. The Paramount Theatre file chronicles Diana's time as the Operations Manager from 1984-1985, and the "42nd Street," "LBJ," and "The Music Man" plays. The theater most widely represented is the University of Texas Arts Complex with collected materials for "Cabaret," Mark Twain Tonight," and "South Pacific." Also chronicled are visiting theater groups such as Roadside Theater and the Seattle Mime Theater.

Smaller series include Correspondence, Creative Works, Schedules, Posters, and Photographs. The Creative Works series includes several examples of Ms. Claitor's drafts for her theater column and a substantial collection of her handwritten notes on plays, theaters and actors in Austin. The Schedules series documents Ms. Claitor's review schedule of plays presented in the Austin area. The collection also contains 32 black and white photographs and 1 color print of various theater productions, 4 posters promoting productions at Esther's Follies and Live Oak Theatre, and 2 buttons promoting art and theater in Austin.



Because of the unordered nature of the material, subject files based on theater and production groups were created.
Arranged into six series:
I. Theater and Production Groups
II. Correspondence
III. Creative Works
IV. Schedules
V. Photographs
VI. Posters


Restrictions on Access

Open to all users.

Restrictions on Use


Index Terms

This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Claitor, Diana
Capitol City Playhouse
Live Oak Theatre
Paramount Theater
University of Texas Arts Complex
Zachary Scott Theatre
Austin (Tex.)

Related Material

Archives and Manuscripts

  • AR.1991.001 Theater Collection
  • AR.2001.018 Paramount Theater Records

Austin Files (AF)

  • AF Biography - Claitor, Diana

Separated Material

General Collection:

  • The Actors Business Directory for Austin & San Antonio, 1988


  • Austin Circle of Theatres newsletters, November 1987-May 1989

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Diana Claitor Papers (AR.1991.007). Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Donor #: DO/1990/061

Donation Date: 1990

Processing Information

Finding aid and encoding by Christina Wolf/Molly Hults, 2010.

Two video tapes and an audiocassette as well as 2 artifacts still need to be located and added to the detailed description of the collection. See Donor File for more information.

Detailed Description of the Collection


I. Theater and Production Groups, 1983-1990

Box Folder
1 1 Acting Company, 1988-1989
2 Austin Circle of Theatres (ACOT), 1988-1989
3 Austin Community College, 1988-1989
4 Big State Productions, 1988, undated
5-8 Capitol City Playhouse, 1984-1989
9 Chicago House, 1988, undated
10 Children of Light Players, 1988, undated
11-13 Different Stages, 1983-1989, undated
14 Dougherty Arts Center, 1988
15 Esther's Follies, 1987-1988, undated
16 Guthrie Theater, undated
17 Hyde Park Theatre, 1987-1988
18 Laff Stop, 1988-1989
19-22 Live Oak Theatre, 1983-1989
23 Mexic-Arte, 1988, undated
24-28 Paramount Theatre, 1980-1990, undated
29 Remembrance Through the Performing Arts, undated
30 Saint Edward's Mary Moody Northern Theatre, 1988, undated
31 Sam Bass Theatre Association (Round Rock), 1989, undated
32 State Theatre, 1985, undated
33 Southwest Texas State Theatre (San Marcos), 1988-1989, undated
34 Texas Non-Profit Theatres (TNT), 1989
35 Theatre Austin (Production group), 19888-1989
36 Theatre Collective, 1988-1989
37-49 University of Texas Arts Complex, 1985-1989, undated
44 Women and Their Work, 1988-1989
45-47 Zachary Scott Theatre, 1988-1989
48 Zilker Hillside Theater, 1987-1989, undated


II. Correspondence, 1986-1989

Box Folder
1 50 Correspondence, 1986-1989, undated


III. Creative Works, undated

Box Folder
1 51 Column drafts, undated
52 Handwritten notes, undated


IV. Schedules, circa 1988-1989

Box Folder
1 53 Schedules, circa 1988-1989


V. Photographs, undated

Outer Vault Theater productions, undated


VI. Posters and Buttons, 1988-1989, undated

Location BoxItem
qAR 016/010 Esther's Follies Poster, circa 1989
16/011-013 Live Oak Theatre Posters, 1988, undated
Location BoxItem
ArchivesArtifacts 100/094-095 Buttons, undated