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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 479

Early American playbills


Eighteenth and nineteenth-century printed playbills from American theaters.


  • 1750-1812

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.


3 linear feet (5 boxes and 186 oversize folders)

Printed playbills from American theaters, including Boston Theatre and Federal Street Theatre in Boston, Mass., Front Street Theatre (Baltimore, Md.), Annapolis Theatre (Annapolis, Md.), Portland Theatre (Portland, Me.), Portsmouth Theatre (Portsmouth, N.H.), Providence Theatre (Providence, R.I.), American Circus (Philadelphia) Chestnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia), Chestnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia, Water Street Theatre, City Theatre, Church Street (Charleston, S.C.). Also includes playbills for local circuses.


Arranged in a single alpha-chronological run based on theatre name and date of production.

Physical Location

pfd (P1.C2.06.10 - P1.C2.06.14, P1.C2.06.16 [Folders 1-177, 185, 186]), ppf (P1.C2.06.15) [Folders 178-184]), b (in end processing)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2004MT-132. Various gifts and purchases, various dates.



Early American playbills, 1750-1812: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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