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Copyright, 1913, 1925,
All rights reserved
Published November, 1925
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A DOZEN years ago, when I wrote the preface for the first edition of this book, there existed no complete history of the American theatre. To be sure William Dunlap had put out in 1832 what he called a history of the American theatre, but this work, though honest in intent, was far from accurate in content; and it particularly failed in due recognition of the theatre in the west and in the south. About forty years ago George Seilhamer began to give to the world what promised to be an authentic history of the American theatre, the sources of information which he used being chiefly the files of Colonial and Revolutionary newspapers; three volumes had been issued and the story brought up to 1800 when Mr. Seilhamer died. No soul had been found brave enough to take up this task where it was then laid down until Arthur Hornblow, in 1919, published his “History of the Theatre in America,” in two volumes. Right at this point I want to record my deep indebtedness to this careful, scholarly and interesting work.
One reason why the theatre in America so long failed to receive adequate historical treatment was because little or no care had been given to the preservation and conservation of theatrical records. Happily, there has come a change in this respect during the past dozen years. Those of us especially who live and work near Boston cannot be too grateful for the priceless collection assembled, largely by Robert Gould Shaw, and now housed in the magnificent Widener library at Cambridge. I herewith acknowledge my deep indebtedness to Mrs. J. B. Hall, librarian in charge of this Theatre Collection of Harvard University, for her assistance in the selection of rare and interesting illustrations for my new text. The Allen A. Brown Collection in the Boston Public Library is another source of great help to workers in this field. For access to its treasures I thank its curators, and also I thank Charles Knowles Bolton and the staff of the Boston Athenæum for the use of other material.
Brander Matthews and the works of William Winter have given me much also; while to Montrose J. Moses, who has made a number of noteworthy contributions to the literature of the theatre, I am particularly indebted for counsel and helpful suggestions regarding the production of this new edition. To the J. B. Lippincott Company, the Houghton Mifflin Company, to Moffatt Yard and Company, to The Macmillan Company, who brought out Modjeska's memoirs, to the publishers of the autobiography of Madame Ristori, Ellen Terry and Tommaso Salvini, my gratitude is also due, chiefly for quotation privileges more specifically indicated in the body of the book. And in making this new edition I wish similarly to thank Brentano's, for permission to quote Oliver M. Sayler's “Our American Theatre"; Felix Isman for courtesies regarding his volume, "Weber and