Scripts and actors' sides make up the bulk of the Tony Pastor Collection which documents
much of Pastor's career as a theater manager and, to a lesser extent, as a performer,
1861-1908 (bulk 1866-1890). The collection is organized into eight series: I. Scripts
and Actors' Sides, 1866-1883 (18.5 boxes), II. Instrumental and Vocal Parts, nd (3.5
boxes), III. Song Lyrics, ca. 1880s (2.5 boxes), IV. Financial Journals, 1882-1894
boxes), V. Programs, 1890-1894 (2 boxes, 1 oversize folder), VI. Scrapbooks, 1885-1908
(6.5 boxes, 1 oversize folder), VII. Sheet Music, 1878-1897 (0.5 box), and VIII.
Miscellaneous, 1861-1902 (2 boxes). Within each series, material is arranged
alphabetically by title of work or chronologically where appropriate.
Series I contains autograph scripts and actors' sides (a script with the dialogue
one actor) for more than one hundred sketches, burlesques, and pantomimes dating from
Pastor's earliest days as the manager of Tony Pastor's Opera House in 1866 on up to
heyday at the Fourteenth Street Theatre in the 1880s. The range of topics is narrow,
with rags to riches stories and abductions being common. Many scripts include
African-American, Irish, and German characters. Almost every item in the series contains
the notation "Property of Tony Pastor," suggesting that
Pastor commissioned or bought many of the works for exclusive use in his shows. Many
the unsigned sketches may have been written by Pastor himself. Identified authors
include John F. Poole, Charles F. Seabert, James Coleman Glynn, and J. C. Stewart.
Commonly, the names of the actors are noted in the dramatis personae or on the actor's
sides. The occasional clipping or playbill affixed or tipped into the scripts provides
further evidence that the work was actually performed. In addition to the actors'
the scripts may also include stage managers' notations, an indication of when music
to be played (including song lyrics), a property list, or a synopsis. Many scripts
written in dialect, and many, but not all, instances of dialect are indicated in the
following Folder List. Researchers will note that idiosyncratic spellings in the titles
of scripts resulted from transcription from the original.
Many of the sketches that were performed in Tony Pastor's theaters included songs,
overtures, and finales, and Pastor himself sang his topical songs regularly. The
Instrumental and Vocal Parts Series contains autograph instrumental and vocal parts
six sketches and over two hundred songs. Some of the songs may have been interpolated
into sketches, while others, like the topical songs, were performed as a single "turn" on a vaudeville bill. Like the scripts, the majority
of the parts bear Pastor's name on the title page, possibly indicating authorship
more likely pointing to proprietary performance rights. Much of the music contains
performance annotations. Parts for Sketches (Subseries A) precede parts for Songs
Supplementing the scripts and music parts, the Song Lyrics Series comprises autograph,
typed, and printed lyrics for about sixty songs, most from later in Pastor's career.
Parodies of popular songs are common. A scrapbook, ca. 1889, contains lyrics for about
forty-five songs written by Tony Pastor, Charles Osborne, Felix McGlennon, and others.
They are frequently annotated by Pastor. The series also contains two boxes of printed
lyrics in the form of song sheets that were meant to be sold to theater patrons.
The Financial Journals Series is divided into Subseries A. Touring Companies, 1882-1887,
and Subseries B. Fourteenth Street Theatre, 1886-1894, arranged chronologically within
the subseries. The season for Pastor's traveling troupe ran from April to October
included stops in small towns and large metropolitan areas in the American Northeast
Midwest. The journals contain detailed daily entries on receipts and the amount spent
advertising, properties, salaries, carriages, and the like. Also given is non-financial
information such as the name of the hall, the agent, the "opposition" (competing performances), and the weather. Frequently the journal
keeper commented on the success of the show; for example, in 1882 it was written of
Dubuque, Iowa, "Town no good" and "Price 1 00 is too high." In contrast to the rich detail of
the touring journals, the journals for the Fourteenth Street Theatre contain weekly
summaries of receipts and expenses. At the back of these journals are separate sections
for performers' salaries and advertising costs.
The Programs Series comprises over one hundred weekly programs for the Fourteenth
Theatre, 1890-1894, and two copies of an undated playbill.
The Scrapbooks Series, 1885-1908, contains publicity materials: advertisements for
upcoming shows, reviews, and promotional articles about Pastor or the acts appearing
his theater. The series is subdivided into two subseries, Touring Companies and
Fourteenth Street Theatre. In two of the New York scrapbooks, the clippings are
organized by newspaper. A special anniversary scrapbook contains clippings regarding
Pastor's twenty-fifth anniversary in theater in March 1890. Clippings were taken from
the New York Recorder, New York
Herald, New York Journal, World, New York Daily Tribune,
Mail and Express, New York
Press, Telegram, New
York Clipper, Telegraph, New York Daily News, Sun,
New York Dramatic Mirror, New
York Dramatic News, and other newspapers.
Series VII contains sheet music for music hall songs published between 1878 and 1897.
Much of the sheet music was given to Pastor as a complimentary copy by the lyricist,
composer, or singer who popularized the song; hence, nearly half of the songs bear
inscription by variety performer Lillie Western. The songs were written by E. Jonghmans,
Frederick Bowyer, Harry Adams, T. S. Lonsdale, Felix McGlennon, Harry Randall, Joseph
Tabrar, and others. The series is arranged by song title; dates in brackets in the
folder list indicate date of inscription, not publication.
The Miscellaneous Series contains a managers' report book with typed evaluations of
vaudeville acts that appeared in 1902 in New York, the Midwest, and Washington, D.C.
often candid appraisals were written by theater managers judging the success of their
own acts. The series also contains two notebooks, one from 1861 with a partial script
Pastor's hand, and the other containing undated lyrics for speaker and chorus in another
For a fuller description of the collection, see:
Kattwinkel, Susan. "Tony Pastor's Vaudeville: Serving the New
Library Chronicle of the University of Texas at Austin
25, no. 3 (1995): 50-75.
For an analysis of selected scripts in the collection, see also:
Kattwinkel, Susan. Tony Pastor Presents: Afterpieces from the
Vaudeville State. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1998.
Information regarding the scripts in Series I, including plot synopses, is available
an earlier finding aid in the Reading Room.
Abbreviations in the Folder List