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Dr. Morris Binder Playbill Collection

Identifier: spe-t00002

Scope and Contents

The Dr. Morris Binder Playbill Collection consists of programs collected by Dr. Binder throughout his life. Binder had his programs bound regularly along with a typed table of contents that he created. Binder’s playbill collection represents well known and established local theaters like Goodman and Steppenwolf, off-Loop venues like Organic and Pegasus and suburban theaters including Apple Tree, Writer’s and Marriott’s Lincolnshire. Also represented are historical theaters including the Auditorium, Shubert, Blackstone, McVicker’s and Erlanger, as well as programs from high school and university productions he attended. Productions from New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Stratford, Ontario and Europe are also represented.


  • Creation: 1939-2014


Language of Materials Note

Materials primarily in English. Some materials in Czech, French, Italian, Romanian, Russian and Spanish

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Please consult staff to determine ability to reuse material from this collection.

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Morris Binder (1924-2012) was a was a highly regarded physician for over fifty years at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois and former Chief of Medical Staff. When not attending to patients, he was at a performance. As remembered by his second wife, Frances Sales Binder, “What can I say about my husband, Dr. Morris Binder who saved every program of every performance he ever attended since 1939, until shortly before his death! I will treasure his memory as a faithful lover of the theater. His other pleasures were travel, and photography, but the theater was his primary joy.”

Binder kept track of the performances he attended and often made note if a production featured a performer of note or one of his children, Steven, Sheryl and Paula.


9 Linear Feet (in 6 record boxes)


The Dr. Morris Binder Playbill Collection includes bound volumes of theater programs, documenting nearly every performance the physician attended dating from 1939 until his death in 2012. Binder's index and additional programs were also provided by the donor.


The programs were bound into volumes chronologically by the collector, though discrepancies periodically appear and items are occasionally bound out of order or were not listed in the volume’s table of contents. The collection inventory is based on Binder’s table of contents bound into the front of each volume. Items have been listed in the order in which they were bound (primarily chronologically) and only locations are listed for non-Chicago area performances. Loose programs are listed at the end of the collection inventory and include programs collected by the donor after Binder’s death. Bound programs have been boxed as follows to preserve the collection’s leather bindings.

  • Box 1, Volumes 1-10 (1939-1972)
  • Box 2, Volumes 11-19 (1973-1983)
  • Box 3, Volumes 20-29 (1984-1989)
  • Box 4, Volumes 30-42 (1990-1996)
  • Box 5, Volumes 43-52 (1997-2006)
  • Box 6, Loose programs, 1985-2014, undated

Physical Location

Materials are stored offsite and advance notice is required for use. Please request materials at least 24-hours prior to your research visit to coordinate access.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Frances Sales Binder in 2014.

Related Materials

  • Chicago Theater Collection-Historic Programs
  • Chicago Theater Collection-Miscellaneous Programs


Guide to the Dr. Morris Binder Playbill Collection
Processed by Sarah Zimmerman, 2015. Updated and ingested into ArchivesSpace by Sarah Zimmerman, 2021.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Unit at Harold Washington Library Center Repository

Harold Washington Library Center, 9th Floor
Chicago Public Library
400 S. State Street
Chicago IL 60605 United States
(312) 747-4875