MLC Book Anniversary: The Straw Market


William Jay Smith’s The Straw Market


Today–March 1st—marks the original release date for William Jay Smith’s comedic play, The Straw Market.

The Straw Market premiered in 1966 at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, where Smith was then serving as a writer-in-residence.


World Premiere announcement for The Straw Market

This satirical play revolves around the lives of naïve expatriate American artists living in Florence shortly after World War II.


William Jay Smith with one of The Straw Market‘s original cast members

The play was directed by New Yorker Harold Stone, who was then known for his 1963 off-Broadway production of In White America. The original cast featured actors Tom Lingon and Eleanor Wilson.


Original cast members Tom Lingon and Eleanor Wilson

The Modern Literature Collection includes an extensively edited typescript draft of The Straw Market filled with corrections, marginalia, and other clues into Smith’s creative process. The MLC‘s draft of The Straw Market can be viewed here:


The Straw Market‘s original director, Harold Stone

About the author

Meghan Lamb currently lives with her husband in St. Louis, where she is a fiction MFA candidate with the Washington University Writing Program and a Graduate Assistant with the Modern Literature Collection. She is the author of Silk Flowers (Birds of Lace) and Sacramento (Solar Luxuriance).