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COLLECTION Identifier: TCS 56

Harvard Theatre Collection on United States theaters


Contains prints (visual works), newsclippings, posters, photographs, and plans displaying exterior and interior views and floorplans of theaters in the United States, except those in New York, New York and Boston, Massachusetts.


  • 1793-1969

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

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


3.66 linear feet (6 boxes and 54 folders)

Contains prints, newsclippings, posters, photographs, and design drawings and architecture plans depicting theaters and performance spaces across the United States, with the exception of Boston, Massachusetts and New York, New York (specifically Manhattan). Theaters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and other greater Boston cities are included, as are theaters in the New York borough of Brooklyn. Designs for Pusey Library at Harvard University in Cambridge are included as well. The images of theaters include: Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, Connecticut; Grand Opera House, Wilmington, Delaware; Ford’s Theatre, District of Columbia; Academy of Music, Conservatory of Music Auditorium, the Mackaye Spectatorium, and other theaters in Chicago, Illinois; St. Charles Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana; Detroit Opera House and Olympia Theatre in Detroit, Michigan; DeBar’s Grand Opera House, Olympic Theatre, and Pope’s Theatre in St. Louis, Missouri; an open-air theater in Lincoln, New Mexico; the Academy of Music, Arch Street Theatre, Chestnut Street Theatre, Park Theatre, Philadelphia Opera House, and Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; among many others. Theaters in Brooklyn are included, such as the Academy of Music, Baxter Street Theatre, Haverly’s Theatre, and New Park Theatre (also known as Colonel Sinn’s). Theaters related to Harvard University included in this collection are a seating plan for Brattle Hall and floorplan of the Loeb Drama Center, images of Harvard Stadium and Sanders Theatre, including the Forbes-Robertson production of Hamlet and Raleigh in Guiana, as well as Pusey Library. Plans for theaters include: the Birdcage Theatre in Tombstone, Arizona; an unidentified Creative Arts building in California; Springer Opera House in Columbus, Georgia; National Theater in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as others. A plan for the remodeling of the Hollis Street Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts is contained in this series. Further items include multiple depictions of the 1811 Richmond, Virginia theater fire.

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. These prints, newsclippings, photographs, posters, and plans have been collected over time.


Oversized materials are arranged in an alphabetical run by theater name. Boxed materials are loosely arranged in alphabetical order.

Physical Location

b, pfd (P1.C3.05.18 [Folders 1-40]), ppf (P1.C3.05.19 [Folders 41-53] and P1.C4.01.06 [Folders 52-54])

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Various sources at various dates. Known acquisition information is noted in the file description.

Processing Information

Oversize materials processed by Betts Coup, 2019. Boxed materials have not been processed.

Harvard Theatre Collection. Harvard Theatre Collection on United States theaters, 1793-1969 (TCS 56): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
2019 January 22
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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