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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 1816

British prompt book and theatrical manuscript collection


Collection of chiefly British 17th-20th-century manuscript and printed prompt books assembled by Blackwell Rare Books.


  • circa 1680-2000

Language of Materials

English, German.

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.


5.5 linear feet (12 boxes)
Collection of manuscript and sometimes heavily marked up printed editions of plays, most British but with a few American; many are copies published by Thomas Hailes Lacy or as Samuel French's Acting Editions.

Biographical / Historical

Prompt books are copies of plays used by a prompter, showing action of the play, cues, movements of actors, properties, costume, and plans for scenes and lighting. Often heavily annotated and used, they help to reconstruct the staging of plays.


Arranged chronologically.

Physical Location

Harvard Depository

Immediate Source of Acquisition

2018MT-137. Purchased from Blackwell Rare Books with funds from the Hatch and Sheldon funds, 2018 June.

Processing Information

Processed by Melanie Wisner, 2018.
Processing Information Detailed description of items prepared by the dealer/collector; dealer catalog numbers are listed with items.
Link to catalog
British prompt book collection and theatrical manuscript collection, 1680-2000 (MS Thr 1816): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 June 18
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

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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