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William Inge Collection is the Largest of Its Kind

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The William Inge Collection is the largest of its kind, located at Inge's alma mater, Independence Community College. In 1969, Inge donated to ICC the original manuscripts of his plays Picnic; Come Back, Little Sheba; Natural Affection; and Splendor in the Grass; and in 1976, his sister, Helene Inge Connell, game the playwright's personal collection of more that 1500 volumes to the college. In 1980, she included Inge's private record collection.

The official opening of the collection was in 1981, and since that time, it has grown to become the largest William Inge collection in the world, including more than 400 Inge manuscripts, including plays, screenplays, one-act plays, short stories and novels. Researchers and pilgrims can find early versions of plays that were revised until they became recognizable to us, with Farther Off From Heaven evolving into The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, and Front Porch, which became Picnic, as well as the one-act play People in the Wind, which was expanded and revised until it became the play we know as Bus Stop.

Among the many treasures to be found are interviews with Inge, correspondence, movie memorabilia from the film versions of Inge's plays, and even a selection of drawings and watercolors created by the playwright.

The Inge Collection is in the process of being relocated within Independence Community College, and so it is currently unavailable to visitors, but plans are to re-open in April 2016.

Sanda Moore Coleman received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1991. Since then, she has been the arts and community editor for The Martha's Vineyard Times, a teaching fellow at Harvard University, and an assistant editor at Image. In 2011, she received the Maureen Egan Writers Exchange prize for fiction from Poets & Writers magazine. She has spent more than 30 years performing, reviewing, and writing for theatre.