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Theatre Actor Dramatic Prints Collection

Finding Aid & Inventory

The collection consists of 287 intaglio prints (primarily engravings and etchings) of British and American theatre actors, mostly portraits or the actors in character. Eight prints are framed and were displayed in the Wake Forest University Theatre Department.

Collection Overview

The collection represents a range of popular British and American theatre actors, including Shakespearean performers. Performers are portrayed in busts, half- to full-length portraits, scenes from plays, or in dramatic character. Actors, playwrights, dancers, theatrical managers, and popular performers are represented. Prints in the collection date from circa 1770 to 1840 and include engravings and etchings.

The collection is arranged alphabetically by performer last name in three sets. A set of prints of Shakespearean theatre actors begins with image number 238. Framed engravings are alphabetical by performer last name.

Summary Information

Repository
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Title
Theatre Actor Dramatic Prints (Engravings) Collection
ID
MS581
Date [inclusive]
1770-1840
Extent
3.0 linear feet  287 intaglio prints in 4 half letter document boxes and 2 legal document boxes.
Graphic materials [Box]
6
Container
284-287
Graphic materials [Box]
1
Container
1-82
Graphic materials [Box]
5
Container
280-283
Graphic materials [Box]
3
Container
156-227
Graphic materials [Box]
2
Container
83-155
Graphic materials [Box]
4
Container
228-279

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives June 2010
Access Note
Collection is open to research. 
Custodial History
Origin of the collection is unknown but presumed to be assembled by library or college staff before 1990. Framed prints were hung in the Theatre Department prior to 1976. 
Preferred Citation
Theatre Actor Dramatic Prints Collection, MS 581, Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 
Preferred Citation
Theatre Actor Dramatic Prints Collection, MS 581, Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Controlled Access Headings

Genre(s)

  • Actors--Great Britain--Portraits--1775-1875
  • Actors--United States--Portraits--1775-1875
  • intaglio printing
  • Shakespearean actors and actresses
  • Theatrical managers--Portraits--1775-1875

Note on Descriptive Information

In many cases, Lillian Arvilla Hall's Catalogue of Engraved Dramatic Portraits in the Theatre Collection of the Harvard College Library (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1932) is the source for the identification of many of the performers.

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