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
Thomas Ridgway was a lawyer from Philadelphia, born to John Jacob Ridgway, Jr. and Elizabeth Fry on July 20, 1874.
He attended Princeton University and earned a Legum Baccalaureus (L.L.B.) from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1896.
Ridgway served with the First Troop of the Philadelphia City Cavalry, with which he served in Cuba during the Spanish American War.
He was active in numerous organizations in addition to his cavalry service, including: the Historical Society of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Club, Philadelphia Country Club, Colonial Society of Pennsylvania, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Society Sons of the Revolution, Independence Hall Association, Delta Psi Fraternity, and Women's Seventh Ward Republican Club.
In addition to being a lawyer and an active member of numerous organizations, Ridgway was described as a "student and historian of the local stage," who gave numerous addresses on the topic. (In Memoriam) He was married to Edith Wayne, with whom he had two children, Thomas Ridgway, Jr. and Anthony Wayne Ridgway. The family were summer residents of Newport, RI.
Ridgway died on December 16, 1943.
The theater scene in Philadelphia in the 18th century centered around four early theaters. They included a warehouse on Water Street between Pine and Lombard Streets that served as the first theater, which was active by 1749; the Plumsted Theater on Water Street between Pine and Lombard Streets which was the first more "formal" theater, established in 1749; the Society Hill Theater on the Southwest corner of South and Hancock Streets, established in 1759; and the Southwark Theater (originally known as the New Theater) on South Street near 4th Street, established around 1766.
Major actors and theater companies in 18th century Philadelphia included Thomas Kean and Walter Murray, William Plumsted, Lewis Hallam, and David Douglas and his company, The American Company.
Bostwick, Charles Byron. "List of Membership." A History of Princeton '96 to the Time of the Decennial Reunion of the Class in June, 1906; and a Part of the History of Princeton University during the Years 1896 to 1906, Press of F.P. McBreen & Co., New York, 1906, p. 221.
"In Memoriam: Thomas Ridgway, Esq." The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 68, No. 2, April 1944, pp. 223-225.
Thomas Ridgway 18th century Philadelphia theater material, circa 1940s, 1983, Ms. Coll. 1565, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
The Thomas Ridgway 18th century Philadelphia theater material measures .2 linear feet in one box, dates primarily to the 1940s, and mostly contains Ridgway's writings related to 18th century Philadelphia theater and his accompanying research and notes.
This collection is of use to researchers hoping to learn about early theater in Philadelphia, including what the early theaters were and where they were located; who the early actors and theater companies where, where they came from, and what they played; what productions appeared when; and notable people who attended theater productions in Philadelphia.
This material is organized into three series: I. Writings, II. Notes, and III. Ephemera.
I. Writings include Ridgway's drafts and typed copies of writings regarding theater in Philadelphia in the 18th century, William Penn's involvement in the theater, and a biography of actor David Douglass.
II. Notes includes general and chronological notes relating to the theater in 18th century Philadelphia, notes on the composition of "Hail Columbia," (written by Joseph Hopkinson, also a Penn alumnus) and notes on the first actors in Philadelphia.
Finally, III. Ephemera includes an introduction of Thomas Ridgway and a bookplate and portrait belonging to the Osborn family. It is unclear who the Osborn family is and how they relate to Ridgway or Philadelphia theater.
Gift of Thomas Ridgway and [?] Kirkland, undated.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelin Baldridge Smallwood
- Finding Aid Date
- 2023 November 16
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.