Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: This Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Eugene O'Neill NHS visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 35 minutes which we have divided into  26 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 1-14 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding his life before and after arriving at Tao House.  Sections 15 - 26 cover the back of the brochure which consists of how Eugene O'Neill changed American drama with some of his early plays, and even more so with the ones he wrote here  at Tao House. Other highlights include quotes from O'Neill.

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OVERVIEW: Eugene O"Neill National Historic Site

Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site, located in California, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 13 acre park is situated just north of Danville at the edge of Las Trampas Wilderness. This park, established in 1976, is just one of the four national park sites in the East bay of San Francisco. Each year many visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that only can be had at Eugene O'Neill NHS. We invite you to explore the park's natural beauty, solitude and majestic views of Mt. Diablo the O'Neill's so cherished in their time here.  For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, please speak to one of our park rangers, information can also can be found at the visitor's center located in Tao House. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure includes quotes, historic photographs, and photographs of artifacts. Most photos are black and white unless indicated as color. The text explains the history of this site where Eugene O'Neill wrote some of his most famous plays, as well as the story of his life and how and why he came here.

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Eugene O’Neill

Eugene O'Neill

 National Park Service

 U.S. Department of the Interior

 National Historic Site

 California
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IMAGE: Eugene O’Neill

Caption:

“I will always be a stranger who never feels at home . . . who must always be a little in love with death.”

Credit:

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Description: 

This black and white photo is of Eugene O'Neill in his 50’s, standing on a brick patio in front of a light colored building. He is tall and thin, with medium-length hair that is graying from the sides. He is wearing a light-colored shirt underneath a medium-colored jacket that is buttoned halfway up and dark pants, with dark house slippers on his feet. He is looking at the camera, almost squinting, and not smiling, with his body slightly turned to the left.  Both of his hands are in his pockets and he looks relaxed.



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The Long Day’s Journey of Eugene O’Neill

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IMAGE: Eugene O'Neill playing a piano

Caption:

Right: Giving one of his rare smiles, O’Neill relaxes at his cherished “Rosie,” an old player piano reputedly from a New Orleans bordello.

Credit:

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Description:

 In this black and white photo, Eugene O'Neill is sitting at an old upright piano with stained glass in it's face. His hands are on the keys and he is smiling turning to the camera. He is wearing a white shirt and dark striped tie and a sweater with light pants.


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TEXT: Susan Glaspell Quote

“The sea has been good to Eugene O’Neill. It was there for his opening. There was a fog, just as the script demanded, fog bell in the harbor. The tide was in, and it washed under us and around, spraying through the holes in the floor, giving us the rhythm and flavor of the sea . . . .”

—Susan Glaspell, of the Provincetown Players

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IMAGE: Tao House

Caption:  

“I have never had a home, never had a chance to establish roots. I grew up in hotels. . . . It’s strange, but the time I spent at sea on a sailing ship was the only time I ever felt I had roots in any place.”

Credit:

National Park Service

Description: 

A color photograph of a large two story white house and yard. It has the appearance of an adobe with two visible chimneys, dark terra-cotta roof tiles and reddish-brown shutters. Red tiles cover the porch area on the ground level underneath the windows. The area around the house has some landscaping bushes and small conifer trees, with one large leaved tree standing alone in the middle of the photograph. In the foreground is a large stone birdbath fountain.



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TEXT AND IMAGES: Birth and early years

Until he came to Tao House in California, America’s groundbreaking playwright had been a wanderer. Eugene O’Neill was born in New York City on October 16,1888, the son of James O’Neill, an actor who, like other major stars of the time, spent his life on extended tours of the country. The young O’Neill was raised in hotel rooms and the wings of theatres. As he grew older, Eugene was sent to Catholic boarding schools and to Princeton University. His growing realization that his father’s considerable talent had been cheapened by repeated performances of the melodrama The Count of Monte Cristo, and his shocked discovery that his mother was addicted to the morphine prescribed for her painful recovery from Eugene’s birth, were realities too great for the young man to endure. He ran from them.


Caption:

O’Neill’s parents Mary Ellen Quinlan O’Neill and James O’Neill. The family’s torturous relationships were at the root of some of O’Neill’s most important work.

Credit:

Mary Ellen Quinlan O’Neill Photo- Eugene O’Neill Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

James O’Neill Photo- Harvard College Library    

Description:

A sepia toned oval photograph of a woman facing forward. It is a portrait. She is wearing a simple light colored, patterned fabric hat with a bow on the left side and a black band at the bottom. It sits high on her brown hair. She is looking into the camera and not smiling. She is wearing a dark dress with a high collar and patterned scarf cascading down each of her shoulders. She is also wearing drop earrings. Her name is Mary Ellen Quinlan O'Neill. She is Eugene's mother.

A black and white portrait of a man in profile. He has brown curly hair and is facing his left. He is not smiling. He is wearing a white collared shirt with short knotted tie, along with a dark suit jacket and vest. He is James O'Neill. He is Eugene's father.


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TEXT AND IMAGES: Illness and Recovery

He ran far—to Honduras in 1909 on a gold-prospecting expedition, to South America in 1910, sailing on one of the declining number of commercial wind-powered ships, and to England in 1911 as a crewman on a passenger ship. He tried to escape by drinking and for a time lived in a flophouse on the Manhattan waterfront. Once he attempted suicide, and in 1912, when he was 24, he fell ill with tuberculosis. In the sanatorium, for the first time, he was forced to pause.

His illness was quickly arrested, but during his convalescence he began to write plays, testing himself in the theatrical world he had long watched from the wings. In the summer of 1916 at Provincetown, Mass., he fell in with a group of amateur actors who staged his short play about the sea, Bound East for Cardiff.

Caption:

O’Neill, left, en route to Honduras in 1909 to prospect for gold.

Credit:

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Description:

A black and white photo of two well dressed young men standing on the deck of a ship looking into the camera. They are grinning slightly. The man on the left is wearing a dark suit and a dark tie. He is a young Eugene O'Neill. His right arm is crooked before him holding a cigarette. The man on the right is wearing a lighter gray suit and dark tie. He is leaning back slightly onto the rail behind him with both hands. Another ship is moored directly behind them.

Caption:

Below: The Wharf Theater in Provincetown, where Bound East for Cardiff was staged in 1916, the first production of an O’Neill play. 

Credit:

Copyright by Leona Egen

Description: 

An old black and white photo of what appears to be a medium size barn on the left of the photo . There are two large, and one small multi-paned windows facing us at the top of the building. There are stairs leading up to the 2nd floor on the left side of the building. On the right is a smaller shed like structure with a steeply slanted roof. That roof slants towards a bay where small boats can be seen in the distance. Both structures are on a large platform supported by many wooden pilings underneath. These buildings are over the water, though near the shore. In the foreground of the photo, at the bottom right, a large dory is seen pulled ashore.



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TEXT: Success as a Pulitzer Winner

His playwriting ambitions were affirmed by its success. Critical and popular acclaim followed rapidly. In 1920 he received the first of his four Pulitzer Prizes for the tragedy Beyond the Horizon, a play that combined the real and the poetic in a way that Broadway playgoers had not seen. Two years later the tragi¬comic ”Anna Christie” won his second Pulitzer Prize.

O’Neill rapidly became known as America’s most exciting dramatist. Actors and scenic designers were taxed by the demands of his imagination, but he was no less demanding of himself. The scope of his plays is wide: Marco Polo’s voyage to China (Marco Millions, 1928); a play of contemporary life using masks in the Greek manner (The Great God Brown, 1926); a nine-act drama in which the characters speak their thoughts aloud (Strange Interlude, 1928, for which he won his third Pulitzer Prize); and a gentle comedy about young love in early-1900s New England (Ah, Wilderness!, 1933). By the time he came to California in 1936, 35 of his plays had been produced. Counting those that remained incomplete or had been destroyed, he had written nearly 60 plays. 


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TEXT: His Nobel Prize for Literature

By 1936, with no clear idea of when or how it would be produced, O’Neill had begun work on a cycle of 11 plays about the history of an American family. Its theme was announced in its title, A Tale of Possessors, Self-Dispossessed. He often had to work on several plays simultaneously, and he craved isolation so his focus on the ambitious project could be undisturbed. In 1936 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. With the stipend, he and his wife Carlotta were able to build the house he came to call his “final home and harbor,” Tao House.

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TEXT: O'Neill's Later Years

During the early years in California, he worked single-mindedly, at times almost desperately, on the historical cycle. But he was plagued with health problems, and the overwhelming task he had set himself was draining him of energy and spirit. After completing A Touch of the Poet he shelved the cycle (he burned two of the plays before leaving Tao House) and in rapid succession wrote the autobiographical plays that rank among the highest achievements of the English-speaking theatre: The Iceman Cometh, Hughie, A Moon For The Misbegotten, and Long Day’s Journey Into Night. For the last play, he received his fourth Pulitzer, awarded posthumously following the New York premier in 1956.

He never completed another play after 1943. A worsening tremor in his hands slowly robbed him of the ability to write, and he found himself blocked when he couldn’t set pencil to paper. With the coming of the war, servants were unavailable, and neither of the O’Neills could drive. Suffering from a rare degenerative disease, O’Neill had to leave his sanctuary and once again move on. In a hotel room in Boston he destroyed the drafts and notes for his unfinished plays. Carlotta said it was like “tearing up children.” Effectively silenced by illness, O’Neill died there in 1953.

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O’Neill at Tao House

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IMAGE: Eugene and Carlotta O'Neill reading

Caption:

Right: Eugene and Carlotta O’Neill spent most evenings reading. The private couple led a quiet life in the cool, dark rooms of Tao House.

Credit:

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Description:

 On the left side of this black and white photo is Eugene O'Neill sitting on a couch. He is in a living room. Behind him is a mirror reflecting the image of the lamp and cabinet beside him. He is reading a book in his lap. He is wearing a tie and grey pin-strip suit. His legs are crossed. In front of him is a coffee table with a pile of books on it.

 In the center of the photo Carlotta O'Neill is sitting in a chair, reading a large magazine in her lap. She has short dark hair and is wearing a polka dot dress with a white collar. The large Asian rug beneath her has many intricate designs on it with a short striped boarder. Behind Carlotta is a bookcase filled with books. To the left of the bookcase is a dark wood cabinet with painted designs. A short carved dark wooden stool is beneath the bookcase, and a tall two section Chinese wooden screen with porcelain inlays of drawings is to the right of the bookcase.


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TEXT AND IMAGE: Eugene O’Neill quote

Caption:

“This is a final home and harbor for me.”

Credit:

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

Description:  

In this black and white photo is Eugene O'Neill sitting at his desk in his study at Tao House. He is sitting in a padded office chair with a pillow at his back. He is turned in profile looking down at the long paper tablet on the desk. He is holding a pencil, but not writing. He is wearing a pinstriped suit and dark tie. His desk is not cluttered and has a small barrel on the upper left corner. It is dark wood with four lightly covered straps on it. There is also a medium modern lamp with a flat metal circle shade, centered before him. On the upper right corner of the desk there is a wooden box with a back slanting front and a small drawer beneath it. It would have held writing supplies.

The two walls of his study one can see, in front of the desk and to the right, are covered with rows and rows of books.


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TEXT: Reasons Why O'Neill Purchased Tao House

Of all the places Eugene O’Neill called home during his restless life, Tao House was the one that held him longest, the refuge where he wrote his last plays. In early 1937 he and Carlotta were living in a San Francisco hotel. “No roots. No home,” Carlotta wrote as they searched for a place to live. Drawn to the privacy and climate of the San Ramon Valley, they purchased a 158-acre ranch near Danville and planned what O’Neill hoped would be his final home.

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TEXT: Asian Cultures and Religions that inspired the Interior Design of Tao House

O’Neill’s interest in Eastern thought and Carlotta’s passion for Oriental art and decor inspired the name Tao House. Taoism is one of the great religious traditions of China. “Tao” (pronounced dow), generally translated as “The Way,” is the term given to the primal reality that gives birth to the visible world. O’Neill was aware of Taoist concepts, some of which paralleled his own dramatic ideas. The sea symbolized for him the “impelling, inscrutable forces behind life which it is my ambition to at least faintly shadow . . . in my plays.”


While O’Neill wrote, Carlotta channeled her own creative energy into the house. Combining a Spanish colonial exterior of adobe-like blocks with an interior of deep blue ceilings and red doors, tiled or black-stained floors, and Chinese furniture, she called it her “pseudo-Chinese house.” Because Carlotta’s eyes were overly sensitive to light, most of the shades were kept drawn. The darkness and the ghostly images reflected by colored mirrors created a shadowy, enclosed atmosphere that unsettled some visitors.

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TEXT: The O'Neills Life at Tao House

Though the O’Neills rarely spent a night away from Tao House and Carlotta often kept people at arm’s length, especially when the “Master,” as she called him, was at work, the couple was far from reclusive. They were visited by relatives, friends, and O’Neill’s old theatre colleagues. O’Neill enjoyed gardening and attending football games, where the intensely private man relished a rare anonymity in the crowd. His health permitting, though, he mostly immersed himself in his plays, working on several at a time. Shut away by thick walls and three doors leading to his study, Carlotta ensuring that his isolation was undisturbed, his creative energy flowed unchecked for days, even weeks at a stretch. He rose early and usually worked uninterrupted from early morning to about 1 pm. After lunch he generally napped, swam in the pool, or walked with Carlotta, though sometimes he worked without break into the night. He also devoted time to his dog Blemie, something of a surrogate child for the couple. In the evenings they usually read or listened to their collection of jazz and blues records.

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TEXT: The Reasons Why O’Neill Seldom Left Tao House

While he was at Tao House, O’Neill refused requests to produce the plays he wrote there. He wanted to complete five of the cycle plays first, and he did not want the others staged until the war was over. During his years there he turned his back on the “show shop,” his jaundiced term for the theatre world, giving himself to “soul-grinding” work on the cycle and transforming his past into the autobiographical plays that made him America’s most important playwright.

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OVERVIEW: Back side of Brochure

The backside of the brochure has a black background with seven black and with photographs of O'Neill, his father, and scenes of actors from O'Neill plays. There is a color drawing of an O'Neill Playbill, and a black and white drawing of a scene from another O'Neill play.

 This text on this side is dedicated to how Eugene O'Neill transformed American drama through the years with his plays. The names of the seven plays are in gold with the year they were produced, followed by quotes about the plays by O'Neill, actors or critics.
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Eugene O’Neill: American Drama Transformed

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TEXT: Eugene O’Neill: American Drama Transformed

In 1930, Sinclair Lewis defined Eugene O’Neill’s place in American culture: “[O’Neill] has done nothing much in the American drama save to transform it utterly in ten or twelve years from a false world of neat and competent trickery to a world of splendor, fear and greatness . . . . [he has] seen life as something not to be neatly arranged in a study, but as terrifying, magnificent and often quite horrible, a thing akin to a tornado, an earthquake or a devastating fire.” Growing up literally backstage in the theatre of his father, O’Neill knew intimately the kind of drama he did not want to write. He was repelled by the hackneyed and melodramatic plots, broad gestures, and overwrought oratory of the American theatre and responded instinctively to the realism and experimental techniques of the European dramatists Shaw, Ibsen, and especially Strindberg.

O’Neill believed that the theatre should be taken as serious art rather than pleasant diversion. He wanted to pull in his audiences, make demands of them, commit them to the experience. He freely used experimental techniques to do so, but always in the service of a fundamental realism. From the start O’Neill was interested in the inner drama of his characters more than their physical or social world, and he evoked psychological states through powerful metaphorical settings. His innovations and revivals of ancient techniques were legion: masks and other expressionist devices, great length, the casting of black actors, taboo subject matter, extended asides with the action frozen, and serious dramatic treatment of the poor and powerless.


 
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IMAGE: Eugene O’Neill’s father James O’Neill

Caption:

O’Neill’s father James O’Neill in his most famous role, The Count of Monte Cristo, in 1900. After seeing O’Neill’s first play, he said, “Yes, yes, I think the boy has something in him.”

Credit:

New York Public Library


Description:

 In this black and white photo cut-out, is a middle-aged man with short white hair glaring intensely at the camera. He is wearing a white shirt with a dark vest and pants. He is in the process of rolling up the right sleeve of the shirt with his left hand. His right arm is out at an angle from his body, he is holding a dagger in his right hand.
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TEXT: O'Neill's Experiment with Plays

 O’Neill’s experiments, his unblinking look at raw, sometimes ugly truths were theatrical blows in a broader cultural revolution. He worked during a time of radical change and cross-fertilization in the arts, sciences, and social thought. Modernists like Brecht and Artaud in the theatre; Joyce, Woolf, and Eliot in fiction and poetry; Stravinsky and Schoenberg in music; and Picasso and Kandinsky in painting were breaking with old assumptions and conventions. O’Neill was in the thick of this movement to, in Ezra Pound’s words, “Make it new.”


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TEXT: O’Neill aspired to the tragic

Above all, O’Neill aspired to the tragic. He was challenged by Greek and Elizabethan tragedy and by what he termed the “first theater that sprang, by virtue of man’s imaginative interpretation of life, out of his worship of Dionysius.” His great achievement, in plays like Desire Under the Elms and Mourning Becomes Electra, was to forge native materials into true American tragedy.

For all O’Neill’s disdain for his father’s theatre, the “tricks” he had absorbed in his youth continued to emerge in his mastery of staging and his adaptability to the practical demands of the theatre. Even some of what he considered the less desirable characteristics of the old school colored his work. In critic Heywood Broun’s words: “In many external things, O’Neill is a pioneer. . . . But he is still the true son of the man who played The Count of Monte Cristo more than a thousand times. . . . Heredity has left in O’Neill the actor’s greediness for every last potential twist and turn in any given situation.” O’Neill himself said of the leading role in A Touch of the Poet: “What that one needs is an actor like Maurice Barrymore or James O’Neill, my old man. One of those big-chested, chiseled-mug, romantic old boys . .

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O'Neill's 1920s and 1930s plays

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TEXT AND IMAGE: The Emperor Jones 1920

“A persistent drumbeat punctuates The Emperor Jones, beginning slowly, quickening as scene follows scene, culminating in a headlong prestissimo. . . . You have a feeling of tense expectation . . . you are exasperated and yearn only for relief from the persistent agonizing sound. It is a nightmare.”                                 —London critic, 1924


Caption:

Charles Gilpin (above, at right) was the first black actor given a serious lead role in a mainstream American play.

Credit: 

Museum of the City of New York


Description:

In this black and white photo we see a man reclining on a stage in the foreground. He is shirtless, barefoot and his dark pants come only to below the knee. He is facing the left and leaning on his left arm with his right arm extended up and away from his body. He is pointing. Behind him on the left of the photo, is the dark shadow of a barefoot man with a feathers on his right arm. He is pointing, maybe at the man, or at the shadow of a large alligator head with it's jaws open wide behind the man.


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TEXT AND IMAGE: “Anna Christie” 1920

 “I wanted to have the audience leave with a deep feeling of life flowing on, of the past which is never the past—but always the birth of the future. . . . It would have been so obvious and easy to have made my last act a tragic one. . . . It would not have been true. They would act in just the silly, immature compromising way that I have made them act . . . a bit tragically humorous in their vacillating weakness.” —O’Neill’s response to critics

Caption:
Playbill for 1977 production of ”Anna Christie,” with Liv Ullmann in the leading role. 

Credit:
Poster by James McMullan 


Description: This is a color drawing of a Playbill. At the top is the name of the actress Liv Ullmann, playing the lead role. Underneath is the play title "Anna Christie", then under that, "By Eugene O'Neill"

The drawing itself is of a young woman wearing a long green dress in a brown hat with feathers on it. She is sitting at a white table and touching a drink with her left hand. Her right arm is across her chest, with her hand just under her left shoulder. Half her face is shadowed by her hat, but she is looking up at nothing in particular and seems to be lost in thought.

Across the bottom of the Playbill it says "Imperial Theatre" in block letters.

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TEXT AND IMAGE: The Hairy Ape 1921

Hell in de stokehole? Sure! It takes a man to work in hell. . . . Steel, dat stands for de whole ting! And I’m steel, steel, steel! —Yank, from the play

“The subject here is the same ancient one that always was and always will be the one subject for drama, and that is man and his struggle with his own fate. The struggle used to be with the gods, but is now with himself, his own past, his attempt to belong.” —O’Neill

Caption:

The tragic figure portrayed by Louis Wolheim (standing) suggested new territory for American dramatists.

Credit:

Museum of the City of New York


Description:

In this black and white photo are eleven men sitting in a circle, most are shirtless. All the men are looking at the large shirtless man in the center. His hair is curly and he is brawny and tall. He is turning toward the camera facing left. His left arm is held before him as he speaks to the men.



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TEXT AND IMAGE: Desire Under the Elms 1924

“What I think everyone missed in Desire is the quality in it I set most store by—the attempt to give an epic tinge to New England’s inhibited life—but, to make its inexpressiveness practically expressive, to release it. It’s just that— the poetical vision illuminating even the most sordid and mean blind alleys of life.”—O’Neill’s response to critics

Caption:
O’Neill’s set for the first production of Desire Under the Elms.

Credit:
Museum of the City of New York

Description:

 A black and white photo of the backside of a two story house whose second floor walls have been removed to reveal two small bedrooms and three people. The bedrooms are divided in the center with a thin wall. Each room has a door to it on either side of the wall. They are devoid of any decoration. 

On the let side, a young man sits at the end of a bed with his hands crossed. He is staring at the wall which separates the two rooms. On the right side, a young woman and an old man sit on the side of a bed together. She is wearing a long white dress and is also staring at the wall which separates the two rooms. The old man is sitting hunched on the side of the bed, he is staring at the floor.

 The first floor is the outside of the house with one window on each side. The window on the right is shuttered closed. There is a long pile of cut firewood below both windows at the bottom of the photo. 
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TEXT AND IMAGE: Mourning Becomes Electra 1930

“Is it possible to get a modern psychological approximation of the Greek sense of fate . . . which an intelligent audience of today, possessed of no belief in gods or supernatural retribution, could accept and be moved by?”—O’Neill

Caption:
Drawing of scene from 1947 film of Mourning Becomes Electra


Credit:

Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library


Description:

A black and white drawing of a woman in a long black dress standing in the foyer of a large house at the bottom of a stairwell. There are rugs on the wide paneled floor. There is a double doored entryway to another room behind the woman and a lit lamp on the wall at the bottom of the stairs. In the foyer there are two small tables, another lamp, a loveseat and a hall tree.

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The Iceman Cometh 1940

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The Tao House Plays

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TEXT AND IMAGE: The Iceman Cometh 1940

It’s the No Chance Saloon . . . Bedrock Bar, the End of the Line Cafe. . . . Don’t you notice the beautiful calm in the atmosphere? That’s because it’s the last harbor. No one here has to worry about where they’re going next, because there is no farther they can go. —Larry Slade, from the play

“Lord knows the characters talk too much. . . . But it is good talk—racy, angry, comic drumbeats on the lid of doom.” —Critic Brooks Atkinson, 1946

Caption:
Jason Robards (right) and Farrell Pelly in The Iceman Cometh, 1956.

Credit:

Yale University Library, The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld 

Description:

In this black and white photo we have the two actors Farrell Pelly (left) and Jason Robards (right). They are sitting at a small rectangular table with a checked tablecloth. On it is a bottle and two glasses of brown liquid.

Mr. Pelly is an older man in his 60's or 70's. He is bald on top and gray on the sides. He is wearing a dark suit, white shirt and dark tie. He is holding one of the amber filled glasses lightly with the three fingers of his right hand. His face is full of hopeful expression with his eyebrows arched up, eyes wide, and a slight smile on his face. He is looking up and off into the distance. He is leaning toward the second man. This man is more youthful in appearance. He is wearing a white pork pie hat pushed onto the back of his head. He is wearing a grey pinstriped suit, white shirt and striped bow tie. Like the other man, he is also wearing and expression of hope and looking up and off into the distance. He is also turning to the left, has his left arm extended and gesticulating at something unseen with his left hand.

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TEXT AND IMAGE: Long Day’s Journey Into Night 1941

“This play of old sorrow, written in tears and blood.” 

—From the dedication to Carlotta O’Neill

“At the final curtain, there they still are, trapped within each other by the past, each guilty and at the same time innocent, scorning, loving, pitying each other, understanding and yet not understanding at all, forgiving but still doomed never to be able to forget.”

 —O’Neill on the characters, who were based on his family

Caption:
(From top, clockwise) Fredric March, Jason Robards, and Bradford Dillman in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, 1956.


Credit:

Hampden-Booth Theatre Library, New York

Description:

 In this black and white photo we have three men. One of the men stands behind two men sitting at a table. The standing man is older with hair gray on the sides and dark on top. He looks to be in his 60's. He is wearing an ornate smoking jacket with a wide quilted dark collar over a darker vest, dark tie and white shirt. The design of the jacket looks flowery, but masculine. It has a corded belt tying it shut. His left arm is cocked with that hand resting below his left hip. His right arm is extended out to the back of one man's chair. He is gripping the back of it. The expression on his face is a combination of disgust and exasperation. He is looking down at the sitting man in front of him. That man is wearing a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His left arm is barely lying on the table before him, with four of his fingers dangling off. He is bent over at the waist with his forehead on his right forearm draped across his right leg. On the table before him are five playing cards and a glass half full of a dark liquid. The last man is sitting at the standing mans left. He is a young man in a dark suit, white shirt with collar opened and a pulled loose wide striped tie. Before him is a labeled glass bottle half full of dark liquid. His head is thrown back in laughter, with his eyes closed and mouth open to reveal his top row of teeth. His right arm is leaning on the table with his hand made into a fist. It appears he is striking the table with that fist, as an emphasis to something he finds funny.
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TEXT AND IMAGE: The Tao House Plays

At Tao House, Eugene O’Neill finally wrote the plays that had been germinating for years, tapping painful memories and working them into compelling theatre. It meant reopening old wounds. Carlotta O’Neill remembered her husband emerging from his study red-eyed and gaunt after working on Long Day’s Journey Into Night. His remark that “There are moments [in The Iceman Cometh] . . . that suddenly strip the secret soul of a man stark naked . . . .” reflected his own need to forgive and ask forgiveness. The five plays that O’Neill wrote at Tao House include the life studies generally regarded as his finest achievement, works of profound compassion, elegies of pity and absolution.

Caption:
None

Credit:
The Estate of Edwin Blumenfeld


Description:

In this black and white photo is Eugene O'Neill sitting sideways in a wooden chair. His left leg in front of the chair, his right on the side of it. He is wearing a dark pinstripe suit, white shirt and dark tie and dress shoes. His right arm is resting on the top of the chair, and his right hand is gripping the top edge. His left arm crosses his left thigh, leaving his left hand dangling. He is looking up at the camera with his eyes, his face is impassive.

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

The National Park Service is dedicated to make all National Park sites accessible in all ways for all visitors. Our visitor centers offer free large print and Braille guides to Eugene O'Neill National Historic Site. The first floor of Tao House is accessible to wheelchairs. Water fountains and picnic tables are accessible for wheelchairs. Vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts. The park also has a wheelchair for visitors to borrow if needed. First and second floor tours of Tao House are available on video with captions.

We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For more information about our services, please ask a ranger, call, or check on our website.




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OVERVIEW: More Information

Visits to the site are by reservation only.

For Your Safety:  Be alert for uneven walking surfaces and stairs
on the tour route.

Address:

Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site

P.O. Box 280, Danville, CA 94526


Phone number:  

925-838-0249

Website:

www.nps.gov/euon


Additional links:

Eugene O’Neill National Historic Site is one of 417 parks in the National Park System. Visit www.nps.gov to learn more about parks and National Park Service programs in America’s communities

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Directions

Visits to the site are by reservation only.

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Phone number

925-838-0249

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Website

www.nps.gov/euon

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Additional links

www.nps.gov

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