Here at the Theatre Research Institute we are always busy acquiring new items and collections to support the research of our students, faculty and worldwide visitors. Some of the treasures we have acquired are currently on display in the Thompson Library Special Collections display area.
Below is a list of the included items:
FRAGMENT OF WOOD FROM SHAKESPEARE’S MULBERRY TREE
[Stratford-upon-Avon] [n.d., c. 1800]. British Theatre Collection.
Fragment of wood from Shakespeare’s Mulberry Tree, bearing the seal of John Doubleday and inscribed with a note by Doubleday: “A fragment of the Mulberry Tree planted by Wm. Shakespeare at Stratford upon Avon, given me by the Revd. Thos. Rackett, one of the executors, for the famous 18-century actor David Garrick.” John Doubleday (circa 1799-1856), was a dealer in casts of coins, and an object restorer for the British Museum.
BROADSIDE FOR LYDIA THOMPSON BURLESQUE TROUPE
1868. Charles H. McCaghy Collection of Exotic Dance from Burlesque to Clubs.
Lydia Thompson [a.k.a. Eliza Hodges Thompson] (1838-1908) was born in London, where she became a popular actress, dancer and theatrical producer. In 1868 she came to America with a burlesque troupe called the “British Blondes.” The troupe was a hit in New York and then went on an extremely popular national tour lasting almost six years. Thompson returned to England in 1874, but came back to perform in the United States several more times before her death.
REHEARSAL PHOTOS FROM COLE PORTER’S JUBILEE
1935-36. Cole Porter’s Jubilee Collection.
Jubilee is a musical comedy with a book by Moss Hart and music and lyrics by Cole Porter. It premiered on Broadway in October 1935 to great reviews. Several of its songs became popular, including “Begin the Beguine” and “Just One of Those Things.”
HOWDY DOODY BUTTONS AND LUNCHBOX
various dates. Ralph MacPhail, Jr., Howdy Doody Collection.
The Howdy Doody Show is a program that was telecast on the NBC network in the United States from 1947 until 1960. The show featured Howdy Doody (a red-haired, freckled marionette) and several other recurring puppet and human characters. It was a groundbreaking children’s television show that combined educational content with entertainment. It was also one of the first programs to use extensive merchandising and branding on a wide variety of products.
PHOTOGRAPH OF MARTHA SCOTT IN THE FILM OF OUR TOWN
1940. Martha Scott Collection.
Actress Martha Scott (1912 – 2003) had a career that spanned more than fifty years. She originated the role of Emily Webb in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town on Broadway in 1938 and played the role in the 1940 film version. She was also featured in several other major films including The Ten Commandments, and Ben-Hur. From 1979 to 1985 she had a continuing role on the popular television series Dallas. Scott also co-produced the stage and film versions of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee’s First Monday in October.
MAJOR GENERAL FROM THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE TOBY JUG
mid-20th century. Jesse and Rochelle Shereff Gilbert and Sullivan Collection
This “toby jug” depicts the character of the Major General from the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance. A set of fourteen jugs was created by Shorter & Sons, Ltd. based on the characters from The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s productions. The designs depict the actual costumes worn by the actors, with each posing in the best possible stance to portray their character.
AUTOGRAPHED PHOTO OF BUTTERFLY MCQUEE
1981. Film Promotions Collection.
Butterfly McQueen (1911-1995) was an actress who appeared in numerous films and television series throughout the mid-20th century.
She is most well-known for her portrayal of Prissy in Gone With the Wind (1939). In addition to signing the front of this photo, Ms. McQueen also wrote an inscription on the back: “To whom it may concern: This is a publicity photo of Prissy; she is never so “happy” in “G.W.T.W.” Butterfly McQueen 2/81.