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COLLECTION Identifier: TCS 69

Harvard Theatre Collection playbills and programs from theatres in Great Britain


Contains playbills and programs from theatrical productions and events throughout England, Scotland, and Wales, with the exception of those specifically from London.


  • 1758-1979

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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


124.25 linear feet (96 boxes, 60 folios, and 12 oversize folders)

Contains theatre playbills and programs from productions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in England (beyond London), Scotland, and Wales. Many playbills and programs are from Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester, England, as well as Edinburgh, Scotland. Some playbills are oversized, while others are quite small; some are bound in folios.

Featured English theatres include: Bath Theatre Royal, Birmingham Theatre Royal, Bristol Theatre Royal, Hull Theatre Royal and Royal Adelphi Theatre, Liverpool Alexandra Theatre and Theatre Royal, Manchester Theatre Royal and Gaiety Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Sheffield Theatre, York Theatre Royal, among others. Scottish theatres include the Caledonian Theatre and Theatre Royal in Edinburgh, among others. Theatres in Wales are mainly from Swansea, though others are also included.

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.

Theater programs and playbills are printed lists of the acts, scenes, selections, or other features composing a play or theatrical entertainment, including the names of the performers. Typically a playbill is a single-sheet listing of acts with a short description, printed on one side of paper and a program is a folded piece printed on both sides, in leaflet, pamphlet, or booklet size.


Arranged in alphabetical order by the city or town name.

Physical Location

b, ppf, bpf (P1.18.07.07 - P1.18.07.10, P1.21.01.02 - P1.21.01.10, P1.21.02.04 - P1.21.02.07 [Boxes 11-96]), f (P1.22.06.11 - P1.22.07.04 [Volumes 1-60])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Various gifts at various dates.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018 October.

Harvard Theatre Collection. Harvard Theatre Collection playbills and programs from theatres in Great Britain, 1758-1979 (TCS 69): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 October 29
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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