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 & n.d.; 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, OPERAS, 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 & n.d.; 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 & n.d.; 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 & n.d.; contains a variety of materials relating to acting, recitation and production. The series is arranged chronologically.
Subseries 6: CATALOGUES, 1904-1935 & n.d; 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 LIBRARY, 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 & n.d.; 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.