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Stephen Sondheim Society Archive

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 2108 KUAS96
Held at: Kingston University
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Full title: Stephen Sondheim Society Archive
Date(s): 1845-date
Level of description: Collection (Fonds)
Extent: 59 boxes, 7 albums, plus books and oversize material
Name of creator(s): Stephen Sondheim Society
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Stephen Sondheim Society was established in 1993 to promote the works of the musical theatre composer and lyricist in the UK and elsewhere, and to build an appreciation and interest in them. The Society has a number of patrons connected to the world of musical theatre, including Sondheim himself. Their work includes running a website and forums dedicated to Sondheim, sharing news of performances of Sondheim’s shows and arranging trips to see them, and publishing a magazine on Sondheim’s work. They also run an annual competition for student performers, the Stephen Sondheim Society Performer of the Year awards (or SSSPOTY), as well as organising other events such as an annual garden party. As part of their aim to educate others on the work of Sondheim, the Society has built up an archival collection relating to him and his work. The core of the Collection was formed by antiquarian bookseller Peter Wood which was then passed to the Society, and it has since continued to be added to. The Archive will continue to grow as more items are collected.


Scope and content/abstract:

The Stephen Sondheim Society Archive documents the life and work of musical theatre composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. The core of the collection was collected by antiquarian bookseller and Sondheim enthusiast Peter Wood- his collection later passed to the Society. Additional material has been added since, filling in gaps in the Peter Wood collection and documenting productions and publications that have occurred since it was transferred to the Society.

Both parts of the Collection contain a range of material on Stephen Sondheim and his work- notably programmes, leaflets, posters and press cuttings. There are also journals, books, audio visual material and collectables. The Collection dates from Sondheim's earliest work to the present and will continue to be added to as his works continue to be performed. There are also documents relating to the work of the Society itself, notably the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year awards (SSSSPOTY).

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
Mainly English, with a small amount of material in German and French.

System of arrangement:

The collection is split into two sub-fonds- the Peter Wood Sondheim Collection and the Stephen Sondheim Society Additional material. The Peter Wood collection is being kept in its original order (ie by format), the additional material has been arranged by theme and show.

Conditions governing access:

The collection is able to view by appointment in the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections search room.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copying is restricted due to copyright law and to protect the physical condition of the items. Please refer any requests for copies to a member of staff.

Finding aids:

Full catalogue listings of the archival material are being added to our Archives catalogue at Catalogue listings for the books and audio visual material will be added on to our library catalogue at

Archival Information

Archival history:

The core of the Stephen Sondheim Society's archive is formed by the Peter Wood Collection. The Peter Wood Sondheim Collection was collected by bookseller Peter Wood over many years, it then passed to the Society in 2008 and has been held by its committee since. Additional material has since been collected by various members and collated by the Society's secretary. The Collection is now held by Kingston University Archives and Special Collections.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Kingston University Archives and Special Collections are storing and giving access to the material on behalf of The Stephen Sondheim Society.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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