Collection MSS 031 - Sarah Moore Field Collection

Identity elements

Reference code

US MBE MSS 031

Name and location of repository

Level of description

Collection

Title

Sarah Moore Field Collection

Date(s)

  • 1881 - 1963 (Creation)

Extent

1.5 linear feet; 2 boxes

Name of creator

(1885 - 1988)

Biographical history

Sarah Moore Field lived all of her long life in the gracious home at 266 Main Street in North Andover, Massachusetts. Purchased by her great-grandparents, Jeremiah Smith and Sarah Field in 1874 the Field household reflected a restrained, upper middle class taste. Sarah Moore Field became the family historian and carefully preserved the furnishings, photographs, financial records, letters, memorabilia, and personal property accumulated by three generations of her family in hope that one day the Field House would be opened to the public. Though her dream never came to fruition, selected items from her collection, such as these theatre programs, will continue to be accessible to the public.

Theater programs and playbills have evolved significantly over the course of the 19th and 20th century. Appearing first as a single sheet, usually consisting of the actors’ names and scenes in the play, by the early 1900s playbills had evolved into booklets which often included advertisements and actors’ biographies. Playbills briefly reverted back to the single sheet format during World War II. Starting in the early 1900s, souvenir program books were also printed to commemorate a specific play during its run, and were not tied to specific performances or theaters. These programs were larger than playbills and usually include photos of the actors, biographies, and a summary of the plot.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

The Sarah Moore Field Collection includes over 200 programs and playbills from theatres within the New England region of the United States, with the bulk of the materials from Boston. The materials range in date from 1881 to 1963 with the bulk of the collection containing items from 1900 to 1928. Depending on the era, the playbills are formatted either as single sheets or posters (primarily the pre-1900s and World War II era programs) or booklets featuring advertisements, play descriptions, and cast biographies (primarily the 20s and 30s and post 1950 materials).

System of arrangement

The collection is arranged in two series: Boston Programs and Other Programs. Boston Programs are arranged alphabetically by theater. Other Programs are arranged by location, then chronologically.

Series 1: Boston Programs
Folder Name Dates
B. F. Keith’s Theatre 1905 – 1914
Boston Opera House 1912 – 1914
Boston Symphony Orchestra 1914 – 1961
Boston Theatre 1905 – 1913
Castle Square Theatre 1904 – 1926
Charles Playhouse 1960 – 1961
Colonial Theatre 1901 – 1961
Copley Theatre 1917 -1928
Edith Coburn Noyes Studios Approximately 1912
Hollis Street Theatre 1905 – 1926
Image Theatre 1961 – 1962
Majestic Theatre 1905 – 1961
Miscellaneous Performances and Events 1911 – 1962
New Park Theatre 1924 – 1925
Park Square Theatre Approximately 1917
Park Theatre 1902 – 1914
Plymouth Theatre/Shubert-Plymouth Theatre 1912 – 1926
Repertory Theatre of Boston 1925
Shubert Theatre 1911 – 1960
Tremont Temple 1912 – 1913
Tremont Theatre 1904 – 1923
Wilbur Theatre Approximately 1913 - 1961

Series 2: Other Programs
Folder Title Dates
Miscellaneous Programs 1881 – 1919
New York Programs 1905 - 1963

Conditions of access and use elements

Conditions governing access

Physical access

Technical access

Conditions governing reproduction

Some materials may be subject to copyright. No part of the materials protected by copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without written permission from the copyright holder. Researchers are required to seek permission from the copyright holder to reproduce and/or publish materials under copyright.

Languages of the material

  • English

Scripts of the material

Language and script notes

Finding aids

Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

The collection was received through gift from the estate of Sarah Moore Field in 1998.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Accruals

Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Appendix: Guide to Boston Theater Names and Locations

B.F. Keith's Theatre (1894 - 1928)
547 Washington Street.
Renamed Apollo Theatre (1929), Lyric Theatre (1930-1935), Normandie Ballroom (1935-1938) Normandie Theatre (1938-ca1944) Laff Movie Theatre (ca1944) New Normandie Theatre (ca1945-ca1949) Art-Movie (ca1949) Mirth Movie Theatre (ca1950). Demolished 1951.

Boston Opera House (1909 - 1957)
343 Huntington Ave

Boston Theatre (1854 - 1925)
539 Washington Street.
The second location of the Boston Theatre. Located at Federal and Franklin Streets from 1794-1852. Demolished in 1925.

Castle Square Theatre (1894 - 1919)
421 Tremont Street.
Renamed Arlington Square Theatre (1919-1932). Demolished 1932.

Charles Playhouse (1957 - )
54 Charles Street (1957). Moved to Warrenton Street (1958).

The Colonial Theatre (1900)
106 Boylston Street

The Copley Theater (1922 - 1957)
461 Stuart Street
2nd location of the Copley Theatre. Located at 188 Dartmouth Street from 1916-1922. Renamed Capri Movie House in 1957, later demolished.

Hollis Street Theatre (1885 - 1935)
14 Hollis Street.
Demolished 1935.

Majestic Theatre (1903 - ca. 1957)
219 Tremont Street.
Renamed the Saxon Theatre (ca 1957-ca 1983); the Cutler Majestic Theatre (ca 1983)

New Park Theatre (ca. 1924)
Washington Street at the corner of Boylston Street. Most likely the same location as the Park Theatre, 619-621 Washington Street.

Park Theatre (1879 - 1933)
619-621 Washington Street. Possibly referred to as the New Park Theatre (ca1924). Renamed Minsky’s Park Burlesque (1933).
Plymouth Theatre (1911 - 1958)
131 Stuart Street
Renamed Gary Movie Theatre (1958). Demolished in 1978.

Repertory Theatre of Boston ca. 1925-ca1935
264 Huntington Avenue. Renamed the Esquire Theatre (ca1930s); Civic Repertory Theatre (ca1940s-1953); Boston University Theatre (1953).

Saxon Theatre (1957 -ca 1983)
219 Tremont Street.
Formerly Majestic Theatre (1903-1957).Cutler Majestic Theatre (ca 1983)

Selwyn Theatre (1921 - 1926)
Park Square.
Formerly The Cort Theatre (1914), The Park Square Theatre (1915). Demolished in 1926.
Shubert Theatre, (Sam S.) (1910- )
265 Tremont Street.
Billed as the Sam S. Shubert Theatre on programs ranging from 1910-1935.

Tremont Temple (1843 - )
88 Tremont Street.
Formerly the first Tremont Theatre (1827). Rebuilt after fires: 1853, 1880, 1896.

Tremont Theatre (1889 - 1947)
176 Tremont Street.
The Third Boston Theatre named Tremont Theatre. Renamed Astor Theatre (Movie Theatre) (1947)

Wilber Theatre (1914 - )
250-252 Tremont Street

Specialized notes

Alternative identifier(s)

Description control element

Rules or conventions

Sources used

Archivist's note

Finding aid created by Jehan Sinclair; last updated November 14, 2014

Access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Accession area