Melcena Burns Denny was a member of the San Diego Writers' Club, the Authors' League of America, and the Dramatists' Guild. She was a native of California and a graduate of San Jose State Teachers College. In addition to her short stories and poems purchased by Collier's, Woman's Home Companion, and Youth's Companion magazines, Denny was the author of two plays, "Black Bart, The Lone Robber of Calaveras" and "Lola Montez, The Spider Dancer."
Scope and Content
This small group consists mainly of materials dealing with the production of Denny's two plays. There are multiple copies of each of these plays, but each has slight variations. "Black Bart, The Lone Robber of Calaveras" was performed at California's First Theatre by the Troupers of the Gold Coast in 1946 and 1952, then at the Balboa Park Puppet Theatre in San Diego by the Junior Theatre Summer Work Shop in 1950, and finally in 1961 by the Triangle Club at the three-day Apple Festival in Julian, California. Included are scripts of her play and an essay written by Denny about Black Bart (b. 1829). Her other play, "Lola Montez, The Spider Dancer" was performed at California's First Theatre in 1948 and 1949 by the Troupers of the Gold Coast; and included are scripts of the play, an incomplete short story about Lola Montez (1818-1861), song lyrics, and the music written by Edward C. Hopkins.