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Frank M. Whiting papers

Identifier: ua01060


Collection contains the papers of Frank M. Whiting, Professor and Director of the University of Minnesota Theatre.

Materials include scripts and production records, correspondence, administrative records, materials documenting national and international performance tours, and records related to the founding and the development of the University Centennial Showboat, for which Whiting served as director and captain.


  • 1939-1982


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Note

Born in Wallsburg, Utah in 1907, Frank Whiting began his career in theater as a child with the Charleston Home Dramatic Company. Whiting graduated from Brigham Young University in 1930 and obtained his Masters and Ph. D in Theater from the University of Utah. Between 1932 and 1937, Whiting taught in Idaho and at the University of Utah before coming to Minnesota.

Whiting came to the University of Minnesota in 1937 and initiated changes in the existing Theater Department. He was appointed Director of the department in 1944. In the 1950s, the Theater Department went on international tours to locations such as Brazil, Germany, and Korea, along with more regional tours throughout Minnesota and the United States. Whiting was also involved in bringing the Guthrie Theater to Minneapolis.

In 1957, Whiting initiated a program of theatrical performances on a riverboat known as the Centennial Showboat. The Showboat operated during the University’s Summer Session, and traveled to many locations along Minnesota’s riverbanks including St. Paul, Stillwater, and Red Wing. University Theater students performed in theatrical productions and assisted as crew members. Whiting served as captain of the Showboat from 1958 to 1974.

After leaving the University of Minnesota in 1974, Whiting returned to Utah where he served as the President of The American Educational Theatre Association as well as serving on the Arts committees for U.S. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. After his retirement, Whiting wrote an autobiography, One of Us Amateurs, which details his theater career from his childhood through his time at the University of Minnesota. Frank Whiting passed away on November 27, 1996.


13.75 Cubic Feet (11 boxes)


The collection is organized into series by subject and/or type of material.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives on August 6, 1975. Additional deposits were made in 1975, 1981 and 1998.

Related Materials in the University Archives

Frank M. Whiting papers
Kyle Boeser
June 2005; updated October 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area