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Alice Goodsell Dunn notes on British literature and theater scrapbook


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

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Overview and metadata sections

Alice Goodsell Dunn was born in October 1874 and lived in Lynn, Massachusetts, with her father Lewis D. Dunn, a superintendent at a dry goods store, and her mother, Anna L. Dunn. Alice Goodsell Dunn married Frederick Bassett Abbott, an 1893 graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, on September 12, 1900. They had five children.

"1900 United States Federal Census." Library Edition. Provo, UT: Operations, Inc., 2004. (accessed September 10, 2012). Lewis, Alonzo, and James R. Newhall.History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts, including Lynnfield, Saugus, Swampscott, and Nahant. Lynn: The Nichols Press, 1897. (accessed September 10, 2012).MIT Alumni Association.Technology Review, Volume 3. Boston: Association of Class Secretaries of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (accessed September 10, 2012).

This scrapbook comprises a single volume containing Lynn, Massachusetts, resident Alice Goodsell Dunn's (b. 1874) notes on British literary history and theater playbills collected from productions she attended in and around Boston, Massachusetts, between 1888 and 1897. Many of the playbills are accompanied by Dunn's handwritten notes and reflections on the performances.

The title page of the volume bears a decorative sketch and reads "Alice Goodsell Dunn, 1893-94, Lynn." Items within the volume itself range in date from 1888 to 1897. The volume is divided into two sections which are separated by blank pages. The first section contains Dunn's notes on British literature, and the second section contains her theater scrapbook.

Dunn's literature notes are subdivided into seven sections comprising labeled historical periods from the "Pre-Chaucerian period" to the period labeled "Seventeenth Century: Second half." Each section's notes are preceded by a hand-drawn chart of that period's major authors and themes. The final section includes a chart but contains no subsequent notes, suggesting that Dunn's note-taking was incomplete. The notes are encyclopedic in nature and cover major authors such as Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Thomas Malory, and William Shakespeare, their notable works and writing styles, as well as some brief historical context.

The second section of the volume contains programs for local theater productions Dunn attended. There are approximately three dozen complete or partial programs in the scrapbook, many of which are for productions at either the Hollis Street Theatre in Boston (built in 1885) or the Lynn Theatre in Lynn, Massachusetts, which opened in 1888. Several of the programs and their handwritten labels feature American actor and vaudevillian Nathaniel Carll Goodwin (1857-1919), whom Dunn clearly admired.

The playbills contained in the volume are both pasted-in and laid-in and do not appear to have been arranged in any discernible order. The pasted-in items consist of the playbill's cast list and the play's synopsis and are accompanied by Dunn's handwritten impression of the performance ("it was very good and I wept"; "L. and I had a beautiful time crying"). The final pages of the scrapbook contain lists of names, possibly guest lists, and a page of poetic quotations.

  1. Item 0024: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0093 SCRAPBOOK FOLIO

Gift of the estate of Barrie Stavis, 2009.

Processed and encoded by Elyse Brown, September 2012.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2012 September 11
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

Alice Goodsell Dunn notes on British literature and theater scrapbook, 1888-1897.
Item 0024
Physical Description

1 volume

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