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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 444

Samuel Phelps papers


Professional and personal correspondence, scripts, and promptbooks of English actor and theater manager Samuel Phelps.


  • 1835-1886 (inclusive), 1843-1871 (bulk).

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.


1 linear foot (2 boxes)
Contains correspondence, both professional and personal, the bulk being to his wife and children; manuscript actors' sides; promptbooks; printed scripts and part books; writings by Phelps; and miscellaneous material relating to his theatrical career and personal life.

Biographical / Historical

Phelps, a noted tragedian, took over the management of Sadler's Wells Theatre, London, in 1843, and presented a series of major Shakespearean revivals. His productions were notable for their pageantry as well as for Phelps' efforts to restore the Shakespearean text.


Organized into the following series:
  1. I. Correspondence
  2. II. Compositions
  3. III. Personal materials
  4. IV. Theatrical materials.
  5. V. Uncatalogued editions and prompt copies
  6. ___A. Manuscripts
  7. ___B. Manuscript sides
  8. ___C. Printed part books and acting copies
  9. ___D. Promptbooks
  10. ___E. Editions and lightly marked copies
  11. ___F. Addenda

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2003MT-145. Source unknown.
2016MT-81. Gift of Jane and Bernard McNamee and family, 2017 June.

Processing Information

A portion of this collection is uncataloged (Series IV-V).
Link to catalog
Phelps, Samuel, 1804-1878. Samuel Phelps papers, 1835-1886 (MS Thr 444): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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