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Jeff Hagedorn papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Coll2008-006

Scope and Content of Collection

The Hagedorn collection consists of three series: (1) Writings, (2) Personal papers, and (3) SYZYGY records. The first series contains scripts, flyers, programs, publicity stills, and reviews, and other materials relating to Hagedorn's stage and video productions of theatrical works. The second series contains his resume, biographical information, correspondence, journals, and professional portfolio. The third series consists primarily of the correspondence of Hagedorn's production company, SYZYGY.


  • 1979-1995



The collection is open to researchers. There are no access restrictions.

Publication Rights

Researchers wishing to publish materials must obtain permission in writing from ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives as the physical owner. Researchers must also obtain clearance from the holder(s) of any copyrights in the materials. Note that ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives can grant copyright clearance only for those materials for which we hold the copyright. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain copyright clearance for all other materials directly from the copyright holder(s).


Jeff Hagedorn was born in Milwaukee, and attended Ripon College and the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater. He also took courses at Marquette, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and United States International University, San Diego. While he initially focused on directing, he soon realized his calling as a playwright. After relocating to Chicago, he became a founding member and resident playwright for the Lionheart Gay Theatre. In 1983, his play, One, became the first publicly produced theatrical work concerning AIDS. Hagedorn provided the play to AIDS organizations across the country as a fundraiser, and in the early years of the crisis benefit performances raised more than $50,000. He also formed a production company, SYZYGY, that went on to revive Chicago's pub theater movement with quick witted plays such as The Layman's Guide to Safe Sex. Hagedorn continued to craft seminal AIDS plays as the crisis progressed, from the desperate search for medication in Crusaders, to the challenges of testing in High Risk Romance, and "safe sex" in Should Have Been A Love Play. SYZYGY actors in Chicago performed a marathon of 11 his theatrical pieces in 12 days in 1988.

In a search for greater opportunities, Hagedorn moved to Los Angeles, continuing his community theater work through Celebration Theatre and his production company, SYZYGY. Hagedorn’s theatrical productions were performed in over 32 cities in the United States, and internationally in Edinburgh, Manchester, and Berlin; in addition, he produced and distributed gay themed videos for a gay audience, including Jerker and Dream Man.

Hagedorn dedicated the last years of his life to preservation of gay and lesbian history, organizing the subject files and updating the database of the International Gay and Lesbian Archives, now ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives.


3.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Scripts, journals, correspondence, flyers, programs, press releases, reviews, research materials, photographic negatives, publicity stills, and other materials, 1979 to 1995, relating to playwright Jeff Hagedorn, his production company, SYZYGY, and his internationally produced theatrical works and video productions.

Acquisition Information

Collection created from materials from box 104-54; materials found in the Jeff Hagedorn, One, and SYZYGY subject files; the Jeff Hagedorn file in the Performing Arts Collection (Coll2007-016), and the Gay and Lesbian Drama Scripts Collection (Coll2008-003).

General Physical Description note

2 records boxes, 1 oversize box, 1 shoebox.

Processing Information

Collection processed from box 104-54; materials found in the Jeff Hagedorn, One, and SYZYGY subject files; the Jeff Hagedorn file in the Performing Arts Collection (Coll2007-016), and the Gay and Lesbian Drama Scripts Collection (Coll2008-003), by Michael C. Oliveira, April 3, 2008.

Processing this collection has been funded by a generous grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Jeff Hagedorn Papers
Michael C. Oliveira
© 2008
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 ONE Archives at the USC Libraries, University of Southern California Repository

909 West Adams Boulevard
Los Angeles California 90007 United States
(213) 821-2771