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MS Thr 946

Toy theater cut-out figure collection, undated: 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 946
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: Toy theater cut-out figure collection,
Date(s): undated.
Quantity: 1 collection (3 boxes (1 linear ft.)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Toy theater cut-out figure collection including movable parts, tinsel embellishment, etc...

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2003MT-203. Purchase; received: 1991; 91-92.005.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Toy Theater Cut-Out Figure Collection, Undated (MS Thr 946). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Related Materials

See HOLLIS and OASIS for additional Toy Theater materials.

Biographical / Historical

Toy theaters were especially popular as English children's toys in the first half of the 19th-century. Individual character portrait prints known as "penny plains" and "twopence coloureds" were collected and often used in toy theaters, as were engraved prints of multiple characters and scenery. Figures were often cut-out from these prints, or drawn by hand, mounted on cardboard, and used as character figures in play performances. Tinseling enthusiasts added to the costumes with die-cut metal foils (tinsel) as well as bits of fabric, leather, feathers, ink, paint and any other suitable material.


Arranged as received in repository.

Scope and Contents

133 figures in total. 7 figures cut-out from printed sheets with printed text, hand-colored and some decorated with tinsel. The remainder of the figures were drawn and painted by hand, some decorated with tinsel, many with movable parts, some tied with string, and some prepared as trick or transformation pieces.

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