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Harold Seton Theatre Actor Photograph Collection

Finding Aid & Inventory

Collection includes card photographs, cabinet photographs, photographic prints, photographic postcards, and cartes des visite of actors and actresses from circa 1870-1900.

Biographical and Historical Note

Harold Seton is best known for his work as a journalist, author, and collector. His interest in society and theatre was documented in the column he wrote for Theatre Magazine, "Theatre Thoughts," and his writings for  Town Topics: The Journal of Society. Harold Seton accumulated a collection of over 10,000 theatrical photographs, making large donations to both the New York Historical Society and the Folger Shakespeare Library of Washington, DC. As a theatre enthusiast and a society follower, Seton was knowledgeable of gossip, sharing some with Lucius Beebe through correspondence, housed at The New York Historical Society, and divulging his interests on the pages of various magazines.

Collection Overview

The Harold Seton Photographs consist primarily of cabinet cards of theatre actresses from circa 1870-1900. 111 of the 112 photographs are of female subjects, with the majority being in the cabinet card format. Other formats include photographic prints, two cartes des visite, and one photographic postcard. Notable names include Cora Urquhart Potter, Zeffie Tilbury, and Marie Roze. Photographic studios or photographers responsible for the images include Napoleon Sarony, Mora, and B.J. Falk. An addition to the collection in February 2012, from Franklin & Marshall College, consists of six cabinet cards of male actors: Kyrle Bellew, John Drew, William Faversham, Robert Hilliard, Richard Mansfield, and Harry Woodruff.

The original alphabetical order of this series of photographs is maintained according to handwritten or printed names found primarily on the verso of the photograph. The addition of six cabinet cards is arranged alphabetically at the end of the original collection.

Summary Information

Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Harold Seton Theatre Actor Photograph Collection
Date [bulk]
Bulk, 1880-1890
Date [inclusive]
circa 1870-1910
0.5 linear feet  118 photographs
Graphic materials [Box]

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives June 2010
Conditions Covering Access
Collection is open to research. 
Existence and Location of Copies
Digital copies of photographs are available through our digital collections online, available at http://zsr.wfu.edu/special/collections/digital/. 
Preferred Citation
Harold Seton Theatre Actor Photograph Collection, MS578, Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)


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