Summary Information
Title: Cap and Gown Club Records
Collection Number: CTC.1980.01
Creator: Cap and Gown Club (Pittsburgh, Pa.).

Collection Dates: 1908-1978
Extent: 0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)

Language: English

The University of Pittsburgh's Cap and Gown Club was an all male organization that annually wrote and produced a varsity musical comedy show. The Club produced 36 shows between 1908 and 1947, the annual sequence interrupted only by World War II. Their records consist primarily of programs, which are supplemented with clippings, photographs, miscellaneous correspondence, and club minutes. Digital reproductions of the Cap and Gown programs and photographs are available online.

ULS Special Collections Department
University of Pittsburgh Library System
Hillman Library, Room 363
3960 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
Date Published:

June 2009

Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Druga.
Revision Description:
August 2011:
Added links within finding aid to access content selected for digitization.


Pitt’s Cap and Gown Club was an all male organization devoted to the production of annual varsity musical comedy shows. Founded in 1908, it eventually became the most popular non-athletic activity on campus. The Club produced a total of 36 shows through 1947, halting their activities only for four years during World War II. The Graduate Cap and Gown club, which supervised the productions, was officially incorporated in 1928 although it had been in existence for some years before. This group was officially dissolved in 1978. All Cap and Gown productions were written and produced by Pitt undergraduates and alumni. Only undergraduates made up the casts and chorus. Gene Kelly, CAS ’33, was an undergraduate member, and served as the Club’s dance director for several years after graduating. Regis Toomey, ’21, was another member who went on to a successful theatrical career. The Cap and Gown Club also produced two songs that became University standards, “Hail to Pitt” (from 1910's Here and There) and the “Pitt Victory Song” (from 1938's Pickets Please).

Collection Scope and Content Notes

The records of the Cap and Gown Club consist primarily of production programs, arranged chronologically, with related material such as clippings, photographs, etc., of which there is little, filed with the appropriate program. A few of the programs contain music. Programs from the 1911 and 1919 shows are missing. Additional material includes photocopies of various articles on the Cap and Gown Club from The Pitt Panther, miscellaneous correspondence and memorabilia, and the final club minutes of 1978.

Subject Terms

  • Actors and actresses -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • College theater -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Student activities -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • Cap and Gown Club (Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • University of Pittsburgh.

Personal Names
  • Kelly, Gene, 1912-1996
  • Toomey, Regis, 1902-

  • Pittsburgh (Pa.)

  • Theater programs

  • Theater

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

Materials collected by Special Collections staff during the 1960s and 1970s. Additional items donated by Ardis Jones Blenko in May 1980 and Stephen Witmer in December 2010. The music score for 1937’s Trailer Ho by John Stephens donated by his widow Lenore Stephens in May 2009.

Alternate Format:

Digital reproductions of the collection are available electronically. Links to digitized images of the individual programs are available in the Collection Inventory; selected photographs were scanned and added to the University of Pittsburgh Historic Photographs collection.

Custodial History:

Some of the materials were transferred from the University Archives in September 1981 to supplement those already held in the Curtis Theatre Collection.

Preferred Citation:

Cap and Gown Club Records, 1908-1978, CTC.1980.01, Curtis Theatre Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

Previous Citation:

Cap and Gown Club Records, 1908-1978, CTC.06, The Ford E. and Harriet R. Curtis Theatre Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Special Collections Staff.


The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.

Related Material:

Further materials are located in the G. Norman Reis Papers, 1909-1946, CTC.1985.02, Curtis Theatre Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh, and in University Archives, 0/3/1 Box 14 Starrett Historical files FF 79.

See also the Merriman Scrapbook Collection for the following programs: All to the Point (1933), 28:1:39-40; In the Soup (1935), 28:1:68-69; Pickets, Please (1938), 28:2:49-50; and At Your Service (1939), 28:2:63.

Collection Inventory

Box 1
Folder 1 In Wupland, 1908
Folder 2 When Pitt Was Young, May 14, 1909
Folder 3 Here and There, May 12, 1910
Folder 4 Cupid's Capers, May 15, 1912
Folder 5 Prince of Sham, April 1913
Folder 6 The Little Suffragette, March 1914
Folder 7 The Maxixe Girl, February 1915
Folder 8 Suite Sixteen, February 1916
Folder 9 Dr. Divorce, January 16, 1917
Folder 10 Vaudeville show, March 1918
Folder 11 The Diamond Girl, May 1920
Folder 12 Done and Undone, April 1921
Folder 13 Bound in Morocco, April 1922
Folder 14 Leave it to Marian, May 1923
Folder 15 All in a Day, May 1924
Folder 16 Castles in Spain, May 1925
Folder 17 The Red Moon, May 1926
Folder 18 Miss Mannequin, 1927
Folder 19 Mary-Grow-Round, May 1928
Folder 20 Yip-Yip, May 1929
Folder 21 Manhattan Preferred, April 1930
Folder 22 What's Up, April 1931
Folder 23 The Silver Domino, 1932
Folder 24 All to the Point, 1933
Folder 25 Hello Again, 1934
Folder 26 In the Soup, May 1935
Folder 27 Out for the Count, 1936

Box 2
Folder 1 Trailer Ho, 1937
Folder 2 Trailer Ho - music scores, 1937
Folder 3 Pickets Please, 1938
Folder 4 At Your Service, 1939
Folder 5 Snap Your Fingers, April 1940
Folder 6 Snap Your Fingers - music scores, 1940
Folder 7 Head Over Heels, April 1941
Folder 8 Kilroy is Here, December 1946
Folder 9 Mabel's Fable, 1947
Folder 10 Cap and Gown Club History
Folder 11 Meeting minutes, 1963, 1978
Folder 12 Correspondence, 1908-1947
Folder 13 Miscellaneous