The Melvyn B. Helstien papers consist of slides, diapositives, pen & ink illustrations, correspondence, articles, newsletters,
manuscripts, bibliographic materials, journals, photographs, slides, index cards, and essays produced and collected by Dr.
Melvyn Helstien. The materials are from Afghanistan, Africa, Argentina, Armenia, Asia, Australia, Bali, Belgium, Borneo, Burma,
Cambodia, Canada, Ceylon, China, Cuba, the former Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland,
Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Java, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Guinea, Norway, Pakistan, Poland,
Puerto Rico, Rumania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United States, Venezuela, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia.
Dr. Helstien, professor of theater arts, was a leading force in UCLA's Department of Theater from 1948 until his death in
1990. The focus of the collection is on international puppetry with strengths in Southeast Asian puppets and puppets from
Melvyn B. Helstien was born in Denver, Colorado on the 2nd of February 1920. He received his BA from the University of Washington
in 1947 and his MFA from the Yale School of Drama in 1948. In 1962, Dr. Helstien earned his Ph.D in theater at the University
of Minnesota. He taught at UCLA in the Department of Theater Arts from 1963-1986. He served as the department Vice-chairman
from 1971-1973 and again in 1981 until 1985. During his thirty-eight year career, he directed, produced, designed or performed
in dozens of UCLA theatrical productions; lectured, and wrote with a focus on puppetry. In 1976, Dr. Helstien curated the
exhibit Asian Puppets: Wall of the World, as well as writing chapters in its accompanying catalog for the Museum of Cultural
History. He was a member of the board of directors for the Union Internationale des Marionnettes (UNIMA-USA). Dr. Helstien
died on March 6, 1990.