Mailing Address:
Special Collections
College of Charleston Library
66 George Street
Charleston, SC 29424

(843) 953-8016

Title: Spoleto Festival U.S.A. archives

Collection #: Mss 0149

Dates: 1956-1989

Size: 210 linear ft.

Biographical Note:

The Festival of Two Worlds, the Festival Foundation, and the Spoleto Festival USA were created by Gian Carlo Menotti, an Italian-American composer of opera, and this archives represents all three of these interrelated organizations:

(1) The Festival of Two Worlds (Festival dei Due Mondi) was founded in Spoleto, Italy, in 1956 with the primary purpose of providing young Americans with an opportunity to perform in Europe, and it had an office in Rome, Italy, and its management was through the Association of the Festival of Two Worlds.

(2) The Festival Foundation was incorporated in New York State in 1957 initially with the primary purposes of fundraising and of selecting musicians for the Festival of Two Worlds, and its office was in New York City.

(3)The Spoleto Festival USA was created in 1976 primarily to provide a similarly comprehensive festival of all the arts in Charleston, South Carolina.Its national management was by the Board of the Festival Foundation with Menotti as Chairman, and local fundraising was handled by a Coordinating Committee, which became into a separate organization in 1978.From 1957-1978, the financial records of the Festival of Two Worlds were sent to New York for an audit of the Festival and of the Foundation.The correspondence of the Rome office was also sent to New York, and in 1979 when the New York office was closed, its records (including the Italian records) were transferred to Charleston and consequently form part of this archives of all three of the principal organizations and of related entities.

Description of the Collection:

Although all three of the principal organizations are well represented in this archives, the best represented records relate to the Spoleto Festival USA from 1976-1999. Current records have been retained by the Festival USA, but are being transferred to the College of Charleston when they are no longer being regularly consulted to plan future festivals.

The Festival of Two Worlds is represented primarily by financial records, correspondence, and printed programs, but there are also substantial numbers of photographs, some information on the town of Spoleto, Italy, and its performance spaces, and similar material. Nearly all material on the Festival of Two Worlds dates from 1956-1986 (and in 1994 the Italian festival again became a wholly separate entity).

The Festival Foundation's records are largely if not wholly intact for the period from 1957-1979. Its administrative correspondence, fundraising letters, and grant requests include occassional in-depth discussions of programing for the Festival of Two Worlds and of the creation of the Festival USA.

Starting in 1976, the records of the Spoleto Festival USA relate primarily to various aspects of programing and finance and include comprehensive documentation of performances in correspondence, printed programs, photographs, and other types of records.This festival continues to be held annually in Charleston.


Whenever possible, the records have been kept in their original arrangement and the intended arrangement has been restored when necessary.Some scattered groups of record such a board minutes, the correspondence of Menotti, the correspondence of General Managers, printed material, and photographs have been brought together to facilitate research, and when the same types of material have needed to remain within their original contexts, the index to the inventory helps to provide access.Since many events were staged first in Charleston and afterwards in Spoleto, there is often information about individuals and performances in more than one of the three primary organizations.

The major divisions of the collection sometimes include the records of more than one of the three principal organizations:

(1) Organizational Documents (including incorporation records, bylaws, minutes, Menotti's separate correspondence files, reports, and studies).

(2) Festival Foundation and Festival of Two Worlds (chronological files of outgoing correspondence, the files of General Managers of the Foundation including Christopher Keene and David Alger, information on Spoleto performance spaces, financial files, audits, fundraising files including letters by Menotti, correspondence with Board members, and clippings).

(3) Grant Requests for the Italian and American festivals (to the National Endowment for the Arts, City of Charleston, State of South Carolina, various other governmental agencies, and various Foundations.The applications often include summaries of past and planned programs and information about future plans).

(4) Spoleto Festival USA Administrative Files (with correpondence files of Chairmen including Theodore S. Stern; correspondence files of General Managers including Nella (Mr. Rufus) Barkley, Christine Reed, James T. Kearney, and Nigel Redden; and general administrative files).

(5) Program Files and General Administration (including a separate file on each program by year with correspondence, occasional information about performers, etc.)

(6) Finance (including audits, ledgers, payroll, paid bills, etc.).

(7) Contracts (largely legal agreements filed by year and performance, but including occassional correspondence relating to obligations).

(8) Media Files (films, video tapes, and audio tapes).

(9) Publicity Files (files maintained by David Rawle Associates, press kits, news releases, clippings, scrapbooks, etc.)

(10) Photographs for the Italian and American Festivals (in chronological order by year and usually by event; most photographs are professional black-and-white 8" X 10" prints taken primarily by William Struhs, but also by W. Patrick Hinely and other).

(11) Scores and Scripts (including mainly printed copies and photocopies with occassional annotations.One original score by Menotti is for the 1977 Fanfare he was commissioned to write to open the first Festival USA).

(12) Publications

(13) Scene Shop

(14) Miscellaneous Material (primarily oversized items such as posters for the Italian and American festivals and including the original 1977 scheduling boards for the Festival USA).