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Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth Century England: Series 1: Manuscript and Typescript Plays: Parts 1-5

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About this Collection

Introduction: Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth Century England: Series1: Manuscript and Typescript Plays: Parts 1-5

Introduction: Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth CenturyEngland: Series 1: Manuscript and Typescript Plays: Parts 1-5


Publishers Note


As part of its programme Britains Literary Heritage,Harvester Microform (now Primary Source Media, an imprint of Gale, a part ofCengage Learning) is proud to present The Popular Stage: Drama in NineteenthCentury England - The Frank Pettingell Collection of Plays in the Library ofthe University of Kent at Canterbury. This collection offers uniqueevidence of the Victorian Theatre. Series One includes over a thousandmanuscripts and typescripts, many of these production copies bearing all thetrademarks of the working theatre, and some including press reviews andplaybills. Further series cover the three thousand rare printed titles in thecollection, many marked up as prompt copies, and the notable set of pantomimelibretti.


The collection was formed by the actor Frank Pettingell(1891-1966). He acquired the majority of the typescript and manuscript playsfrom the son of the original owner, the comedian Arthur Williams (1844-1915).There is a major concentration of manuscripts produced at the famous BritanniaTheatre, Hoxton, a venue in Londons East End celebrated for its melodrama andpantomimes from 1845 to 1885. There are some materials from the eighteenthcentury, and a number of items as late as 1915, but the principle concentrationof material is for the nineteenth century. The University of Kent at Canterburyacquired the collection from Mrs. Ethel Pettingell, the collectors widow in1967. (See Theatre Notebook, Volume XXXI, Number 3, 1977, pp. 2-6).


An extensive, unpublished catalogue to the collection wasprepared for the University of Kent by G.S. Darlow. The section relating tomanuscripts and typescripts appears in its entirety at the beginning of thefirst reel. This makes numerous references to the notes of Arthur Williams, andto Allardyce Nicolls History of English Drama (referred to in thisguide as N). Reference is also made to the Lord Chamberlain Collection- this is the collection of plays submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, now at theBritish Library, London.


A Harvester code number appears with each entry (forexample: Am31) The capital letter, in this instance A, is taken from thefirst letter of the play-title. As the plays are arranged alphabetically thisenables users faced with a list of codes (for instance Aml, Cm32, Em17, etc.)to move quickly to the reel on which the particular play is located. The mdenotes manuscript. The number, 31, denotes that this is the thirty-firstplay commencing with the letter A in this collection.


The notes are based on G.S. Darlows guide, which appears inits original form on reel one. The notes detail, where known, authorship,provenance, date and place of performance. Abbreviations used are: -


Arthur Williams, who assembled much of this collection, - often adding hisown notes on the plays themselves.


Allardyce Nicoll, History of English Drama


Lord Chamberlain
The collection of plays submitted to the Lord Chamberlain, now at theBritish Library, London


These play details are followed by a further code inbrackets, known as the Darlow Code. This provides further information asfollows:


1 - Holographs by known authors of plays either performed orboth performed and published.


2 - Fair copies or typed copies known to be made prior toperformance or publication, but not in holograph.


3 - Pasted-up texts or fair copies, with cuts andalterations, known to have been performed in altered form.


4 - Plays by unknown authors, known to have been firstperformed or published subsequent to the date of the manuscript.


5 - Fair copies or typed copies believed to have been madefor revivals and not held in holograph.


6 - Transcripts of older plays from the printed text.


7 - Radio and film scripts.


8 - Plays believed to be unperformed, not in Nicoll.


* Titles containingevidence not given in Nicoll.


** Performed, but not listed in Nicoll.