Guide to the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Plays
Portions of this collection are digitized

Collection ID:
Warshaw, Isadore, 1900-1969
Physical Description:
10.92 Cubic feet
consisting of 23 boxes, 2 folders, 2 oversize folders, 1 flat box, plus digital images of some collection material.
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Plays forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
Man has performed for his fellow man since the dawn of time. Whether it be the story of the hunt, part of religious worship or an evening of drama or music the art of performing has been part of human existence for countless ages.
The "Plays" section of the Warshaw Collection consists of various types of materials relating to plays, operas and their production. The material is especially strong in providing actual copies of plays and operas, 1708-1924. This portion of the collection is divided into eight series:
Subseries 1: Plays, 1708-1918 & undated; contains copies of the scripts and is arranged alphabetically by title. Dates given are either copyright/publication dates or dates when first performed whichever is earlier.
Subseries 2: French Language Plays, OperasS, 1821-1924; contains a variety of plays and operas written in French and is arranged alphabetically by title. Dates given are either copyright dates or dates when first performed whichever is earlier.
Subseries 3: Operas, ca. 1800-1911 & undated.; contains librettos and scores for the operas listed and is arranged alphabetically by composer. The folders may contain either scores, librettos or programs.
Subseries 4: Prompt Books, 1779-1895 & undated.; contains prompt books used by prompters and stage managers in the production of a play. The prompt books contain notes made by the stage manager relevant to the staging of the work and in some cases there are scenery plots included as well. The series is arranged alphabetically by the play title.
Subseries 5: Related Theatre Publications, 1877-1925 & undated.; contains a variety of materials relating to acting, recitation and production. The series is arranged chronologically.
Subseries 6: Catalogues, 1904-1935 & undated; contains a range of catalogues from various publishing houses advertising the works licensed by them. The series is arranged alphabetically.
Subseries 7: Arthur W. Tams Music Libray, Inc. Corporate Records, 1892-1938; Arthur W. Tams, Inc. began business in approximately 1870 as a music, and later musical play, licensing and rental house. The Tams company reportedly controlled the largest collection of cantatas, oratorios and masses as well as the works of John Philip Sousa and Franz Lehar. Earlier located at 1600 Broadway between 48th and 49th streets, Tams re-located in 1916 to 1650 Broadway. Tams moved to their new, custom-built office building, 318-320 West 46th St. NYC, in July, 1921. There is a substantial amount of correspondence and construction contracts concerning the construction of these offices and their layout and finishes. Most of the correspondence from the Arthur Tams Company in this collection concerns matters relating to copyright. Sargent Aborn, one time secretary and general manager of Tams was a Mason. In 1925, Tams merged with the Witmark Music Library and formed Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. The Witmark company controlled the works of Victor Herbert, Reginald DeKoven and others. With this merger the company controlled the largest collection of printed and manuscript music then in existence. The merger proved wildly successful and the Tams-Witmark Music Library, Inc. is still in business, located at 560 Lexington Ave., New York, NY. Subseries 7 includes correspondence, financial records, catalogues, costume plots, property plots, advertising, blank letterhead and costume contracts, unidentified photographs and a stamped vocal score.
Subseries 8: Advertising and Programs, 1880-1911 & undated.; Series 8 contains general advertising for plays, licensing houses and instructional texts. This series also contains programs from several tours performed by Sarah Bernhardt in the United States. There is also an appreciation of the actor Charles Young, an early 19th century tragic actor.

Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., Vanessa Broussard-Simmons, and Nicole Blechynden
Funding for partial processing of the collection was supported by a grant from the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund (CCPF).
Processing Information note
by: Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., September 2002
Revised: June 19, 2003
In 2016, with funding provided by the Smithsonian Institution's Collections Care and Preservation Fund, the Archives Center at the National Museum of American History implemented the use of minimal level processing standards to increase information about and facilitate access to more of our collections. A few items were added to the content of this subject using minimal processing strategies with basic foldering/boxing and description, but staples and other fasteners have not all been removed.
Minimal level processing and enhancement of the machine-readable finding aid completed by Nicole Blechynden, 2017, September.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Plays is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Plays, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Conditions Governing Use note
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Materials in the Archives Center
Materials in the Archives Center
Archives Center Collection of Business Americana (AC0404)

Forms Part Of
Forms Part Of

More Information

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Business ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012