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Frank McGlinn collection


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Frank Cresson Potts McGlinn was born in Philadelphia in 1914 to obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. John Aloysius McGlinn and his wife, Emma Potts McGlinn. He was a graduate of William Penn Charter School and received degrees from the University of North Carolina and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. During World War II, he served as a naval officer on a minesweeper and was awarded the Purple Heart in 1944. While on leave in 1942, he married Louise “Wegie” Lea. The couple had four daughters and enjoyed fifty-seven years of marriage. After the war, McGlinn worked as a lawyer with Pepper, Hamilton, and Scheetz until 1953 when he joined an advertising firm. In 1957, he became vice president for marketing at Fidelity Bank. He left in 1978 to accept a position at the Western Savings Fund Society from which he retired in 1982.

Outside of his career, McGlinn was also a prominent fundraiser for the Republican Party, serving on the Executive Committee of the Republican National Finance Committee for a number of years. Over the years he was offered several appointed positions or opportunities to run for office, including a chance to be the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania on the ticket with Raymond P. Shafer, who was elected governor in 1966. McGlinn turned down all offers, content to fill a role behind the scenes and spend more time with his family. He was active in various community organizations, but especially those associated with theater, throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania. Among other institutions, he served on the boards for the Walnut Street Theatre, the Theatre of the Living Arts, Philadelphia Free Library, the Edwin Forrest Home for Retired Actors, William Penn Foundation, Temple University, and the Afro American Historical & Cultural Museum (African American Museum in Philadelphia).

McGlinn’s life-long love of the theater began with his first performance at the Walnut Street Theatre, where his nanny took him to see The Green Goddess with George Arliss. While at Penn Charter, he acted in a number of plays but, due to a speech impediment, gave up his stage ambitions to earn degrees in political science and law. He channeled his passion into becoming a theater supporter and memorabilia collector. Over the years he donated large portions of his collection to the Free Library, Temple University, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, among other institutions.

Frank McGlinn died of congestive heart failure in 2000.

The Frank McGlinn collection consists of the ephemera collection and professional materials of Frank Cresson Potts McGlinn (1914-2000). The collection contains McGlinn’s personal collection of theater and performing arts ephemera as well as substantial material pertaining to his fund-raising and philanthropic activities, including programs, handbills, broadsides, posters, letters, invitations, promotional mailers, and clippings.

The collection is arranged in two basic series: Series I. Theater ephemera collection and Series II. Professional papers. The ephemera series comprises the first seven boxes of the collection and consists of handbills, programs, broadsides, posters, and other materials from a variety of Philadelphia theaters as well as some material from sporting events. The second much larger series consists of administrative papers and correspondence relating to McGlinn’s positions on a number of executive boards including the Bicentennial Planning commission, the Republican National Finance Committee, and the Walnut Street Theatre. Much of the material in this series remains unsorted with various letters, invitations, promotional mailers, and clippings, reflecting McGlinn’s wide range of interests and support of various Philadelphia cultural institutions.

Series 1. Theater ephemera

Contains papers on the Academy of Music

Series 2. Professional papers

Contains papers on the following subjects:

Bicentennial planning commission

Republican finance committee

Walnut Street Theatre

Gift of Frank McGlinn, 1980-1993.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Megan Evans.
Finding Aid Date
; 2015.
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Maxine and Howard Lewis.
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Academy of Music programs and handbills, 1860s-1980s.
Box 1-2, 4
Oversize theater ephemera.
Box 3
Assorted ephemera from various Philadelphia theaters including Arch Street, Chestnut Street, Chestnut Street Opera, Forrest, Garrick, Locust Street, Lyric and Adelphi, Shubert, Walnut Street, and others; Mask and Wig Club programs; Savoy Company programs.
Box 5.1-5.2
Other ephemera, including 6 scrapbooks of newspaper clippings from various sources, assorted church programs, dance cards, and other printed material.
Box 6
Sports ephemera, including several Army-Navy football programs.
Box 7
Assorted theater posters and broadsides, some posters for sporting events, 1835-1979.
Oversize Flat file 1-3 Oversize Flat file 5-8
Anthony F. Dumas architectural drawings of Philadelphia theaters, 1917-1918, 1920-1921, undated.
Oversize Flat file 4.1
Anthony F. Dumas architectural drawings of Philadelphia theaters, 1925, 1927-1928, 1931, 1934-1935, 1937.
Oversize Flat file 4.2

Bicentennial planning commission, circa 1970s.
Box 8-10
Bicentennial of the Constitution [We the People 200], circa 1970s-1980s.
Box 11
City of Philadelphia planning and Philadelphia Area Cultural Consortium, circa 1970s-1980s.
Box 12-13
Republican Finance Committee, circa 1950s-1970s.
Box 14-16
Republican Finance Committee and William Penn Foundation, circa 1950s-1970s.
Box 17
Walnut Street Theatre.
Box 18
Mixed materials including letters, invitations, promotional mailers for various Philadelphia cultural organizations, annual reports for various organizations including the William Penn Foundation, exhibition catalogs, Catholic directories, Social Registers, other books, clippings, brochures, pamphlets, and other materials, circa 1940s-1990s.
Box 19-49
Printing markups, proofs, plates, negatives, photographs, and clip art relating to the Philadelphia Area Cultural Consortium, circa 1970s-1980s.
Box 54
Printing markups, proofs, photographs, clip art, and other promotional materials for the Philadelphia Area Cultural Consortium, circa 1970s-1980s.
Oversize Flat file 9
Assorted Bicentennial and other materials, circa 1970s.
Oversize Flat file 10

Print, Suggest