Delbert Mann Papers

Identifier: MSS.0007

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Delbert Mann Collection (136 ln. feet), covering the period from 1947 to 1992, is primarily concerned with the professional life and career of American film and television director Delbert Mann. It is comprised of the following series: Production Papers, General Correspondence, Script Reports, Writings, Personal and Biographical Material, Events and Activities, Theatre and Opera Collection, Photographs, Videotapes, and Scrapbooks. The collection is partially unprocessed.


  • 1928 - 1993

Biographical / Historical

Delbert Mann (1920-2007) was an American filmmaker and television director. After graduating from Vanderbilt University and serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II, Mann pursued a master's degree in directing at Yale School of Drama.

One of Mann's most significant contributions to cinema was his role in the New York City Center's television workshops, which aimed to nurture new talent and experiment with the medium of television. It was during this time that Mann honed his directorial skills, setting the stage for his groundbreaking work in both television and film.

In 1955, Mann achieved widespread recognition for his feature film directorial debut, "Marty." This intimate drama, which he had previously directed as a television play, received numerous awards, including the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Director.

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Mann continued to create films that resonated with audiences on a deep emotional level. His films often explored themes of human connection, individuality, and the complexities of relationships. Notable works from this period include "The Bachelor Party" (1957), "Separate Tables" (1958), and "Desire Under the Elms" (1958). For his contribution to the industry, the Director Guild of America recognized him with the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award in 1997 and an Honorary Life Membership in 2002.

Mann's versatility was further demonstrated in his work on television. He directed numerous television series and made-for-TV movies, such as “Heidi” (1968), “David Copperfield” (1969), “Jane Eyre” (1970), “A Girl Named Sooner” (1975), showcasing his ability to tell compelling stories across various formats. Mann's excellence in this field earned him several Emmy Awards. (Julia Khait)


136 Linear Feet (166 Hollinger, 13 Flat boxes, 19 Paige boxes )

Language of Materials



Delbert Mann Collection covers the period from 1947 to 1992 and is concerned with the professional life and career of American film and television director Delbert Mann. Among the documents preserved in the collection, there are production papers, correspondence, scripts, memoirs, photographs, and videotapes.

Physical Location

Offsite Storage, Special Collections & Archives

Finding Aid for the Delbert Mann Papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Vanderbilt University Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Library
1101 19th Ave. S.
Nashville TN 37212 United States


About this Site

This site contains collection guides, or finding aids, to the archival collections held by Vanderbilt University Special Collections and University Archives, the History of Medicine Collection, and the Scarritt Bennett Center. Finding aids describe the context, arrangement, and structure of archival materials, allowing users to identify and request materials relevant to their research.

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