During the years 1880 to 1945, American theatre grew up, moving from entertainment-driven motives and melodramatic formulas to serious confrontations with issues of its time and to an experimentation with forms that would allow those confrontations to be frank and earnest. Many of the playwrights of this time wrote works of lasting significance, while others have impacted the work of contemporary dramatists. This reference is a guide to American theatre during this formative period.The volume includes alphabetically arranged entries for 40 American playwrights active between 1880 and 1945. Included are the most frequently canonized figures, as well as previously neglected women and minority playwrights whose work is a vital part of American theatre history. Each entry includes a biographical overview, a summary of the critical reception of major productions and significant revivals, a critical assessment of the playwright’s career, and a listing of archival, primary, and secondary bibliographic material.