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Print Collection 3: Cushman Club Gift Collection

The Charlotte Cushman Club, named in honor of America's first internationally renowned actress, was founded in 1907 by Lydia Ellicott Morris and her friends to provided respectable lodgings for actresses appearing in Philadelphia theaters. Originally located at the corner of 12th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia, it moved to 1010 Spruce Street in 1920. In 1963 the Club moved for the final time to 239 Camac Street, a reconverted Victorican double townhouse which had formerly housed the Poor Richards Club. In 2000 the clubhouse was sold and its collections, including the Eleanor Wescott Library of rare theater memorabilia and books, were dispersed.

The Club has recently transformed itself into the Charlotte Cushman Foundation, which makes theater-related grants in the Greater Philadelphia area. The Foundation also provides scholarships to performing arts students in area colleges and universities and continues to give the Cushman Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre, which the Club established in 1957. The University of the Arts, where the Foundation now has its offices, is home to the Cushman Club Board Room and Exhibit, which were established in 1999.

The collection consists of playbills, programs, engravings, drawings, ephemera, and scrapbooks. All the materials relate directly to theatrical performances and performers, the majority of which is from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. This collection, along with the archives of the Club and a small group of theater books, were given to the University in 2000. A wooden model theater, made by Charles Boucher, and some paperboard toy theater scenery, given in 2001, joined the earlier gift.

Organization and arrangement:

  • 1) Playbills and Programs: Philadelphia, 19th and 20th Century
  • 2) Playbills & Programs: Other American, 19th and 20th Century
  • 3) Playbills and Programs: British, 19th and 20th Century
  • 4) Playbills & Programs: Unidentified Theaters and/or Dates
  • 5) Playbills & Programs: Other Foreign
  • 6) Ephemera
  • 7) Theatrical Images
  • 8) Miscellaneous items. Within the playbill & program and ephemera categories, materials are organized alphabetically by the title of work. Theatrical images are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the performer.

Cushman Club Gift Collection Finding Aid

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