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Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth Century England: Series 3: Rare Printed Plays: Parts 1-3

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About this Collection

Introduction: Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth Century England: Series3: Rare Printed Plays: Parts 1-3

Introduction: Popular Stage: Drama in Nineteenth CenturyEngland: Series 3: Rare Printed Plays: Parts 1-3


Publishers Note


Research Publications (now Primary Source Media, an imprintof Gale, a part of Cengage Learning) is proud to present The Popular Stage:Drama in Nineteenth Century England - The Frank Pettingell Collection of Playsin the Library of the University of Kent at Canterbury. This collection,formed by the actor Frank Pettingell (1891-1966) offers unique evidence ofnineteenth century theatre. It was acquired by the University of Kent Libraryin 1967 from his widow Mrs. E. Pettingell.


Frank Pettingell was himself a working actor, with aninterest in the history of his profession, who inherited the collection fromArthur Williams (1844-1915), a collector and preserver of much materialrelating to the theatre.


Series One, available in five parts, covers over 1000manuscripts and typescript plays by many of the most popular dramatists of theVictorian era, including Samuel Alkyns, C.H. Hazlewood, George Dibdin Pitt,C.H. Stephenson, and Dion Boucicault. Fewer than 40 of these plays havepreviously been published, yet they form the staple diet of the populartheatres.


Series Two covers over 300 pantomime libretti, reflectingthe tremendous popularity of this form of entertainment in the nineteenthcentury. E.L. Blanchard, one of the best known and most prolific authors of thegenre is well represented and there are many unique and extremely rare itemsincluding some titles that are not listed in Allardyce Nicolls History ofEnglish Drama. There are seven bound volumes devoted to Drury Laneperformances between 1850 and 1906 and others covering performances inBrighton, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Newcastle, Nottinghamand York.


Series Three covers the collection of printed plays whichfall into two groups: single texts, and those bound into composite volumes.Here they are filmed in one sequence, alphabetically by author. There are over5,000 printed texts in the collections as a whole. Most were acquired by ArthurWilliams, some were added by Frank Pettingell, and the University Library hasbeen active in adding material. The majority of the texts were printed in thenineteenth century, though there is overlap at both ends, with small numbers ofeighteenth and early twentieth century editions present.


Although many of the printed texts are themselves veryscarce the character of the collection was determined by Arthur Williams, whowas active on the stage for many years in comic roles. This is a workingactors collection with many copies marked and cut, many also being promptcopies of varying degrees of interest. The condition of the collectiontherefore varies, with the most interesting material often having markingswhich affect the text. Arthur Williams also assiduously adds cast lists forperformances of the plays in the collection, this being particularly useful intracing his own career from the provinces to the London stage.


The collection is notable in containing a large number oftexts in more than one edition, which enhance the value of the collection fortextual investigation.


On Reel One, there is a complete listing which gives analphabetical index of authors and details of the plays. The subsequent reelscontain only the relevant pages of the complete listing which indicate content.