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Mark Medoff papers

Identifier: Ms-0453

Scope and Content

The Mark Medoff Papers span the years 1960-2003. The papers are divided into fifteen series, with the bulk of the material concentrated in Plays, Screenplays, Novels and Short Stories. The entire collection is arranged alphabetically, and dates are provided when applicable.

The first series, Plays, reflects Medoff's strong belief in rewriting. The play series is arranged alphabetically by title then chronologically by date. All of the plays are presented in two acts, unless otherwise noted. The series contains first, second, third, fourth, rough, and revised drafts to his plays. Also included are plays not written by him and which he directed. The play series also includes newspaper clippings, reviews and play programs, and those are arranged along with the plays. The plays listed in this series include: Aaron Weiss; The Assassins; Big Mary; Children of a Lesser God; Code of Honor; The Conversion of Aaron Weiss; The Death of Hal/Iris; Elsinore; Fecket or the Abuse of Everything; Firekeeper; Free; Frelich II; Gunfighter: A Gulf War Chronicle; The Halloween Bandit; The Hands of Its Enemy; The Heart Outright; The Homage That Follows; The Homage That Followed; The Ideal Schlemiel, or He Put "Stuff" in His Shirt, or How I Shot My Water Pistol in the Sheriff's Office and Lived to Tell About It; Jesus at the Door; The Kramer; Kringle's Window; The Last Chance Saloon; Machinations; The Majestic Kid; The Night They Bonged Dong; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Road to a Revolution; Sara McKinnon; Schwartz, The Garbage Man, and the Mother with the Miner's Lantern, a post-war divertissement; The Session; Stefanie Hero; Stumps; Tell Him Stephan Castle is the One in a Million Who's Through Taking Anything From Anybody; Terminal/Ryder's Prescription for the Flicks; The Time Between; Tommy J and Sally; TJ and Sally; The Trial of Myles Fife; The Turnaround; The Valentine Estate; The Wager; The War on Tatem; and When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?. In addition, in the novel series, there is a partial copy of Medoff's novel Aaron Weiss. Also, Schwartz, The Garbage Man, is a short story, located in the short stories series.

The second series, Screenplays, is arranged alphabetically by title, then chronologically by date. The series consists of first, second, third, fourth, rough and revised draft of Medoff's screenplays. The screenplay series also includes newspaper clippings and reviews of various plays, and those items are arranged along with the screenplays. The screenplays in this series include: America Dreamer; Apology; Captain Suntan; Children on Their Birthdays; Clara's Heart, City of Joy; Deception; Eden Close; Fall Guy; Fear No Evil; The Heart Outright; Homage; The Last Real Kid in America; Sins of the Father; and When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?

The third series, Novels, is arranged alphabetically. The series consists of rough drafts of Medoff's novels. The novels in this series include: The Conversion of Aaron Weiss; The Halloween Bandit I; Cuban Treatment and Dreams of Long Lasting.

The fourth series, Short Stories, is arranged alphabetically and includes some of Medoff's papers when he attended Stanford in the mid 1960's. Some of the drafts in the series contain notes, while others are draft copies. The short stories in this series include: Blah-Dom and a James Joyce Day; The Debt of Love; The Gap Days; Hamster's Wake; Howard Bodner; Major Progression 11; Morning Madness; The Rainbow Man; The Rules of the Game; Schwartz The Garbage Man and the Mother with the Miner's Lantern; Something Worth Something; Recollections of an Exhibition; Swan Song; The Ultimate Grammar of Life; and The World and P.P.

The fifth series, Correspondence, is arranged chronologically according to dates. Some of the material was previously arranged by Medoff which includes Children of a Lesser God letters, and letters to and from publishers.

The sixth series, Scrapbooks, is arranged chronologically then alphabetically. The scrapbook series includes biographical information about Medoff's career as a playwright. The materials in the series includes: newspaper clippings, letters, play programs and telegrams. The first 10 scrapbooks have been numbered, and thereafter the scrapbook series is arranged alphabetically. The series follows Medoff's career from his time at Stanford University to his retirement from NMSU in 1993.

The seventh series, Works By Other Authors, is arranged alphabetically, and dates are provided when available. The series contains materials related to Medoff's colleagues or materials he used either in the classroom or personally.

The eighth series, Journals and Newsletters, is arranged alphabetically and dates are provided when available. The series contains copies of journals and newsletters that either feature biographical information about Medoff or his published works.

The ninth series, Legal Pads, is not arranged in specific order. The series is two legal boxes which contains 35 legal pads related to Medoff's plays. Stage and personal notes are listed throughout the legal pads. The legal pads are not numbered, or titled, and Medoff uses abbreviation throughout the series, making it difficult to decipher the specific play and corresponding legal pad.

The tenth series, Awards, is arranged chronologically then alphabetically. The series contains the awards Medoff won on Broadway, Off-Broadway, locally, and other awards he won throughout the United States. The awards include the OBIE Award, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk Award, Antoinette Perry ("Tony") Award, Governor's Award (State of New Mexico), and several others. The bulk of the awards take place in the 1980's, and are related to his plays When You Comin Back, Red Ryder? and Children of a Lesser God.

The eleventh series, Memorabilia, is arranged alphabetically according to content description. The series contains memorabilia that Medoff acquired during his tenure at New Mexico State University. Items include Mark Medoff tablets, two iron ships, wooden Mark Medoff name plate, wooden log for storing items, NMSU Drama Department button, drama mask necklace, fountain pen, pen holder, wooden writer's block, and two circle medals.

The twelfth series, Play Related Memorabilia, is arranged alphabetically, and dates are provided when available. The series contains items related to Medoff's playwright career, and the bulk of the materials consisting of play advertisement and announcement. Some other items include items pertaining to Mark Medoff Day, a drawing of Mark Medoff and a drawing of Medoff's daughters. Some of the items in this series are oversized, and special assisted may be required in order to view.

The thirteenth series, Framed Photographs, is arranged alphabetically. The series has a numeric sequence on the back, and that number appears next to the photograph in this series.

The fourteenth series, Oversized Photographs, is arranged alphabetically. The series includes oversize photographs of different play production throughout Medoff's career at New Mexico State University. Photographs include images from Waiting for Godot and Children of a Lesser God. The Children of a Lesser God photographs contain two photos of the play at New Mexico State on opening night and a signed copy from the cast.

The fifteenth series, Photographs, is arranged alphabetically. The series includes color and black and white photographs or Medoff's plays at New Mexico State University, Broadway, and on location. The photographs have been labeled according to the picture, or as labeled by Medoff.


  • 1960 - 2003

Access and Use Restrictions

This material may be examined by researchers under supervised conditions in the Search Room.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with copyright and other applicable statutes.

Copyrights associated with this collection have not been transferred and assignedto New Mexico State University.


Mark Medoff was born March 18, 1940, in Mount Carmel, Illinois, to Lawrence and Thelma Medoff. In 1949, at the age of nine, Medoff's family moved to Miami Beach, Florida, where he spent his childhood and graduated from high school.

After graduation in 1958, Medoff enrolled at the University of Miami, where he received a Bachelor's of Arts degree in 1962. He majored in English and minored in Psychology. After graduating from Miami, Medoff traveled the United States and Canada before taking a job as Assistant Director of Admissions at a Washington D.C. technical institute. Medoff worked as a technical writer for a year and half before returning to Miami Beach to prepare for a Master's degree. In Fall 1964, Medoff enrolled at Stanford University, where he received a Master's of Arts in English in 1966. Shortly after graduating, Medoff was encouraged by mentor Fred Shaw to accept an Assistant Professor position at New Mexico State University. Medoff then relocated to Las Cruces and became an Instructor of English. He later became an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the English Department at New Mexico State University in 1967.

New Mexico State University and Medoff developed a relationship that accommodated his writing projects, which enabled him to produce several Broadway and off-Broadway plays. His first success was When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder?, which won the Obie, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards in 1973. The success of Red Ryder helped Medoff receive full Professorship in the English Department in 1974. That same year, New Mexico State University awarded Medoff with the Westhafer Award, its highest teaching honor. He was the youngest recipient of this award in the school's history. Medoff would later write the screenplay to Red Ryder, which was filmed in nearby Fabens, Texas. In 1978, Medoff was named Chair of the Drama Department at New Mexico State University. He recruited actors from all over the United States, hoping to invigorate the program. His life would be forever altered when his play, Children of a Lesser God, received Broadway's highest honor, the Tony Award, in 1980. The same year, he was awarded the highly coveted New Mexico's Governor's Award.

Children of a Lesser God opened a series of avenues for Medoff in other parts of the United States, but he refused to move away from the Las Cruces area, citing personal relationships and the desire to build a drama program at New Mexico State University. Medoff later wrote the play The Hands of Its Enemy, as well as motion picture screenplays for Clara's Heart and City of Joy. In addition to his writing credits, he directed the film Children on Their Birthdays. Medoff has also published several short stories and poems. He has one published novel, Dreams of Long Lasting, and has written drafts for several others.

Mark Medoff retired from New Mexico State University in 1993, and currently divides his time between Las Cruces and Chicago, Illinois. He is currently working as a visiting Professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee. After leaving New Mexico State, Medoff has continued to write. In Spring 2004, Medoff's play Prymate is slated to open on Broadway. Mark Medoff and his wife, Stephanie, have three daughters, Debra, Jessica and Rachel.


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Language of Materials




Playwright and Professor of English at New Mexico State University. Best known for his Tony Award-winning play, Children of a Lesser God. His papers include plays, screenplays, novels, short stories, correspondence, memorabilia, and photographs, with the bulk of his papers consisting of rough, first, second, third, and fourth drafts of his work.


  1. RG93-041 Gift of Mark Medoff
  2. RG93-063 Gift of Mark Medoff
  3. RG2003-008 Gift of Mark Medoff


Contact Information

  1. Archives and Special Collections Department
  2. New Mexico State University Library
  3. P.O. Box 30006
  4. Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003-8006
  5. Phone: (575) 646-3839
  6. Fax: (575) 646-7477
  7. Email:
  8. URL:


Guide to the Mark Medoff papers
Processed by Jerry Wallace, assisted by Bill Boehm and Cassie McClure
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Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//New Mexico State University::Archives and Special Collections//TEXT (US::NmLcU::Ms 0453::Mark Medoff Papers)//EN" "nmlcu1#0453.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA