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Sheldon Abend American Theater Collection

Identifier: SPC6030

Scope and Contents

This collection contains scripts. This includes but is not limited to, play descriptions, selected scenes, and notes and comments from works such as Grounds for Divorce, Robin Hood’s Party, and the Broadway play The Last Warning. Additionally, this collection includes blueprints on how scenes were developed, corrected, and improved based on comments and concerns from various actors during his career from the early 1920s until his death in 2003.


  • Other: date unknown


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Rights: In copyright. Standardized rights statement:

Special Collections & University Archives provides copies of materials in our collections for private study, scholarship, or research. Patrons are responsible for determining the proper copyright holder and securing permission to publish, quote, broadcast, exhibit, or perform that work. FIU Special Collections will provide all available information about the copyright holder of materials found in our collections.

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Biographical / Historical

Sheldon Abend was born on June 13, 1929 in New York City, New York, USA. He was a producer and actor, known for Original Sin (2001), Why Would I Lie? (1980) and Rear Window (1998). He died on August 24, 2003 in New York City.


47 boxes

Language of Materials



Sheldon Abend was a colorful executive producer who also served as an estate representative for such literary luminaries as George Bernard Shaw and Tennessee Williams. He made a name for himself by winning an intense copyright battle with MCA. A New York native who later fought in the ring and worked as a tugboat coal-stoker, Abend went to work for the American Play Country in 1957 with little education and an over-abundance of initiative. He rose through the ranks to own the organization in three short years, and after establishing the Author's Research Company, served as a literary consultant and rights negotiator for David O. Selznick, among many others. Gaining notoriety for taking on MCA, Alfred Hitchcock, and Jimmy Stewart in 1983 to establish what has come to be known as the "Abend Rule," the tenacious negotiator went to the Supreme Court to clarify copyright law for instances in which the author dies during the copyright's term.  Abend died on August 24, 2003. Approximately 300+ titles


Folders are organized in alphabetical order by author's name.

Method of Acquisition


Source of Acquisition

Sheldon Abend

Separated Materials

University of Miami has part of the collection.

Sheldon Abend American Theater Collection
Megan Silvera
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Florida International University Repository

Green Library
11200 SW 8th Street, GL 422
Miami FL 33199 US