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Clarence "Beeb" Salzer Collection

Identifier: MS-0564

Scope and Contents

The Clarence “Beeb” Salzer Collection documents the professional and artistic career of Beeb Salzer and includes ephemera, photographs, and artworks from the course of his career, beginning with his time at Yale. The bulk of the collection dates from 1955-2013. Materials include newspaper clippings, playbills, correspondence, photographs, set designs, speech manuscripts, legal papers, and paintings. The collection is divided into four series: Career Papers, Art Work, Personal, and Audiovisual. Career Papers, arranged roughly in chronological order, consist largely of playbills, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Highlights include Salzer’s correspondence with the playwright Edward Albee, op-eds, and photographs and other ephemera from Salzer’s time teaching in South America. The Art Work series is arranged into two subseries: Personal Art and Theatrical Art. Personal artwork includes water color landscapes, caricatures of writers, modern paintings, and a wood carving. Also included are photographs of paintings. Theatrical artwork consists of scene designs for plays that Salzer designed sets for, most notably scene designs for The Saint of Bleeker Street. The Personal series includes photographs from Salzer’s early life, and a poem he was given to commemorate his retirement. The Audiovisual series is primarily made up of VHS tape recordings of The Saint of Bleeker Street and Speaking of the Arts. Also included are 35 mm slides of set designs for The Saint of Bleeker Street and other productions, a DVD recording of Salzer’s retirement party and the documentary Trial by Fire.


  • Creation: 1950-2013


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in some or all of these materials have not been transferred to San Diego State University. Copyright resides with the creator(s) of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. The nature of archival collections is such that multiple creators are often applicable and copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. In any case, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, obtaining publication rights and copyright infringement. When requesting images from Special Collections & University Archives for publication, we require a signed agreement waiving San Diego State University of any liability in the event of a copyright violation.

Biographical Note

Beeb Salzer (Clarence M. Salzer) is an artist, designer of theatre, film and commercial productions, writer, producer, theatre consultant, owner of Salzer Design, and professor emeritus of Theatre, Television and Film at San Diego State University. Salzer graduated from Yale University with a BA in 1955, and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1960. In 1958, Salzer served as a visiting professor at the Catholic University of Santiago and the University of Chile in Chile, and the following year at the University of Panama under a State Department grant. From 1966 through 1980, Salzer served as an associate professor at different universities in New York. In 1982 he became a professor of Theatre, Television and Film at San Diego State University where he is now a professor emeritus following his 2008 retirement.

Salzer designed sets and costumes for countless productions including Madame Butterfly, Teible and her Demon, and Don Pasquale. One of his most celebrated contributions to stage production are his scenic designs for the Blatimore New York City productions of The Saint of Bleeker Street.

Salzer has written numerous articles on theatre and design. His writing has been regularly published since the 1970s, including a regular column in Lighting Dimensions Magazine, leading him to publish The Skeptical Scenographer: Essays on Theatrical Design and Human Nature in 1995. Though his career was in theatre, Salzer is first and foremost, an artist. His scene designs are beautiful works of art, and he additionally painted many other subjects. He has had art shows throughout the United States and South America over the course of his career, and has been featured on the covers of various publications. Salzer has received awards for both his set designs and for his writing. He is a five-time awardee of The Herbert Greggs Award for the Best Article of the Year in Theatre Design and Technology.


7.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

I. Career Papers

II. Art Work

1) Personal

2) Theatrical Art

III. Personal

IV. Audiovisual

Source of Acquisition

Clarence "Beeb" Salzer

Accruals and Additions

2017-042, 2017-050

Clarence "Beeb" Salzer Collection
Hayley Torres
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections & University Archives Repository

5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego CA 92182-8050 US