- 1823-1947, undated
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
11 linear feet (23 boxes and 146 oversize folders)
The images are of individual minstrel performers and troupes, primarily from American minstrel shows ca. 1830s to 1890s. A variety of formats are included: lithographs, photographs, a few etchings and cabinet photographs, printed clippings, photomechanical prints, 1 tintype, and others. Some prints are hand-colored and images depict performers both in character (in "blackface"), as well as in street clothes. For the most part, sheet music in this series is not complete, but are only covers that were collected for the images of the performers. This series also includes other materials such as photomechanical copies of playbills and broadsides, clippings with images and biographical text, some complete sheet music, programs, manuscripts, and drawings.
The playbill series includes "true" playbills (long sheets, printed on only one side) and also printed advertisements, programs (printed on both sides), and programs with sheet music. Also included are a few photomechanical reproductions of playbills.
Some important groups represented in this collection are: Bryant's Minstrels, Buckley's New Orleans Serenaders, Callender's Georgia Minstrels, Campbell's Minstrels, Christy's Minstrels, Ethiopian Serenaders, Haverly's Minstrels, Ordway's Æolian Vocalists, Thomas Dartmouth Rice, Virginia Minstrels, Virginia Serenaders, White's Minstrels, Wood's Minstrels, many female minstrel groups, as well as many others. This collection also includes materials for American troupes performing abroad. Names for the various groups often changed. The same group might be filed here under different names, depending on what was printed on the playbill or image.
Biographical / Historical
Source: "Minstrelsy, American." Oxford Music Online, 2010.
- I. Images of American minstrel performers and troupes
- ___A. Minstrel images, A-Z
- ___B. Composite images of minstrels
- ___C. Unidentified images of minstrel troupes and individuals
- II. American minstrel show playbills, A-Z
- III. Other materials concerning American minstrel shows
- IV. Large format materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- American minstrel show collection, 1823-1947, undated: Guide.
- Houghton Library, Harvard College Library
- Description rules
- EAD ID
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.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA