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History of the Philadelphia Stage, Between the Years 1749 and 1855. By Charles Durang. Volume 5. Arranged and illustrated by Thompson Westcott, 1868

Volume V includes the following 36 chapters (LXIII to XCVIII) of Charles Durang’s history, for a total of 119 pages of text. These chapters were originally published in the Dispatch between September 22, 1861 (Vol. XIV, No. 22) and June 8, 1862 (Vol. XV, No. 7). In this part of his work, Durang offers an extensive description of the management and life of the most important Philadelphia theaters between the 1841-1842 and 1849-1850 seasons. The author comments upon the vicissitudes of several actors, impresarios and artists active in the city in those years, most notably William Evans Burton, Charlotte Cushman, Edward Loomis Davenport, Charles William Macready, and Edwin Forrest. In particular, the escalating rivalry between Macready and Forrest is documented by numerous chapters, from its early stages in 1844 – when both actors were cast in the same role in the same play by two different theaters, the Arch Street and the Walnut Street – to further altercation in England in 1846 and the final lawsuit announced by Macready in November 1848. A copy of the announcement in which the British actor proclaims his intention to sue Forrest is included in the volume. These chapters also discuss the growing importance of Italian opera in the city, which was visited by travelling companies such as the Havana Opera Company (1847) and the Max Maretzek Italian Opera Company (1848). Westcott offers numerous portraits of all these figures, along with a considerable number of engravings depicting numerous artists and impresarios such as Fanny Cerrito, James Rogers, Susan Cushman, William Evans Burton, Elizabeth Yates, Edward Fitzwilliam, Fanny Fitzwilliam, James William Wallack, George H. Hill, Charles Kemble, John Brougham, Lucia Elizabeth Vestris, Isabella Glyn, William Wheatley, Henry Woodward, William Dowton, William Creswick, William Maybury Fleming, Joshua Silsbee, Phineas Taylor Barnum, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Maria Gibbs, John Liston, Harriet Waylett, George Jamieson, Henri Vieuxtemps, George H. Barrett, Gustavus Vaughan Brooke, Charles Bass, Mary Ann Povey, Anna Cora Mowatt, Charles Kean, Lucille Western, John Sinclair, Eliza Logan, Ira Aldridge, Laura Keene, Mary Taylor, Arabella Goddard, Julia Dean, Henry Compton, George John Bennett, Fanny Cooper, Hanry Marston, Robert Keeley, Barney Williams, Ann Bishop, Federico Beneventano, John Edward Owens, Junius Brutus Booth, Edwin Booth, Amalia Patti, Carlotta Patti, Elena D’Angri, Maurice Strakosch, Caroline Richings, Julia Dean, Hector Berlioz, Alexina F. Baker, James Hudson, Charles Walter Couldock, McKean Buchanan, Francis Marion Brower, Teresa Rolla, and many others. Images of Philadelphia theaters such as the Arch Street Theatre and the Walnut Street Theatre are also present, as well as another engraving depicting the Continental Theatre fire of 1861— a famous accident in which seven performers lost their lives. The scrapbooks also contains a few manuscript documents, including a note by actor Edward Loomis Davenport, and two additional letters from actors and managers Francis Courtney Wemyss and Louisa Lane Drew.
Resource Type:
Physical Description:
v. 5 of 6
Personal Name:
Durang, Charles; Westcott, Thompson, 1820-1888
Geographic Subject:
United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Finding aid:
Physical Location:
Ms. Coll. 1316
Thompson Westcott scrapbooks of Charles Durang's history of Philadelphia theater between the years 1749 and 1855