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Theater Playbill Scrapbook

Accession Numbers


Physical Description

1 scrapbook: 146 pages, 8" x 13.5".


[circa 1865-1901]

Abstract (Descriptive Summary)

A 146 paged scrapbook of more than 300 small playbills, programs, and newspaper advertisements related to theatrical performances.

Provenance and Acquisition Information

Purchased from J.J. Lubrano.  Original source unknown.

Scope and Content

This item appears to be a personal scrapbook of more than 300 small playbills, programs, and newspaper advertisements related to theatrical performances.  A few clippings and photographs from newspapers are also included.  The individual items have been pasted into a commercial ledger book which had been completely filled with notes of transactions prior to being converted to a scrapbook.   

Items included in the scrapbook announce a wide range of performance types, including minstrel shows, burlesque operas, readings and recitations, musical programs, dramatic and comic plays, acrobatics and other acts.  The greatest number of items are playbills for minstrel shows.  Of special interest is a newspaper advertisement which announced the performance at which President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated: “My American Cousin” presented at Ford’s theater, April 16, 1865.  

Most items in the collection are not dated.  The earliest firm date is the Ford’s theater piece of 1865, with several others from the late 1860's.  The latest dated items in the collection are from the early 1890's. Many of the undated items have pencilled dates, presumably noted by the collector. Most of the playbills announce performances held in Massachusetts, New York or other east coast locations.  A number of items are for performances held in San Francisco and a small group relate to performances in London.


This scrapbook is filed in Performance Scrapbook No. 1 in the Performance section of the stacks.


Individual programs, playbills and other items included in the scrapbook have been individually cataloged in the “Programs, Posters & Playbills” database.  In addition, a printed index of performers and venues is filed with the accession record for the scrapbook. Use of the scrapbook is subject to supervision by the archivist or other trained staff.  Copying strictly by permission only.

Processed By

mrt June 1997

Revised LPC March 2003



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