Margaret “Peggy” Clark Kelley


DOB: 9/30/1915 Location: Baltimore, MD
DOD: 6/19/1996          Location: Lexington, GA



  • Smith College, BA in Dramatic Arts (1935)
  • Yale School of Drama, MFA (1938)
  • Assisted numerous designers on and off Broadway including John Koenig, Donald Oenslager, Howard Bay, and Oliver Smith among others.  Assisted Oliver Smith with the lighting for Our Town in 1944 and first received critical notice.

Employment History:

  • Lighting Designer on Broadway for 78 productions (1941-1988).  Notables include:
Brigadoon Bells Are Ringing
Bye, Bye Birdie Flower Drum Song
Auntie Mame The Rose Tatoo
ThreePenny Opera Paint Your Wagon
Pal Joey (revival w/ George Abbott) The Unsinkable Molly Brown
Medea (w/ Dame Judith Anderson) Peter Pan
Kismet Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
The Rape of Lucretia   Dark of the Moon


  • Instructor, Smith College (1967-1969)
  • Instructor, Yale School of Drama (1969-1970)


  • All of Ms. Kelley’s design work and other papers are in the Clark Collection in the Library of Congress. 

Editor’s note: Ms. Kelley is considered particularly important in the history of the Broadway theatre not only because she was among the first women to design on the “Great White Way,” she was also instrumental in the development of Lighting Design as a profession.

USITT involvement and offices held:

  • Founding Member
  • Board of Directors
  • Chair, Membership Committee

Awards and Honors:

  • Elected USITT Fellow (1978)
  • President, United Scenic Artists local 829 (1968)  Editor’s note: Ms. Kelley was the first woman to be elected President of the organization.
  • ·Smith College created the Peggy Clark Kelley Design Prize. This honor is given to outstanding undergraduates that demonstrate extraordinary promise and dedication in the areas of theatrical design.