Monte Cristo Cottage Curators


Sally Thomas Pavetti

Curator Emeritus, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and Monte Cristo Cottage Museum and Library

Sally Pavetti educated the Cottage's docents and aids in the ongoing restoration and preservation of O'Neill's childhood home. Ms. Pavetti served as curator for the O'Neill beginning in 1966 when the Center established the Liebling-Wood Library (In honor of William Liebling and Audrey Wood) and collection. She became curator for the Monte Cristo Cottage in 1972 when the Registered National Historic Landmark was purchased and restored by the O'Neill.

Ms. Pavetti organized numerous O'Neill-related exhibitions, first at the O'Neill and later at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum and as far abroad as Russia, through the American Soviet Theater Initiative.

Ms. Pavetti served as a consultant for many public television and documentary films on Eugene O'Neill, including "The Irish In America" (PBS), "Sea Mother's Son," produced by Lumiere Productions and starring Matthew Modine, "Glory of Ghosts" (PBS), and "American Masters: Eugene O'Neill" (PBS) directed by Ric Burns.

Ms. Pavetti graduated from Wellsley College and Yale University. She studied theater collections with George Freedley at Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts and was a board member of the Theater Library Association, a commissioner on the CT Arts Commission, and a founder and board member of the Eugene O'Neill Society. In addition, Ms. Pavetti was a secondary school teacher in Glastonbury, Connecticut and a facilitator for many secondary school teacher programs through the Connecticut Humanities Council.

Ms. Pavetti passed away in May 2016.


Lois Erickson McDonald

Associate Curator Emeritus, Monte Cristo Cottage

Lois McDonald educates the docents at the Monte Cristo Cottage and aids in the ongoing preservation of O'Neill's childhood home. Ms. McDonald lectures and gives presentations to classes and community groups and also consults with theater professionals, scholars and students on O'Neill, his life, work and influence on the contemporary theater.

Ms. McDonald came to the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in 1967, and in 1969 joined curator Sally Thomas Pavetti in establishing the Liebling-Wood Theater Library (In honor of William Liebling and Audrey Wood) and Museum Collection and a seasonal Bookbus (1974-83) at the O’Neill Center.

When the O'Neill purchased the Monte Cristo Cottage, Ms. McDonald shared in the research and coordination necessary for the restoration and renovation of the Registered National Historic Landmark.  She helped lead the organization of "Friends of the Cottage" which raised funds to support the Cottage.  Ms. McDonald co-developed the education program currently used for docents.

Ms. McDonald was co-administrator and presenter for Summer Seminars for Secondary School Teachers from 1985 until 1992, and in 1998.  In 1985, the program was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and brought teachers from throughout the U.S. to New London, in order to study and work with scholars and theater professionals at the Cottage and at the O'Neill’s National Playwrights Conference.  In subsequent years, funding from the Connecticut Humanities Council enabled Connecticut teachers to participate.  She was co-director of fall and spring Cottage lecture series of poetry readings, play readings and discussions including: "Enacting O'Neill," plays influenced by Eugene O'Neill's New London Years; "Dangerous Moments In Modern Drama" and "Changing Images of the American Family."  Ms. McDonald has co-curated exhibitions including: "Eugene O'Neill's Life and Work," "The Face of Genius," "Eugene O'Neill in Sweden" and "Eugene O'Neill, Master American Dramatist" in locations ranging from the Cottage to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum to Russia.  As a researcher and consultant, she has worked with Gene Griessman on The Words Lincoln Lived By, with Simon and Schuster and Barbara and Arthur Gelb on O'Neill: Life With Monte Cristo and with Connecticut College Manager of Arts Programming Robert A. Richter on Touring Eugene O'Neill's New London.

Ms. McDonald was a planner, scholar and facilitator of the first Eugene O'Neill Conference - "Eugene O'Neill's New London: The Influence of Time and Place," sponsored by the Arts Alliance of Southeastern CT and Connecticut College in 2000.  She was a project coordinator for The Eugene O'Neill Celebration in 2001.  She is affiliated with the Arts Alliance, CT League of Historical Societies, Eugene O'Neill Society, Friends of the Connecticut College Library, New England Museum Association and the Theatre Library Association, where she was on the executive board 1983-1988 and served as corresponding secretary from 1995-1998.

Ms. McDonald holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brown University.

Ms. McDonald continues to reside in the New London/Waterford area.