The John A. McAllister Collection: Printed Ephemera

Theatre Playbills

The American Theatre Playbill Collection has approximately 5,300 playbills spanning the period from the early 1770s through the 1880s with the bulk of collection from 1850 to 1868. While Philadelphia material predominates, the library also has playbills from regional theatres in the Delaware Valley, as well as for theatres in Baltimore and New York. Approximately 4,400 playbills, spanning the period 1826 to 1873 covering performances held in Philadelphia theatres, both for repertory companies and vaudeville houses, are stored in twenty-one folio volumes; they are arranged by theatre and their contents are described in a finding aid. The rest of the playbills are cataloged individually in Koha, the library’s online catalog.