Series 1 - Theater Playbills Pre 1950

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US MBE MSS 008-1

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Theater Playbills Pre 1950


  • 1855 - 1949 (Creation)


3.75 linear feet

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This series contains playbills from theaters and concert halls in Boston, London and New York City ranging in dates from the mid-1800s to 1949.
The bulk of the materials are from Boston theaters. Many plays made their premieres in Boston before journeying to New York City for their debut on Broadway. Likewise many London productions were later developed for American theater. The programs range in format from single sheets to booklets. There are also some larger poster sized playbills. Many theaters in Boston and New York changed names multiple times over the course of their existence. A listing of the known locations of Boston and New York theaters as well a comprehensive list of name changes over time is included at the end of the finding aid.

System of arrangement

This series is arranged into three subseries: Boston, London, and New York City. Playbills are arranged alphabetically by theater and then chronologically. For theaters within the same city that share the same name the folders identify the theaters as (I), (II), etc. Oversized and fragile materials have been separated and are either located in legal sized folders titled ‘Oversized’ or in a flat document box.

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