About La MaMa Archive
Established in the early 1970’s, La MaMa Archive collects, preserves, and exhibits records of permanent historical value relating to La MaMa and the Off-Off Broadway movement. In doing so, it draws on a deep vein of in-house institutional memory, the passionate community of artists whose work has found a home on La MaMa stages, and a diversity of scholars, educators and international artists with whom we regularly collaborate.
La MaMa’s collections offer an intimate perspective on major social, aesthetic, and political movements of the 20th and 21st centuries that resonate with histories of peoples across the globe. Where else would you find original plays by Vietnam War veterans alongside video of performances about the AIDS crisis; unpublished scripts by Japanese filmmaker Shuji Terayama alongside photos and correspondence by Polish revolutionary director Tadeusz Kantor? A portion of these materials are available for viewing on our new Digital Collections website, catalog.lamama.org.
“It is impossible to exaggerate how crucial the [La MaMa] archive is to the stories of American theatre, New York City, and innumerable facets of creative culture and the wider social currents this work traced and fomented.”
–Alisa Solomon, Theatre Scholar and Author
Schedule an Archive Tour
La MaMa Archives regularly conducts tours for student groups and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 1pm -4pm BY APPOINTMENT. For more information please contact Archives Director, Ozzie Rodriguez at 212-260-2471 or email archives [at] lamama [dot] org.
The La MaMa Archives Digital Collections database is both a catalog and a digital archive, and it was designed to serve both researchers and general users. Site users can conduct targeted searches or browse at will, using the images and text available on this site as a guide. In the near future, we hope also to be able to offer curated digital exhibits.
The bulk of material in these digital collections describes La MaMa’s earliest years–what we call our Pushcart Era (1961-1985). A lot of these materials have not been digitized, so you may not be able to find here a digital representation of every resource in which you are interested. We are constantly adding to our digital collections, so keep checking back for updates and to browse new materials.
Read Cataloging La MaMa's Pushcart Years and Beyond
Read news about La MaMa’s cataloging efforts. What started as a two-year long project, funded by CLIR's Hidden Collections program, has resulted in an online, searchable catalog of our archival materials and a digital collections portal. New material is being added regularly. Check out the blog, where we'll highlight particular items and artists.
La MaMa Archives is dedicated to supporting the work of La MaMa ETC and to promoting inquiry into the history of off-off-Broadway theater. La MaMa Archives collects, preserves, interprets, and exhibits records of permanent historical value relating to La MaMa ETC, and endeavors to make its collections accessible and meaningful to the broadest possible audience.
La MaMa Archives collects material related to the work of La MaMa Experimental Theater Club, its founder Ellen Stewart, and its contributing artists. The bulk of the archive consists of materials that were created in the normal course of the theater’s business. The Archive almost never accepts outside archival donations; in the rare situations that we do accept donations, we require that donors agree to transfer both physical ownership of the materials and copyright to La MaMa. Our records are mostly in English, with other languages (Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish, French, and Chinese, among others) scattered throughout. Formats include paper, film, video, photographic materials, electronic media, papier mache, fabric, and wood.
Use and Access Policy
La MaMa Archives endeavors to provide broad access to its collections for study, research, teaching, and learning. We welcome use of materials from our collection that are in the public domain and fair use of copyrighted materials as defined by copyright law. Please cite us when you use materials from our collections.
In making its digital and physical collections available, La MaMa Archives reserves the right to restrict the use of rare and valuable items; to limit the number of copies made on behalf of researchers; and to deny a request because of copyright regulations, privacy rights, donor-imposed regulations, or other rights related issues.
Permission to examine material from our collections is not an authorization to publish. While La MaMa owns the physical materials in our collections, we do not always own the copyright to these materials. If La MaMa does not hold the copyright to an item, we cannot grant or deny permission to use that material. Users are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of materials and obtaining permission to use material from the copyright holder. Users are also responsible for addressing issues of privacy and publicity rights relating to use of our materials.
Permission for commercial use of materials for which La MaMa holds copyright is granted on a case-by-case basis at the sole discretion of La MaMa ETC.
If you use or reproduce our materials in any format, we ask that you properly cite and credit La MaMa Archives as the source of the material, in addition to crediting the author or creator of the materials. We ask that you send us a copy of any published work that features our material.
If you have information about an item on our website or if you are the copyright owner and believe La MaMa has not properly attributed your work to you or has used it without permission, we want to hear from you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information and a link to the relevant content.
Disclaimer: Users agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless La MaMa Archives and its employees and representatives against all liabilities, losses, demand, penalties, costs, expenses, attorneys’ fees, lawsuits, fines, judgments, or causes of actions, including but not limited to claims relating to infringement of copyright, trademark, invasion of rights of privacy or publicity, or libel that arise either directly or indirectly from any use by the requestor of the images and/or materials provided by La MaMa ETC.
La MaMa Archive 2023–2024 is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. Additional support provided by The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.
La MaMa Archive Conservation Projectis supported in part by a Federal National Park Service Grant Save America's Treasures grant, made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
La MaMa Archive Digitization Project, "Preserving Off-Off-Broadway: Expanding Access to La MaMa's Paper and Photographic Materials", is supported in part by a National Historical Publications & Records Commission grant, affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration.
Digitization of production footage is supported in part by a grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources Recordings at Risk program.
La MaMa Archive Climate Control Project, "Preserving Off-Off-Broadway: Designing Improved Climate Control for the La MaMa Archive" is supported in part by an Infrastructure and Capacity Building grant from National Endowment for the Humanities.