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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Thr 1851

Harvard Theatre Collection group and company portrait prints (visual works) and photographs


Contains portraits of theatrical companies and related groups, mainly in print format but with a few black-and-white photographs.


  • 1806-1927

Language of Materials

English, French, German

Conditions Governing Access

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


.75 linear feet (1 box and 43 oversize folders)

Contains mainly prints from the nineteenth century creating as promotions or souvenirs for theatrical companies and their productions and seasons. Many of the prints feature small, individual portraits featured on the same page depicting all company, musical group, or production cast members. Some prints depict seated or standing groups. Further prints appear to be memorializing actors, composers, or other theatrical figures who have died, either in portraits or through images of gravestones. Some of the portraits are also printed within contemporary illustrated periodicals, such as the Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper and the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News.

The few photographs are group portraits of theatrical companies or musical groups, fan groups, and other organizations related to theatrical productions or attendance. One photograph displays portraits of Metro Goldwyn Mayer's film actors. The photographs appear to date from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the first few decades of the twentieth.

Among the companies and groups depicted are: the Barker Family, the Boston Museum Dramatic Company, the Boston Playgoers' Club, Bradley Rulofson's Celebrities, Augustin Daly's stock Company, Dessauer and Dixon's company, the company of various seasons of the Germania Theatre in New York City, several Berlin opera and theatre companies including the Hofburg, the Ioway Indians, the Kook family, Marsh's Juvenile Comedians, Musical McGibeny Family, A.M. Palmer's Stock Company, the Rainer family, the Repertory Theatre of Boston, Rice's Surprise Party, Rusts's Brass Band, the Sunshine Chorus, the Swedish Ladies Quartette, and the Theatre Treasures Club of Boston, as well as others. Other groups include the managers of New York and Brooklyn theatres, the Royal General Theatrical Fund Banquet, J. Estey and Company Reed Organ Manufacturers, and R. Fitzgerald and Company Dramatic Agents.

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 ballet, and opera and musical theatre, among other areas. The group and company portrait prints and photographs have been collected by gift and purchase throughout the history of the Harvard Theatre Collection.


Arranged in alphabetical order by theatrical company or group name, or event or work title.

Physical Location

b (shelved with bMS Thr 1800), pfd (P1.C2.04.15 [Folders 1-37]), ppf (P1.C2.04.16 [Folders 38-53])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Various gifts, various dates. Known acquisition information is noted in the file description.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018 September.

Harvard Theatre Collection. Harvard Theatre Collection group and company portrait prints (visual works) and photographs, 1806-1927 (MS Thr 1851): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 September 25
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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