Guide to The M. Meredith "Millie" Hill Collection of Orpheum Theatre and John Eberson Movie Palaces Material

Collection Summary

Title: The M. Meredith "Millie" Hill Collection of Orpheum Theatre and John Eberson Movie Palaces Material
Call Number: MS 2001-6
Size: 8.0 linear feet
Acquisition: Donated by M. Meredith "Millie" Hill.
Processed by: JLY, 12/2001

Literary Rights

Literary rights were granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

The collection consists of reports, financial information, correspondence, clippings, photographs and ephemera all detailing the history and renovation of the Orpheum Theatre. The collection also includes information on John Eberson, the Orpheum Theatre architect, and the renovation process of other historic theaters. The materials in the collection date from the 1920s through the 1990s.

Administrative History

M. Meredith "Millie" Hill was President and CEO of Professional Management Services, a company which focuses on the restoration, leasing, management and operation of historic buildings and commercial properties. She worked closely with the revitalization of the Orpheum Theater since the 1970s and served on the Orpheum's restoration board in several different positions for over ten years.

Series Listing

Series 1 -- Orpheum Theater
Series 1.1 Box 1 FF 1-5 Historic Landmark Designation. This series includes materials documenting the Orpheum Theater as an Historic Landmark on the Local, State and National registers. The series also contains Historic Preservation Certification for the Theater. 1979-1985
Series 1.2 Box 1 FF 6- Box 2 FF 7 Restoration Planning. The files in this series include materials focused on restoration of the Theater including the Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ltd., which includes a biography of M. Meredith "Millie" Hill, Secretary for the group, and an officer's notebook. 1980s-90s.
Series 1.3 Box 2 FF 8-9 Financial Information. The two files in this series include financial information including grant applications, reports and projections. 1990s.
Series 1.4 Box 2 FF 10 - Box 4 FF 4 Images. This series includes photographs, slides and negatives of the Orpheum Theater. Dates are believed to be 1960s-90s. To view historic photos of the Theater see Box 4 FFs 8-10.
Series 1.5 Box 4 FF 5-10 Orpheum History. These files contain historical information and clippings about the Theater, ephemera from Theater productions, and historic photos. 1920s - 1990s.
Series 2 -- John Eberson
Series 2 Box 5 FF 1-3 John Eberson. John Eberson was the architect of the Orpheum Theater and the files in this series include a thesis written about Eberson's theaters, a list of Eberson's drawings, and copies of Eberson's drawings.
Series 3 -- Historic Theaters
Series 3 Box 5 FF 4 - Box 7 FF 3 Historic Theaters. This series includes photographs, books, magazines, videos, and ephemera from other historic theaters used for research purposes by the restoration committee of the Orpheum Theater.
Series 4 -- Oversized
Series 4 Box 8 and Oversized MS Collections Drawers Oversized. These folders contain reproduced copies of Eberson's drawings and blueprints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 -- Orpheum Theater
Series 1.1 -- Historic Landmark Designation
Box 1 FF 1 Historic Landmark: Photocopied correspondence documenting the Orpheum as an historic landmark on the Local, State and National Registers, (1979-1981).
Box 1 FF 2 Historic Preservation Certification: Part 2 Application- draft, (September, 1984).
Box 1 FF 3 Historic Preservation Certification: Part 2 Application- final, (September, 1984).
Box 1 FF 4 Historic Preservation Certification: Part 3 Application, (July, 1985).
Box 1 FF 5 Historic Preservation Certification: Photocopied and original correspondence, (1984-85).
Series 1.2 -- Restoration Planning
Box 1 FF 6 Preliminary Design and Cost Study report, (October 16, 1984).
Box 1 FF 7 Theater Program Surveys report, (August 1984). This report is an analysis of the information collected regarding the Orpheum's needs (based on client response) to be better suited as a performing arts facility. The report also includes a three-phase plan to accomplish these needs.
Box 1 FF 8 Appraisal report of the Orpheum Theater, (January 20, 1986).
Box 2 FF 1 Plan of Action, (August 13, 1986).
Box 2 FF 2 Koch Industries report, (October 13, 1994). This report includes information regarding the Orpheum's soundness of structure, future use, business plan, and estimate of revenue lost.
Box 2 FF 3 Preliminary Rehabilitation Report, (January 23, 1995).
Box 2 FF 4 Dressing Room Rehabilitation Project Manual, (March 1998).
Box 2 FF 5 $4,000,000 Restoration of the Orpheum Theater Case Statement, (1998).
Box 2 FF 6 Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ltd.: Biography of M. Meredith Hill (Millie), organization's Secretary and longtime supporter of the Orpheum Theater. Press Release detailing theater's transfer of ownership to Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ltd., (December 20, 1985). Correspondence requesting Orpheum's inclusion in Preservation News, (1986). News Conference Agenda, (May 29, 1987). Notes from League of Historic American Theaters Annual Conference, (July 14, 1999). Benjamin Moore Paint sample cards.
Box 2 FF 7 Orpheum Performing Arts Centre, Ltd. Officer's Notebook: Includes information on committees, pre-restoration, research, general administrative, ownership documents, history of Theater, bylaws, executive board, and original documents released.
Series 1.3 -- Financial Information
Box 2 FF 8 Kansas Historic Grant: Application for the 1996 Heritage Trust Fund, to be used to repair the Orpheum's roof, guttering and exterior brick. Packet includes grant application, schedule and cost estimate, photocopied photographs, support letters, and other information.
Box 2 FF 9 Financial Reports: Includes financial projections, cost of completed project reports, and repair budget summaries, (1995 - 1999).
Series 1.4 -- Images
Box 2 FF 10 Existing Conditions Photographs. This folder includes a report with numbered descriptions assigned to attached photocopied photographs of the Orpheum's interior, exterior, and fixtures, (September 14-15, 1994).
Box 3 FF 1 Restoration Photo Album Report. The report includes numbered descriptions which correlate with photographs in Box 3 FFs 1 - 2. The report also includes historical information, future actions, volunteer information, identified gifts/donors, statement of services rendered (June 15, 1984), statement of services rendered (August 15, 1984), Kansas City Theater report and publicity information.
Box 3 FF 2 Restoration Photo Album. Photos 1 - 103 that correspond with Restoration Photo Album Report (Box 3 FF1).
Box 3 FF 3 Restoration Photo Album. Photos 104 - 182 that correspond with Restoration Photo Album Report (Box 3 FF1).
Box 3 FF 4 Theater Photo Album. The photographs in this file were removed from an unnamed album and include Orpheum storefronts, office building interiors, penthouse, basement, office building exteriors, roof- both buildings, windows, and replacement windows.
Box 3 FF 5 Theater Photo Album (continued). The photographs in this file were removed from an unnamed album and include replacement windows, Theater interiors, Theater exteriors and other unidentified photos.
Box 3 FF 6 Theater Renovation Projects. The file contains photographs of renovation projects including Dressing Room (February - April 1998), Brick Restoration (February 1998), and the Second Floor Women's Restroom (January - April 1996). The photos are accompanied by photocopied information sheets.
Box 3 FF 7 Loose Photographs. These photographs were found loose throughout the collection. They include photos of the Theater interior and exterior before and during renovation.
Box 3 FF 8 Loose Photographs (continued). These photographs were found loose throughout the collection. They include photos of the Theater interior and exterior before and during renovation.
Box 4 FF 1 Facsimile Photographs. This folder contains photocopied images of Orpheum Theater interior and exterior including the Marquee and laser printed copies of Orpheum Theater exterior and a diagram proposed dressing room improvements (February 1998).
Box 4 FF 2 Slides. These slides include images of the Orpheum Theater's interior and exterior, historic photos of the Orpheum, and names/logos of corporate sponsors.
Box 4 FF 3 Slides. These slides of the Orpheum Theater were done by the Historic Resources Group in January 1996. The images include the interior and exterior of the Orpheum Theater as well as other historic buildings around Wichita.
Box 4 FF 4 Negatives. Negatives for photographs of Orpheum Theater.
Series 1.5 -- Orpheum Theater History
Box 4 FF 5 Orpheum Office Building & Theater History Synopsis, (May 21, 1984). Orpheum Office Building & Theater Historic Synopsis. Orpheum Theater and Vaudeville House Fact Sheet. The Orpheum Theater Vaudeville House and Movie Palace Historical & Architectural Significance.
Box 4 FF 6 Clippings: Typed copy of article found in Wichita Beacon, September 3, 1922. Photocopied clippings from Wichita Beacon, September 3, 1922; Wichita Eagle, September 1, 1960; Wichita Downtown News, January 7- February 4, 1986; Wichita Downtown News, June 1986; Wichita Downtown News, May 1986; Wichita Eagle-Beacon, June 28, 1987; Wichita Eagle, February 14, 1991; unknown source, November 10, 1994; Old Town Gazette, August 1994; Old Town Gazette, September 1994; Wichita Eagle, August 11, 1995; Wichita Eagle, March 9, 1995; Wichita Office Leasing Guide, unknown date.
Box 4 FF 7 Publicity and Ephemera: Playbill (newsletter), December 1985, March 1986; Orpheum Marquee (newsletter), 1995; page from League of Historic American Theaters (newsletter), Spring 1999; Photocopy of Orpheum's first opening program from Wichita Beacon, September 3, 1922; Original Orpheum Program (circa 1920s); (2) Photocopied programs (?) for Galloping Hoofs (circa 1920s); (2) Photocopied photos of dancers (circa 1920s); Flyer advertising "The Gershwin Revue" to be held at the Orpheum (September 1986); Small poster for Orpheum's World War II Movie Marathon (1995); Photocopied program for Orpheum's re-showing of "Gone With the Wind" (circa 1990s); (4) Courtesy Discount Tickets to the Orpheum Theater of Wichita (1932); (3) postcards with drawing of Orpheum (circa 1980s); (2) fund raising brochures (circa 1990s).
Box 4 FF 8 Historic Photos: Exterior of Orpheum; (3) Lobby; (2) Stage; Theater Wall; (2) Ticket Window; Theater Interior; Light Fixture; Snack Bar at Christmas; (2) Neon Marquee, (1953).
Box 4 FF 9 Historic Photos: People and Street Scenes: Including Gladys Martin (Wichitan), unidentified persons with Mickey Rooney, and children on stage as part of Christmas activities.
Box 4 FF 10 Historic Photos: These photos include people or displays promoting the following movies:

Count 3 and Pray; Pete Kelley's Blues; Al Capone; Ten Nights in a Bar Room; Dragnet; Gunpoint!; Invasion U. S. A.; Uranium Fever; Goliath and the Barbarians; The Wild Blue Yonder; Bwana Devil; Come Next Spring; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; The D. I.; Splendor in the Grass; King Kong; Lady and the Tramp; The Greatest Show on Earth; The Guns of Fort Petticoat; The Stranger Wore a Gun; The Charge at Feather River; Walk East on Beacon; The Left-Handed Gun; One Foot in Heaven; Rock Around the Clock; Susan Slept Here; Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter; Ask Prince Ali (photocopy). Other promotional event photographs include: Automobile Give-Aways; Marching Bands; Boy Scouts; Television-Radio-Phonograph Give-Away; Army Simulator; Fox News Poster for Baseball Tournament; and Give-Aways Poster.

Series 2 -- John Eberson
Box 4 FF 11 Eberson's entry from the National Cyclopedia of American Biography. Glitz, Glamour & Sparkle: The Deco Theaters of John Eberson (booklet). The Works of John and Drew Eberson, Architects (booklet).
Box 5 FF 1 John Eberson's Theaters in Texas (Thesis: University of Texas), May 1987.
Box 5 FF 2 List of Eberson drawings that appear in Oversized MS Collections Drawer [See Series 4].
Box 5 FF 3 Copies of Eberson drawings of the Orpheum Theater from the American Terra Cotta Collection, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota, (1995).
Series 3 -- Historic Theaters
Box 5 FF 4 Information: Historic Theater Profiles- Findings from the 1994 Historic Theater Survey; Historical Theater Reincarnation Success Stories; A Folly Theater Chronology; Analysis of Existing Theater Projects.
Box 5 FF 5 Correspondence: October 18, 1984; October 18, 1984; July 12, 1985; December 23, 1986; October 13, 1997; May 25, 1998.
Box 5 FF 6 Clippings: 1984-86.
Box 5 FF 7 Photographs: Includes publicity shots of actors/scenes from older movies, (1) photo of historic theater, and snapshots of Follies Theater in Kansas City, Missouri.
Box 5 FF 8 Publications: Marquee: First Quarter 1974; First Quarter 1978; First Quarter 1991; Third Quarter 1997; Second Quarter 1998; First Quarter 1999.
Box 5 FF 9 Publications: Kino: September 1996; June 1997; September 1997; Summer 1997; Winter 1999; Spring 1999.
Box 6 FF 1 Publications: Assorted: Form & Function, 1983; Boxoffice, May 1984; Historic Preservation, April 1985; The Guarantor, September/October 1986; Los Angeles Historic Theater Foundation Conference Guide, June 1994; Australian Centenary of Cinema (newsletter), June 1996.
Box 6 FF 2 Books: The Midland Theater- Kansas City, Mo. (1979).
Box 6 FF 3 Books: Talking Pictures: Images of Old Wichita From the 20s to the 50s, 1988.
Box 6 FF 4 Books: Movie Palaces: Renaissance and Reuse, 1982.
Box 6 FF 5 Books: The Picture Palace and Other Buildings for the Movies, 1969.
Box 6 FF 6 Books: Cathedrals of the Movies: A History of British Cinema and Their Audiences, 1981.
Box 6 FF 7 Books: Ticket to Paradise: American Movie Theaters and How We Had Fun, 1991.
Box 7 FF 1 Videos: The Movie Palaces, 1988; Once Upon a Dream- The Story of Sydney's Capitol Theater, 1996.
Box 7 FF 2 Ephemera: Vintage Programs for Aeolian Hall (New York), 1921-22; Apollo Club (Wichita); Arcadia Theater (Wichita), 1941; Central Theater (New York), Central Theater (New York); Forum (Wichita), 1911; Greenwich Village Theater (New York); Maxine Elliott's Theater (New York); Metropolitan Opera House (New York), 1920-21, 1921-22; The Neighborhood Playhouse of the Henry St. Settlement (new York), 1921-22; Punch & Judy Theater (New York), 1921; 63rd Street Music Hall (New York), 1921. Modern Day Programs for Chicago Theater; Pabst Theater; Rialto Center for the Performing Arts (1997-98).
Box 7 FF 3 Ephemera: Brochures describing restoration work by Conrad Scmitt Studios Inc., including Egyptian Theater (Illinois), Majestic Theater (Texas), Orpheum (Tennessee), Pabst Theater (Wisconsin), Paramount Theater (Texas), Paramount Arts Centre (Illinois), Perot Theater (Texas), Rialto Theater (Illinois).
Series 4 -- Oversized
Box 8 FF 1 Color photocopies of photographs taken by Don Moller shortly after Orpheum's 1976 closing showing the interior of the Orpheum Theater.
Painting of Orpheum Theater.
Box Oversized MS Collections Drawer FF 1 30 x 48 photocopied blueprints: [Sheet No. ?] Details including- Plan of Main Ceiling, Elevation of South Wall of Lobby, Section Thru Mirror, Typical Door Between Lobby & Vestibule, Elevation of North Wall of Lobby, Plan of Balcony of Ceiling, Plaster Ornament (Ceiling under Balcony), Elevation of Foyer Exit Doors, Detail of Foyer Seat, Elevation of Doors Between Foyer and Lobby; [Sheet No. ?] Theater Roof Plan, Section Thru Stage; [Sheet No. ?] Court Elevation of Office Building; [Sheet No. 6] Roof Plan of Office Building; [Sheet No. 10] Exterior Details, Developed Elevation of Corner of Upper Story, Developed Elevation of Corner of Lower Stories, Main Entrance Doors; [Sheet No. 1?] Basement Plan of Theater; [Sheet No. 13] Main Floor Plan of Theater; [Sheet No. 17] Alley Elevation of Theater, Detail of Dressing Room Shelves and Bulkhead Window; [Sheet No. 18] Court Elevation (Theater); [Sheet No. 19] Longitudinal Section of Theater; [Sheet No. 20] Details including- Elevation of Doors, Vestibule to First Street, Ceiling Plan of Vestibule, Plan and Elevation of Box Office, Cross Section of Auditorium, Elevation, Office Partition, Mezz. Floor, Section Thru Stairs; [Sheet No. 24] Foundation Plan of Office Building; [Sheet No. 26] Second Floor Framing Plan; [Sheet No. 27] Roof Framing Plan of Office Building; [Sheet No. 28] Typical Floor Framing Plan of Office Building; [Sheet No. 29] Foundation Plan of Theater; [Sheet No. 30] Stage Gridiron & Mezzanine Plans; [Sheet No. 31] Balcony Framing Plan; [Sheet No. 32] Concrete Girder Details; [Sheet No. 33] Roof Framing Plan of Theater; [Sheet No. 34] Details of Trusses; [sheet No. 35] Heating Plan- Basement of Office Building; [Sheet No. 36] Heating Plan- Attic and Pent House
Box Oversized MS Collections Drawer FF 2 Copy of Blueprints: Key Elevations; Trim at 2nd and 3rd Floors- Round Corner; Parapet at Round Corner.
Box Oversized MS Collections Drawer FF 3 Copy of drawings: Drawings for Parapet at Round Corner, Key Elevations (3 copies), Trim at Second and Third Floor Round Corner. Film negatives for these drawings. Also includes Architectural sketch by T. Weaver of Orpheum Theater's exterior from the front, (1985).