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COLLECTION Identifier: TCS 70

Harvard Theatre Collection playbills and programs from international theaters


Contains printed playbills, programs, and a few posters from productions presented at theaters in countries other than the United States or Great Britain.


  • circa 1762-2000

Language of Materials

English, Bengali, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Russian, Polish, and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

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


129.5 linear feet (156 boxes, 34 oversized folders, and 80 volumes)

Contains playbills and programs from productions presented at theaters in countries other than the United States or Great Britain. Many of the playbills are from Vienna, Austria; Berlin, Germany; Paris and Orleans, France; Dublin, Ireland; and Italy.

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 a single alphabetical run by country, then city, then by theater. The boxed materials are loosely arranged in this alphabetical order.

Physical Location

bpf, pfd, ppf, f

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Various gifts and purchases at various dates. Known acquisition information is noted in the file description.

Processing Information

Processed by Betts Coup, 2018 November.

Processing Information

The oversized materials have been fully processed, while all boxed materials have been minimally processed and are loosely arranged in alphabetical order by country, then city, then theatre.

Harvard Theatre Collection. Harvard Theatre Collection playbills and programs from international theaters, circa 1762-2000 (TCS 70): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2018 November 13
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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