Antoinette Quinby Scudder (1888-1958) purchased a paper mill in 1934 from the Diamond Paper Mill Company that she was to later transform into the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn. The property was located near transportation, possessed colonial charm and great possibilities for enlarging the space. Four years later, the playhouse opened with its first dramatic performance of Sierra’s Kingdom of God.
Scudder and co-director Frank Carrington initially decided to only produce plays. In 1940, the duo made the decision to fill a gap in the summer schedule with a musical. This move was met with great enthusiasm by theater patrons. As a result, the following season was jam-packed with nothing but operettas. The Paper Mill Playhouse thrived from the 1940s through the mid-1950s.
During her early years at the playhouse, Scudder did it all—she fulfilled the roles of playwright, property woman, wardrobe mistress and actor. Her 1930 play The Second Generation won a prize for the best play written by a woman. By 1932, Scudder had written 5 full-length plays and 24 shorter ones.