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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 538

Playbill Inc. Playbill collection


Collection of issues of the performance magazine and program, Playbill.


  • 1924-1985

Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.


18 linear feet (18 boxes)

Issues of the performance magazine and program, Playbill, published by Playbill, Inc.

Biographical / Historical

Playbill is a monthly American magazine for theatergoers available by subscription but primarily printed for distribution at specific shows. Playbill was first printed in 1884 for a theater on 21st Street in New York (N.Y.)., now published in New York for Broadway and off-Broadway productions and in many other U.S. cities. Monthly articles appear in all Playbills distributed everywhere reflecting new shows and performers in plays, musicals, and special attractions; Playbills also contain specific cast lists and biographies, photographs, and song and scene lists printed for the particular show. Playbill Inc. is a privately held company based in New York (N.Y.) and owned by the Birsh family since 1974.


Arranged alphabetically by theater name, then in forward or backward order chronologically.

The number of unique dated issues is noted for each theater, as is the number of dated issues for which duplicates are present.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2007MT-83r. Various gifts received at various times.

Processing Information

Processed by: Dennis Marnon with assistance from Melanie Wisner

Playbill Inc. Playbill collection, 1924-1985: Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
Description rules
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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