1995 32¢ Tennessee Williams
Literary Arts Series
Issue Date: October 13, 1995
City: Clarksdale, MS
Printed By: Sterling Sommers for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
One of the foremost American playwrights of the 20th century, Thomas Lanier Williams was born March 26, 1911, in Columbus, Mississippi. Williams took the name “Tennessee” while studying theater at the University of Iowa. In 1939 he won a Group Theatre Award for four one-act plays, which were published in 1948 under the title American Blues.
After Williams’ first professional production, Battle of Angels, ended in disappointment, he created the play that would earn him lasting fame in American theater – The Glass Menagerie. Combining semiautobiographical material with innovative stage techniques this play won a New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. His next major play, A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), won a Pulitzer Prize. In 1955 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof earned the writer his second Pulitzer.
Williams’ works expressed mixed feelings of sexual tension, frustration, and suppressed violence, while maintaining a compassionate, and often romantic, atmosphere. Many of the themes he explored were considered strange or shocking for their time. During his long, successful career, Williams wrote numerous plays, some of which were later made into movies, as well as film scripts, short stories, novels, and verse.