Helen Krich Chinoy, 87, a theater historian who collected the views of actors and directors about their crafts and also documented the contributions of women to American theater, died May 24 in Turners Falls, Mass.

The cause was pneumonia, said her daughter, Claire. Her mother had Alzheimer's disease, she said.

Mrs. Chinoy taught at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., for nearly three decades and was the chairwoman of the theater department from 1968 to 1971. But her influence in the world of theater education preceded her arrival at Smith in 1953.

Her book Actors on Acting, written and edited with Toby Cole and published in 1949, was a scholarly collection of writings and interviews by actors from ancient Greece to mid-20th-century America. It became a popular classroom text and remains in print.

Mrs. Chinoy and Cole followed up with another compilation, Directors on Directing, published in 1953, again using the words of the artists themselves.

In 1981, she and a collaborator, Linda Walsh Jenkins, published Women in American Theater, an extensive collection of essays, diaries, and interviews by various writers dealing with the contributions of women to the theater as actresses, directors, playwrights, designers, theater managers, and theater founders.

Helen Krich was born in Newark, N.J., on Sept. 25, 1922, to Ukrainian immigrants. Her father, Benjamin, and his brothers ran an automobile showroom.

She married Ely Chinoy, a sociologist, in 1948. He died in 1975. Besides her daughter, who lives in Madrid, Spain, she is survived by a son, Mike, of Los Angeles, a former Asian correspondent for CNN, and three grandchildren.

- N.Y. Times News Service