Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library
The Harvard Theatre Collection specializes in documentary material on the history of the performing arts. Its extravagantly diverse holdings encompass all manner of dramatic performance with special emphasis on the stage, music and dance, and popular entertainment. The collection also comprises a significant number of organizational and personal papers as well as photographic archives which preserve the legacies of institutions, playwrights, actors, designers, and choreographers.
The Harvard Theatre Collection is a department of Houghton Library, the primary repository for rare books and manuscripts at Harvard.
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The Harvard Theatre Collection, which was founded in 1901 through the efforts of Prof. George Pierce Baker, was the first collection of its kind to be established in this country, and it stands as one of the largest performing arts collections in the world, the oldest theatre collection in the world of international significance.
The Collection holds documents on the history of the performing arts, especially theatre, dance, opera, musical theatre, and popular entertainments such as circuses, pantomime, puppetry, American minstrelsy, music, and fairs and pleasure gardens. See the Harvard Theatre Collections Overview. (Photo: Souvenir program of a season at Theatre de L'Opera, 1914. HOLLIS record. )
The Harvard Theatre Collection materials are accessible through the Houghton Library Reading Room. Researchers coming from outside Harvard are strongly urged to contact the Reading Room in advance by e-mail. (Houghton_Libraryharvard [dot] edu). See the Houghton Library Admittance page.