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Series 1: Production Ephemera, 1826-2012


Scope and Contents

Series 1: Production Ephemera makes up the bulk of the collection and includes programs, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other materials documenting particular productions. Materials in this series represent some of the earliest undergraduate dramatic performances, dating back to 1826, through the 19th and 20th centuries to the present day. The ephemera in this series offers insight into the dedication and work that went into undergraduate student productions, from elaborate costumes and scripts to the hours spent at rehearsal.

This series emphasizes the Amherst College student experience and contains information about clubs and societies on campus, graduating classes, the development and history of drama at Amherst, and student journalism through the years, to list a few examples. The series also extends beyond the borders of the Amherst campus, offering a perspective on the history of popular theater in America and popular cultural entertainment of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The series includes photographs from 1879 to current productions, with the majority of original photographs dating to the late Victorian period to the 21st century. Examples include albumen prints, silver gelatin prints, and color prints. The collection also showcases changing styles of artistic design, typography, and printing throughout two centuries of dramatic productions. The material provides evidence of changing trends in drama, literature, and costume design.


  • Creation: 1826-2012

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Dramatic Activities Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items may be restricted for preservation purposes.


From the Collection: 48 Linear feet (125 boxes)

Language of Materials



This series is arranged in four sub-series:

  1. Sub-series A: Amherst College Productions
  2. Sub-series B: Visiting Performers at Amherst College
  3. Sub-series C: Season Summaries
  4. Sub-series D: Minstrel Shows
  5. Sub-series E: Unidentified or Undocumented Productions

Arranged chronologically. This series is not a comprehensive collection of every production produced at Amherst College; the collection inventory reflects the productions for which the College holds archival material. In sub-series A, the date noted usually refers to the the month and year the production was performed. There may be other material in folders that are related to the production but do not share the same date as the performance. There may also be material related to subsequent performances, but in general the date on the folder refers to the first occurrance of that particular production.

Folder titles include the production title or best estimation of the production title. Sometimes folder titles may not correspond to the title on the cover of the program but rather refer to a production as part of a larger event. An effort has been made to include individual performances making up a larger event as a note at the folder level.

Boxes 61, 62, 63, 64, and 65 contain posters arranged by size. They are arranged at the box level and are not foldered.

Related Materials

It is advised to examine the inventory for Series 8: Scripts and Music Scores, Series 9: Slides, and Series 10: Costume Design for additional information.

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299