Sharon Marcus, the first Lawrence and Lee Theatre Research Institute Fellow, is now in residence, exploring what she characterizes as TRI’s “exceptionally rich collection” of scrapbooks from the second half of the nineteenth through the first third of the twentieth centuries. The Orlando Harriman Professor at Columbia University, Professor Marcus was the keynote speaker at last year’s British Women Writers Conference here at OSU, and is a leading scholar in 19th- and 20th-century literary and cultural studies. Currently she is doing research for a book on the legendary French actress Sarah Bernhardt, examining her understanding of celebrity, her skill at combining acting and authorship, and her ability to unite live presence with visual and written representations. Noting that the TRI scrapbooks reveal the passions of ordinary theatregoers, Professor Marcus has so far found within them records of Bernhardt’s many visits to Ohio theatres, as well as insights into the scrapbookers themselves — an aficionado whose album juxtaposed Bernhardt with several other actresses of her day; a tourist who attended an astounding variety of performances during a season in Europe; and a Philadelphia music teacher who recorded over ten years of theatre attendance.
The Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute Visiting Research Fellowship is awarded annually, and is supported through the Jerome Lawrence Endowed Fund.