Opera & Concert Scrapbooks: A Window to the Past – The Biggest One Yet?

Opera and concert scrapbooks - a window to past performances

In the 19th and early 20th century, people who regularly attended opera, music concerts and theater performances many times kept a scrapbook with clippings from programs.

Keeping the full program from performances demanded space and especial care, so using a good pair of scissors to cut out the cast page (and sometimes photographs as well) from inside programs was a rather common practice.

Throughout the years, we have seen and acquired many of them to enrich our large collection of opera and classical music concert clips, yet we never expected to find something like the scrapbook we recently acquired (see photos).

It is by far the largest and most incredible of all the scrapbooks we have ever seen and probably will see: 14 x 18 inches and 6+ inches thick, with 540+ large pages weighing over 22 pounds!.

It contains over 2,400 clippings which include opera and classical music concerts (around 60% of the program clips), rest are from theater plays. Lots of famous conductors, singers, composers conducting, conducting, violinists, pianists, and more.

Clippings start from early 1880, and continue in very regular intervals until mid-1927 - A very nice collection of 47 years of clips from New York and Boston cultural life, put together by an unknown hand since no name or information about the original owner is written anywhere.

 

SOME GOOD EXAMPLES:

- Boston Opera and Theater Album Clip Collection 1879-1889

- Boston Opera and Theater Album Clip Collection 1884-1890

- Boston Opera and Theater Album Clip Collection 1890-1898