Main content

Alfred Hermann Gumaer theater and music scrapbooks


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. 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

Alfred Hermann Gumaer (1873-1945) (also known as A. H. Gumaer) was a professor of architectural history at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania. Born in Brooklyn in 1873, he graduated from Columbia University in 1898 with a BS in architecture and worked as a draughtsman in Jersey City, New Jersey, from around 1900 until 1907, when he began working at the University of Pennsylvania. Gumaer was interested in music and theater, and he likely attended thousands of performances in his lifetime. Based on the materials in this collection, he appears to have traveled extensively, seeing performances not only in Philadelphia, Jersey City, and New York, but also in London, Paris, Rome, and Munich.

The materials in this collection date from a 60 year period and there is no evidence that he attended every performance represented in the scrapbooks.

This collection consists of eleven scrapbooks dating from 1877 to 1937 (many of the scrapbooks overlap in their dates of coverage). Each scrapbook includes programs and playbills from performances in Philadelphia, Jersey City, New York, London, Paris, and other cities. In addition to the programs and playbills, the scrapbooks also include the occasional clipping or music/theater publication.

The programs and playbills included in these scrapbooks are primarily for theatrical performances such as plays, musicals, and operas, and for music performances like orchestral and band concerts, piano recitals, and glee club concerts. Programs for ballets, dances, and readings are also present. Some of the scrapbooks in this collection contain only materials related to either theater or music, while other volumes include a variety of performance types.

The materials in the scrapbooks are primarily text-based documents, however some of them do include illustrations and photographs or drawn portraits. Programs will sometimes include decoration on the front and photographs of the actors within. Additionally, some programs have advertisements, and these frequently include photos or illustrations.

These scrapbooks collect material from a 60-year time period and thousands of performances. While hundreds of theaters are represented, certain theaters appear more frequently, including Chestnut Street Opera House, Broad Street Theatre, Walnut Street Theatre, the Academy of Music, Knickerbocker Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Forrest Theatre, Royal Opera House, and the Théâtre National de l'Opéra-Comique. Similarly, the names of countless performers appear in the programs and playbills included in these scrapbooks. Some names only appear once or twice, while others recur frequently. Some notable names that appear in these scrapbooks are Maude Adams, Ethel Barrymore, Edwin Booth, Lew Fields, Kathleen Howard, William Ingersoll, Henry Irving, [Alla] Nazimova, Frizi Scheff, and Otis Skinner.

The scrapbooks in this collection are organized chronologically. As previously noted, there is overlap between the volumes, sometimes with materials from one year appearing in as many as four or five scrapbooks.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Rayna Andrews
Finding Aid Date
2017 June 28
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Theater programs and playbills, 1877-1878, 1880-1882, 1885-1902.
Volume 1
Theater, ballet, and music performance programs and playbills, 1879, 1881, 1887, 1890-1910.
Volume 2
Concert, recital, and other music performance programs, playbills, and music publications, 1890-1918.
Volume 3
Theater and ballet programs, playbills, and theater publications, 1902-1915.
Volume 4
Theater, ballet, and music performance programs and playbills, 1909-1918.
Volume 5
Theater programs and playbills, 1911-1912, 1915-1922.
Volume 6
Theater and ballet programs and playbills, 1917-1926.
Volume 7
Music performance, dance, and theater programs and playbills, 1918-1937.
Volume 8
Theater programs, playbills, and theater publications, 1922-1929.
Volume 9
Theater and ballet programs and playbills, 1926-1937.
Volume 10
Theater and dance programs and playbills, 1929-1936.
Volume 11

Print, Suggest