Discipline: Literature – nonfiction

Sheldon Cheney

Discipline: Literature – nonfiction
Region: New Hope, PA
MacDowell fellowships: 1920

Sheldon Cheney (1886-1980) was an author, art historian, theater critic, and regarded as one of the most significant figures in the modernist movement in American drama in the 1920s and 1930s. Cheney's writing on the history of theater influenced such personalities as playwright Eugene O'Neill and set designer Robert Edmund Jones. Although Cheney was born in Berkeley, California and died there 94 years later, he lived most of his life on Mechanic Street in New Hope, PA. In 1916, he founded Theatre Arts magazine which was an important voice of the theater in the first half of the century.

His historical work, The Theatre: 3000 Years of Drama, Acting and Stagecraft was recognized as the first comprehensive English-language history of theater. Cheney wrote 13 books on the subjects of theater, art history, sculpture, and architecture. As an art and drama critic for many magazines, his writing included contributions to Encyclopedia Britannica, the New Caravan and Theatre Arts magazine.



Sheldon Cheney worked in the Adams studio.

Given to the MacDowell Association by Margaret Adams of Chicago, the half-timbered, stuccoed Adams Studio was designed by MacDowell Fellow and architect F. Tolles Chamberlin ca. 1914. Chamberlin was primarily a painter, but also provided designs for the Lodge and an early renovation of the main hall. The studio’s structural integrity was restored during a thorough renovation in…

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