Special Collections and University Archives

Costume design for The Duchess of Malfi  by Leslie Hurry

Professor Robert Hansen recently donated an additional fifteen pieces of theatrical artwork to the Robert C. Hansen Performing Arts Collection housed at the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives in the Jackson Library.

The Robert C. Hansen Performing Arts Collection dates from 1753 to 2011, with most items dating from the 1800s, and contains programs, heralds, guidebooks and periodicals, playbooks, sheet music and songbooks, correspondence and autographs, original costume designs and scenery designs, posters, photographs, postcards, tradecards, scrapbooks, subject files, and other visual materials and memorabilia which document the history of the performing arts, mainly theatre, in many countries, mainly the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Further geographic foci within the United States include New York City, Minnesota, and North Carolina.

While the majority of the collection focuses on theatre, other performing arts genres represented include circus, concert, dance, film, minstrelsy, opera, and vaudeville.

Some noted 19th century American stage actors/actresses represented in the collection include Edwin Booth (brother of John Wilkes), Charlotte Cushman, Fanny Davenport, Edwin Forrest, Joseph Jefferson, Julia Marlowe and E.H. Sothern. Famous 19th century European stage actors/actresses represented in the collection include Sarah Bernhardt, Dion Boucicault, Henry Irving, Helena Modjeska, Adelaide Ristori, Tommaso Salvini and Ellen Terry. Other notable personages include theatrical manager and playwright Augustin Daly, costume and set designer Leslie Hurry, and caricaturist Al Freuh.

Theatres, troupes and festivals highlighted in the collection include Minnesota’s Guthrie Theatre, the United Kingdom’s Royal Shakespeare Company, the Classics in Context and Humana festivals from the Actor’s Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky, North Carolina’s Shakespeare Festival, and Canada’s Shaw Festival and Stratford Festival.

Included in the donation are several large 19th-century theatrical posters and framed broadsides which currently hang in the reference area on the first floor of Jackson Library.  Prints and original costume designs make up the remainder of the gift.  The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to welcome these additions to this extensive collection.

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