Theatre Collection, 1867-1981


Title: Theatre Collection
Dates: 1867-1981
Bulk Dates: 1867-1981
Creator: Digital Collections and Archives
Call Number: MS091
Size: 3.90 cubic ft.
    Digital Collection and Archives, Tufts University


This is an artificial collection consisting of material related to Theater productions including playbills, souvenir programs, periodicals, and images.


Historical or Biographical Note

Digital Collections and Archives is the Tufts University steward for all archival records and materials of significant and historical relevance to the college.

The collection began as the University Archives, which were incorporated in 1965 by the Tufts University Board of Trustees (Annual Reports 1965-1988). Previously, the position of archivist was loosely created in 1959 as a means of processing and acquiring important university and student records for preservation. This role was filled by Tufts history professor and historian Russell L. Miller, who also wrote the Tufts University history "Light on the Hill." The archives were considered a department of the University Library (known as Eaton and then Wessell at that time), overseen by the College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering.

The university's archives were first kept in Eaton Library, but moved to the Wessell Library building in 1965. Originals of some records were sent to vaults in Ballou Hall for storage. In 1991, due to budget issues, the university archivist was laid off. When the office was reopened in 1997, it was as the University Archives and Special Collections, also located as a department within the Tisch Library.

In July 2001, Digital Collections and Archives was created when the University Archives was tasked with developing a Tufts Digital Library. The department moved from the College of Arts, Science and Engineering to the Central Administration, directed by the University Provost. The Special Collections department remained under Tisch Library.

DCA is currently physically housed in Tisch Library building.

Read more about Digital Collections and Archives.

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

This collection is processed and open for research.

Use Restrictions

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. Please see the DCA's policy on Copyright and Fair Use for more information.

Collection History


Around 2003, several artificial collections were created from material found in Henry Y. Porter, Max Tennis and the Frank E. Fowle papers. One of these was the MS091 collection. The MS091 collection largely consists of items that have either been found with other collections but cannot be identified with a specific collection, or are donated materials prior to the establishment of the DCA and no collection documentation exists to indicate where it came from.

Subjects and Genre Terms

Series Description

  1. Playbills, souvenir progams and periodicals, 1867-1981

    This series of playbills includes examples from late nineteenth and early twentieth century productions of plays mostly produced in the Northeast. One select part of the collection includes a card cataloged inventory by title of play and name of actor (found in Boxes 1 and 2). There are also some souvenir programs from films and a year's worth of the periodical, a Gallery of Players.

  2. Images, 1890

    This series contains one portrait of Edwin Booth.