Name: James F. Hatcher Papers

Dates: 1900-1993 (bulk 1940-1989)

Extent: 23.5 cubic feet

Historical Note: James Franklin Hatcher, Jr., was born in Enterprise, Alabama, on August 9, 1921. In 1943 he graduated from Birmingham-Southern College and then served three years in the United States. He returned to a faculty position at his alma mater but sought further education at the University of Alabama between 1948 and 1950. After receiving his M.A. degree in 1950, he accepted the first full-time speech and theatre position at the Birmingham Extension Center of The University of Alabama. In 1950 James F. "Jimmy" Hatcher established the Town and Gown Theatre. From its first production, Town and Gown, under Hatcher's guidance, gained a reputation for professionalism and quality, and, through Town and Gown, Hatcher gained national prominence in the performing arts community. "Mr. Theatre," as Hatcher came to be known, also gained recognition as director of the annual Miss Alabama Pageant. He was associated with the program from over four decades, having directed his first state pageant in 1947. Success with the production garnered him attention on the national level, and in 1960 he directed the Miss America Pageant in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During the 1960s and 1970s, Hatcher consolidated his position as Alabama's cultural arts leader. Governor George C. Wallace appointed him one of the first directors of the Alabama Council of the Arts in the mid-1960s, and he was director of Wallace’s gubernatorial inauguration in 1971. During this same period, Hatcher held posts with the Alabama Ballet and the Alabama School of Fine Arts, both of which he helped found. Hatcher served as director of protocol for Governor Wallace during his fourth term in office from 1983 to 1987. Summerfest, which Hatcher established in 1985, also occupied much of his time during this period. Retiring as director of UAB Town and Gown in 1991, Hatcher continued to oversee Summerfest and remained active on campus as a special assistant for performing arts to the president of UAB. He died suddenly in Birmingham on March 19, 1993.  Hatcher was buried adjacent to his parents in Enterprise, Alabama.

Scope and Contents: Includes correspondence, news clippings, scrapbooks, screenplays, scripts, sheet music, photographs, travel guidebooks, programs, notes, and ephemera.

Arrangement: Organized into twelve discrete series arranged by material format.

Accession Number: M94-02

Provenance: Bequest of the James F. Hatcher Estate and transferred to the UAB Archives by executrix Norma Warren in 1994.

Finding aid: Printed descriptive guide by William A. Harris, revised by Tim L. Pennycuff and Jennifer L. Beck, available in repository.

Access Points:
Ballet dancers.
Birmingham Little Theater (Birmingham, Ala.).
Governors z Alabama.
Miss America Pageant.
Musical theater z Alabama.
Hatcher, James Franklin, d 1921-1993.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. b Clark Theater.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. b Town and Gown Theatre.
University of Alabama in Birmingham. b Town and Gown Theatre.
Wallace, George C., q (George Corley), d b. 1919.
Wallace, Lisa Taylor.

Document Types

Sheet music.
Travel guidebooks.

Location: Manuscript Stacks

Related Series: PMC16, James F. Hatcher Photograph Collection
University Record Group 45: Town and Gown Theatre

Note: Additional records of Town and Gown Director Hatcher can also be found in Record Group 45, the Town and Gown Theatre Collection.  Material comprising RG45 did not arrive in the UAB Archives until 2014 well after the 1994 arrival of the Hatcher Papers (MC16).  Patrons will want to review material in both Record Group 45 and in Manuscript Collection 16 to obtain a more complete view of Hatcher and UAB’s Town and Gown Theatre.

Physical Condition: Materials have been placed in acid free folders in acid free boxes. Acid free paper has been placed between all photographs.

Overview of Arrangement

Series 1, Alphabetical Subject Files, 1950-1990, 3 c.f.
Series 2, Wallace Administration Files, 1965-1990, .5 c.f.
Series 3, Scripts and Screenplays, n.d., 2 c.f.
Series 4, Sheet Music, 1900-1950, .75 c.f.
Series 5, Programs, 1940-1993, 2 c.f.
Series 6, Travel Materials, n.d., 4 c.f.
Series 7, Printed Materials, 1945-1993, 1 c.f.
Series 8, Photographs, ca. 1910-ca. 1990, 2.25 c.f.
Subseries 1, Personalities, Events, and Organizations
Subseries 2, Wallace Photographs
Subseries 3, Miscellaneous Photographs
Subseries 4, Photographs Originally Framed and Displayed
Series 9, Scrapbooks, 1903-1990, 5 c.f.
Series 10, Ephemera, n.d., 1 c.f.
Series 11, Posters, miscellaneous dates, 1 c.f.
Series 12, Oversize Printed Material and Photographs, n.d., 1 c.f.
Subseries 1, Photographs
Subseries 2, Printed Materials

Total for Entire Collection: 23.5 c.f.

This page created 1999 and last updated May 2020.

Copyright:  The University of Alabama Board of Trustees.