William Meredith collection of Philadelphia theatrical commentaries
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
William Morris Meredith, Sr. (1799-1873) was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer and politician who briefly served as United States Secretary of the Treasury under the Taylor administration between March 1849 and July 1850. Meredith, Sr. graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1812, at the age of 13, and was admitted to the bar in 1817, where he eventually became President of the Philadelphia Bar Association. He served in several political positions, including a minority position in the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the president of the Philadelphia City Council, and the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, among others.
A note from the donor, Horace Howard Furness Jayne, (located in Box 1 Folder 1) suggests that the collection may also have been created by William Meredith, Sr.'s son, William Keppele Meredith, since the senior William Meredith was an active lawyer at the time and may not have been able to attend and comment on so many theatrical performances in such great detail due to his busy schedule.
Horace Howard Furness Jayne, the donor of this collection, was the grandson of the prominent Philadelphia Shakespeare scholar Horace Howard Furness.
The William Meredith collection of Philadelphia theatrical commentaries dates from December 1852 to January 1957 and contains 119 longhand commentaries on theatrical performances, some of which contain references to multiple performances and all of which are signed and dated. The commentaries are generally in chronological order, and most of the performances took place in Philadelphia, with the greatest number being at the Walnut Street Theatre; although several were at the Chestnut Street Theatre and the Arch Street Theatre. Through these commentaries Meredith offers his opinions on the performances and performers, many of whom were famous actors during their time. Meredith's reviews are often scathing, although they occasionally include verses of praise for Meredith's favorite actors, most notably a "Miss Gougenheim." The collection also includes a brief description of the history and contents of the collection, written in September 1974 by Horace Howard Furness Jayne, grandson of the Philadelphia Shakespeare scholar Horace Howard Furness, which is located in Box 1 Folder 1.
Gift of Horace Howard Furness Jayne, 1974.
- Walnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Chestnut Street Theatre (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- Arch Street Theatre (Philadelphia, Pa.)
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Molly B. Hutt
- Finding Aid Date
- 2015 April 7
- 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.