[1878–1884 Archive of Philadelphia Lecture and Musical Promoter T.B. Pugh].

Archive of correspondence and business papers of T.B. Pugh, Philadelphia literary lecture, public reading, and musical promoter, forty-five items, in sum. Letters and/or business accounts herein document Pugh’s long-running “Star Course of Lectures” and his close work with the American Academy of Music in Philadelphia as well as with other promoters such as Helen Potter and the American Literary Bureau of New York City and James H. Roberts & Co. and Pond & Bachert of Boston.

Examples of incoming correspondence include five autograph letters signed (plus an additional secretarial letter) by noted stage impersonator Helen Potter; an ALS by journalist, anti-slavery activist, and fellow promoter James Redpath, offering Pugh a prepared program of seven performers: “...Redpath’s Pleiades, which consists of seven stars—not Star Course Stars but heavenlier bodies…;” an ALS by abolitionist Robert Purvis concerning “...an arrangement for a Grand Concert of ‘Colored Artists’ in the ‘Star Course’;” and two ALsS by leading Shakespeare reader, George Riddle of Cambridge, Massachusetts, both mentioning Midsummer Night’s Dream. Other interesting correspondence refers to an individual trying to sell a large stage panorama of Italy with its attendant descriptive book, stereotype plates, and cuts to pay of a personal mortgage.

Retained copies of outgoing correspondence (in all, two items) include a letter to American operatic singer Clara Louise Kellogg (“I would mention that I agreed to pay an increase of fee in consideration of its being a Farewell Concert and last appearance.”) and a letter concerning plans for a concert in Philadelphia by Austrian operatic soprano Amalie Materna: “Now, if there is the slightest probability that the Concert in Phila. will fall through…I beg you to telegraph me at once, before I go to the expense of advertising. ... I received by express to-day 475 lithographs of Materna.”

Pugh’s business accounts include partly printed forms and handwritten sheets tallying attendance and cash receipts for various “Star Course” lectures or musical performances at the Academy of Music (monies paid by Pugh for a ticket seller, ushers, door and stage keepers; in one case naming exact sections of the theater —balcony, etc.— where revenue came from) and a receipt for advertising in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin newspaper. Other manuscripts include a “Press List” of tickets to a performance (tickets for named individuals at newspapers; notable editors and drama critics), two memorandums of agreement with other managers, a handwritten copy of the detailed itinerary for an 1881 “White Mountain Excursion,” and a copy of an agreement to pay German-American conductor and composer Leopold Damrosch to conduct a public rehearsal as well as an evening performance of Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust.

“The Galaxy” of celebrities in Pugh’s “Star Course of Lectures” at one time included such figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), Wendell Phillips, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Pugh also represented such “Readers” as Fanny Kemble and Charlotte Cushman.

Description: [1878–1884 Archive of Philadelphia Lecture and Musical Promoter T.B. Pugh].

Philadelphia, New York, etc. 1878–1884. [63] manuscript pages. 45 items: 30 letters, 9 accounting forms and receipts, and 6 misc. Folds; few separations at folds; very good.


Price: $1,250.00

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