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Richard Mullins collection of Arsenic and Old Lace memorabilia

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: RITDSA-0071

Scope and Contents

Richard Mullins collection of "Arsenic and Old Lace" memorabilia consists of the papers of Richard Mullins, alumnus of Gallaudet University, later acquired by Stephen Baldwin. Mr. Mullins was an actor who participated in Gallaudet’s Dramatic Club, including a production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” performed at the Fulton Theater in New York City. It was the first time a play was presented by deaf actors and actresses in sign language in a public theater. Included in the collection are a script of the play, programs from "Arsenic and Old Lace" and other plays, newsclippings and correspondence from 1939-1942, and 1989.


  • Creation: circa 1942


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Historical Information: Dramatic Club of Gallaudet College

Staged by the Dramatic Club of Gallaudet College, "Arsenic and Old Lace" is the first Broadway hit by an all deaf cast. The performance in New York, May 10, 1942 at the Fulton Theatre in New York City was the first public presentation of a play in sign language ever to be seen in the United States. The performance was expected to be attended primarily by deaf theatergoers, but seats were available for the hearing as well so they could see how the deaf adapted to the field of dramatics.

Gallaudet University traces its roots to The Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and Blind chartered by Congress in 1857. In 1864, Congress passed, and Lincoln signed the enabling act, authorizing the Institution to grant and confirm college degrees in the liberal arts and sciences. In 1894 the college was renamed for Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, an early promoter of deaf education in this country.


1 Linear Feet (1 box )




Richard Mullins collection of “Arsenic and Old Lace” memorabilia contains a script, program, photographs and newsclippings about the 1942 production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” performed by Gallaudet University Dramatic Club performers at the Fulton Theater in New York City. This was the first play performed in a public theater by all deaf actors in sign language.


The collection is arranged by series, then chronologically.

Physical Location

C. S. Mid-Range Shelf 335

Other Finding Aids

In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

Richard Mullins collection of “Arsenic and Old Lace” memorabilia

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Richard Mullins collection of “Arsenic and Old Lace” memorabilia was donated to the RIT Deaf Studies Archive by Stephen Baldwin in February 2012. Accession number(s): 2012:13

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in April 2012.

Richard Mullins collection of "Arsenic and Old Lace" memorabilia
RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive
Jody Sidlauskas
9 April 2012
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 RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA