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MS Thr 418

Davenport, Fanny, 1850-1898. Fanny Davenport collection, 1870-1979: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: b
Call No.: MS Thr 418
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Davenport, Fanny, 1850-1898.
Title: Fanny Davenport collection,
Date(s): 1870-1979.
Quantity: 1 collection (7 linear feet (4 boxes)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Business and personal papers of American actress and theatrical manager Fanny Davenport and members of her family (Seymour family).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

No accession number. Purchase; received: 2000.

Processing Information:

Totsaporn Intarabumrung, under the supervision of Beth Carroll-Horrocks. Processing continued by Kathy Bencowitz, 2003; and completed by Bonnie B. Salt, 2012

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Fanny Davenport Collection, 1870-1979 (MS Thr 418). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Fanny Lily Gypsy Davenport (1850-1898) was an American actress and theatrical manager. She was the child of Edward Loomis Davenport and Fanny Elizabeth Vining Gill Davenport. In 1882 she started her own theatrical company, the Fanny Davenport Company, which toured the United States with productions of Fedora, La Tosca, Cleopatra, and Gismonda, among others. She was married first to Edwin H. Price (from 1879 to 1888) and then to Melbourne MacDowell (from 1889). She had no children from either marriage.
Her sister, May Davenport, married William Seymour (1855-1933) and had children, including May Davenport Seymour (1856-1927; married to William Stanley Eckert) and Fanny Lydia Davenport Seymour (married to Richard Montgomery Field).


The collection is organized into the following series:

Scope and Contents

The collection contains business and financial records for the Fanny Davenport Company, mostly from 1880-1898, including theatrical contracts; transportation, equipment, and costume records; correspondence with playwrights (including Frances Aymar Mathews, Victorien Sardou) and agents (Elisabeth Marbury); and Davenport's household management and real estate records.
The remainder of the collection contains documents and photographs from the family of Fanny Davenport's nieces, May Davenport Seymour (Curator of the Theatre Collection, Museum of the City of New York), and actress Fanny Lydia Davenport Seymour Field, who married Princeton geology professor Richard Montgomery Field (1885-1961).

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