The Max Reinhardt Archives and Library

Who is Max Reinhardt?

Image: Photo of Max Reinhardt with one of his promptbooks in front of him
Photo of Max Reinhardt with one of his promptbooks in front of him
The celebrated theater director Max Reinhardt was born in 1873 at Baden near Vienna, Austria and died in New York City in 1943. Reinhardt’s illustrious career takes on added significance because it coincides with a major shift in the evolution of the modern theater: the ascendancy of the director as the key figure in theatrical production. Reinhardt’s reputation in international theater history is secured by the leading role he played in this transformation, as well as by his innovative use of new theater technology and endless experimentation with theater spaces and locales, which together redefined traditional relationships between actor and audience toward a new participatory theater.

Max Reinhardt Finding Aids

The Max Reinhardt collection covers major aspects of the life and career of Austrian-born theatrical director and producer Max Reinhardt (1873-1943). 

Max Reinhardt Collection Finding Aid

Max Reinhardt Collection Online Finding Aid (ArchivesSpace)

Finding Aid Addendum: Series V: Criticism

Finding Aid Addendum: Series VI: Legal/Business

Digital Collections

Max Reinhardt Collection Photographs: digitized photographs of actors, actresses, set designs, costumes, theaters, and more. This collection is also available on New York Hertitage.  

Max Reinhardt Collection Promptbooks: promptbooks used by Max Reinhardt and others for various productions.    

What is a prompt book?
The prompt book is a master copy of the production script and contains a wealth of instructions and information alongside the basic text of the play. As well as the actors’ lines, you will often see cues for music, movement, light, and many other aspects of stage business. It may also contain sketches of staging or costumes.

Why are his important?
Reinhardt’s directorial prompt books reflect the ways in which he made plays by major playwrights his own. The prompt books contain notations denoting changes in the script, actor moves and technical cues, instructions on how sound, props and scenery were used, and stage drawings. They help us to reconstruct Reinhardt’s techniques and directions in productions.

Related Links

The Life and Times of Theater Director Max Reinhardt: a timeline showing the significant events and accomplishments in the life of Max Reinhardt.

The Theaters of Max Reinhardt: images and descriptions of theaters associated with Max Reinhardt.  

Related Collections

Fritz Halbers Collection
Berthold Held Collection
Tilly Losch Collection
Peter Wexler Collection