Boston Athenæum Theater Resources

Theater Bibliography and Other Theater Related Materials

  • Bordman, Gerald, The Oxford Companion to the American Theatre (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).
  • Bronner, Edwin, The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre 1900-1975 (San Diego; New York: A.S. Barnes & Company, Inc., c1980).
  • Clapp, William Warland, A Record of the Boston Stage (Boston; Cambridge: J. Munroe and Company, 1853).
  • Crawford, Mary Caroline, The Romance of the American Theatre (Boston : Little, Brown, and Company, 1925).
  • Gilder, Rosamond and Freedley, George, Theatre Collections in Libraries and Museums an International Handbook (New York : Theatre Arts, Inc., c1936). For more updated and detailed listings of other theater-related collections, see Subject Collections (New Providence, N.J. : R.R. Bowker, c1993) under the “Theater” heading.
  • Hughes, Glenn, A History of the American Theatre, 1700-1950 (London; Toronto Samuel French, c1951).
  • King, Donald,The Theatres of Boston: a Stage and Screen History (Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., c2005), +PN2277 .B6 K56 2005.
  • Litto, Frederic M., American Dissertations on the Drama and the Theatre; a Bibliography (Kent, Ohio : Kent State University Press, 1969).
  • Norton, Elliot, Broadway Down East: an Informal Account of the Plays, Players, and Playhouses of Boston from Puritan Times to the Present… (Boston : Trustees of the Public Library Learning Library Program, 1978)
  • Reardon, William R., Banned in Boston: a Study of Theatrical Censorship in Boston from 1630 to 1950 (Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1952?[1958]).
  • Shand Tucci, Douglass, The Boston Rialto: Playhouses, Concert Halls and Movie Palaces (P.D. Shand Tucci, 6977).Located in the Athenæum Tract Collection. Tract #F 17.
  • Stoddard, Richard Foster, The Architecture and Technology of Boston Theatres, 1794-1854 (1971).
  • Young, William C., Documents of American History: Famous American Playhouses (Chicago : American Library Association, 1973).

Histories of individual theaters, actor biographies, and memoirs, etc.

  • Alden, John Eliot, A Season in Federal Street; JB. Williamson and the Boston Theatre, 1796-1797 (Worcester, 1955).
  • Boston Museum, 1841-1903, Catalogue of the Paintings, Portraits, Marble and Plaster Statuary, etc., in the Collection of the Boston Museum [Mss. Copy] (Boston, 1847) Other copies located in Athenæum Tract Collection. Tract G3 (nos. 2 and 3).
  • Boston Museum, Established 1841; An Interesting Retrospect, and an Account of the Latest Alterations and Improvements, Issued for Season, 1880-81 (Boston, 1880).
  • Boston Theatre, By-laws of the Proprietors; with a List of Stockholders (Boston, 1860).
  • Corbett, A., “A Tale for Theatregoers” (In his Original Studies in Local History, 1925).
  • Corbett, A., “Relics of the OldMuseum” (In his Original Studies in Local History, 1903).
  • Hale, David, Letters on the New [Tremont] Theatre (Boston, 1827). Located in Athenæum Tract Collection. Tract B942 no. l
  • Hatch, Francis W., A Frenchy’s Visit to the Old Howard (Boston: John Pow Co., [196?]). Located in the Athenæum Broadside Collection. Broadside 10.107.
  • Kimball, Moses, Letters Received (Manuscript materials relating to the Boston Museum and several Boston actors of the 19th century). Located in the Athenæum manuscript collection Mss. L.334.
  • McGlinchee, Claire, The First Decade of the Boston Museum (Boston : Bruce Humphries, Inc., 6940).
  • Mammen, Edward William, The Old Stock Company School of Acting; a Study of the Boston Museum. (Boston, Mass. : Trustees of the Public Library, 1945).
  • Pelby, William, Letters on the Tremont Theatre (Boston: J.H. Eastburn, 1830). Located in Athenæum Tract Collection. Tract B942 no. 1a.
  • Ryan, Kate, Old Boston Museum Days (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1915).
  • Skelton, Edward Oliver, Historical Review of the Boston Bijou Theatre… (Boston Printed by the Forbes Lithograph Co., 1884).
  • Tom Pop’s First Visit to the Boston Museum… (Boston : Printed for the Publisher, 1848).
  • Tompkins, Eugene, The History of the Boston Theatre 1854-1901 (New York: Benjamin Blom, 1908, 1969).
  • Winter, William, Vagrant Memories: Being Further Recollections of Other Days (New York: George H. Doran Company, 1915).

A special note of thanks goes to Gloria Ganno and other individuals who provided valuable information about individual theaters based upon their own experiences.

Other Theater Resources

Local Collections

The Harvard Theater Collection has one of the largest collections of theater playbills, programs, prints, photographs, promptbooks, and other theater related materials in the country. Although the scope is worldwide, Harvard’s Theater Collection is unequaled in materials relating to the English speaking stage of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Other notable, local collections include Emerson College Special Collections.

Brandeis University’s American Theater Programs Collection consists of 14 linear feet of American Theater and stage programs of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Other Collections

American Vaudeville Museum

Billy Rose Theater Collection

Curtis Theater Collections, University of Pittsburgh

League of Historic American Theatres

Museum of the City of New York Theatre Collections

New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Philip H. Ward Collection of Theatrical Images, 1856-1910: University of Pennsylvania

Theater and Performing Arts Collections, University of Chicago, Special Collections

Theatre Historical Society of America: Archives

Theatre Arts Collection at the Ransom Center

Online Historical Resources

Adelphi Theatre Database, 1806-1900

American Society for Theater Research

Cinema Treasures

Library of Congress: American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment,1870-1920

Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection: British Theatres and Actors

Templeman Library Theatre Collections: British Histories of Theatres

TheatrePedia: Internet Theater Library

Theatre Library Association

This Month in Theatre History

Toronto Reference Library: Performing Arts Center