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MS Thr 1080

Alfred Jacobsen (Firm) toy theater prints, undated: Guide.

Houghton Library


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 1080
Repository: Houghton Library
Title: Alfred Jacobsen (Firm) toy theater prints
Date(s): undated.
Quantity: .25 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in Danish.
Abstract: 19th and 20th-century toy theater prints from Danish publisher Alfred Jacobsen (Firm).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2010MT-11. Gift of Thomas Garrett ; received: 2010 October 9.
Forms part of Fredric Woodbridge Wilson Collection of Theater, Dance, and Music (Harvard Theatre Collection).

Processing Information:

Processed by: Rebekah Scoggins

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Alfred Jacobsen (Firm) Toy Theater Prints, undated (MS Thr 1080). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

Alfred Jacobsen (1853-1924‏) opened a lithographic print shop in Copenhagen in 1873 to make prints for Danish Toy theaters, known as dukketeater. Gaining popularity in the 1820s and 30s, the earliest dukketeater materials got their inspiration from German predecessors and Copenhagen stage productions. Jacobsen published a toy theater magazine for children called Suffløren ("The Prompter") and printed and sold lithographic character sheets, scenes, and backdrops in his shop until his death in 1924.
He created his own print sizes for his lithographs and his own numbering system for his designs. His prints came in sizes 'A', 'C', 'D', and 'F'. Around 1900, Jacobsen sold the rights to many of his 'C' designs to Carl Larsen and Vilhelm Prior, contemporary lithographic publishers in Copenhagen. After Jacobsen's death in 1924, Prior's bookshop continued to sell and reprint Jacobsen's designs.
References: Syskind. Alfred Jacobsens Danske Teaterdekorationer & Danske Billeder. 1967. and Baldwin. Toy Theatres of the World. 1992.


Arranged by publisher into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Collection contains color lithograph toy theater prints, including mostly backdrops with some set pieces and one character sheet published by Danish printers circa 1890-1930. Over half of the items are prints published by Alfred Jacobsen. The remaining are published by three individuals, two contemporary publishers, Carl Larsen and Vilhelm Prior, and one unknown publisher.
All are undated. The sizes vary but fall within a similar range between 42 x 34 cm and 52 x 35 cm, with a few exceptions. All but two prints are numbered based on Jacobsen's publication system. Jacobsen's lithographs contain nine prints labeled 'C' size and two prints labeled 'F' size. Prior's lithographs also contain two prints labeled 'C' size.


This collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

Container List