The American Comedy Archives at Emerson College was founded in 2005 with the purpose of collecting, preserving, and providing access to primary source materials that document the professional activities of groundbreaking writers, producers, and/or performers comedy for radio, television, motion pictures, or live performance. 

Bill Dana

The American Comedy Archives project was a passion for Bill Dana, a 1950 Emerson graduate with a distinguished career in comedy as a performer, writer, and producer.

Oral Histories

Between 2005 and 2007, Emerson College Archives staff members worked with Bill Dana to create over 60 oral histories with some of the most well known names in Comedy. In the 2010s, a new partnership with the Television Academy Foundation's The Interviews: An Oral History of Television and the Center for Comedic Arts was established to produce new interviews. We are now placing these oral histories online, along with all available transcripts. The current selection of interviews includes those with Weird Al Yankovic, Betty White, Steven Wright, Carlos Mencia, Hugh Hefner, and Janis Paige.

Collections

The ACA collections contain a wide variety of materials, from letters and scrapbooks to posters and action figures. Together they provide not only a history of the important individuals within the comedic realm over the last one-hundred and fifty years, but also the evolution of comedy as a genre throughout that time. Collections include the papers of Bill Dana, Henry Winkler, Janis Paige, and Dom DeLuise.

Contact & Appointments

The Emerson College Archives are located at:

120 Boylston Street
Second Floor, Room 223
Boston, MA 02116

The Archives are open to students, faculty, staff, and the public by appointment only.

Appointments may be made: Monday–Friday, 9:00 am–4:00 pm. Please note that we close at 2 pm on Fridays during the summer.

To schedule an appointment, please call (617) 824-8301 or email archives [at] emerson.edu