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COLLECTION Identifier: TCS 46

Harvard Theatre Collection theatrical scene prints (visual works)


Contains engravings and lithographs with depictions of theatrical scenes, often prepared as advertisements and commemorative souvenirs for stage productions.


  • circa 1654-1923

Language of Materials

English, French, German, Greek, Italian

Conditions Governing Access

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


7 linear feet (7 boxes and 512 oversize folders)

Contains theatrical scene engravings and lithographs depicting theatrical scenes dating from the mid-seventeenth century through the first decades of the twentieth century. The majority of the prints (visual works) are lithograph posters prepared as advertisements and promotional materials for nineteenth and early twentieth century productions, mostly in the United States. The earlier engravings date from approximately 1654 to the early nineteenth century, and represent productions in the United States, England, France, Germany, Greece, and Italy. The engravings were often created for either promotional or commemorative reasons. While most depict historical productions, some may also depict scenes from plays as imagined by the artist rather than based on a physical production of a play or work.

Earlier in the custodial history of these materials, TCS 46 included mainly the earlier materials; the majority of the nineteenth and twentieth century lithographs were maintained as a separate collection, and they have been integrated at the time of processing.

Biographical / Historical

The Harvard Theatre Collection was founded in 1901 through the efforts of Professor George Pierce Baker, and collects documentary materials pertaining to the history of the performing arts, including theatre, dance and ballent, and opera and musical theatre, among other areas. Theatrical scene prints (visual works), including both engravings and lithographs, have been collected throughout the history of the Harvard Theatre Collection, and range from seventeenth through early twentieth century productions.


Oversized materials are arranged in alphabetical order by production title. Boxed materials have not yet been processed, but are loosely organized in alphabetical order by production title.

Physical Location

b, pfd (P1.C2.05.01 - P1.C2.05.04 [Folders 1-148), ppf (P1.C2.05.05-P1.C2.06.01 [Folders 149-512])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts from various donors at various dates. Known acquisition is noted in the file description.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018 September.

Harvard Theatre Collection. Harvard Theatre Collection theatrical scene prints (visual works), circa 1654-1923 (TCS 46): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 September 21
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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