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Boston Theatre and Opera House (Washington Street) Collection

 Collection — Container: MS Th. 2
Call Number: MS Th. 2

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the construction and design of the theatre building. Contracts, design proposals and drawings of the sites are included.


  • 1847-1855


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

The Boston Theatre and Opera House, incorporated on May 20, 1853, was designed by architects Edward Clark and James Elliot Cabot of Brookline. The 3,000 seat venue opened on September 11, 1854. Sarah Bernhardt and Edwin Booth were among the actors who performed there and it was was also where Bostonians first heard Beethoven’s Fidelio in 1854 and Carmen in 1879.


26.00 Items

Language of Materials



Arranged chronologically.

Related Materials

Federal Street Theatre, MS Th. 1

National Theatre, MS Th. 11

Tremont Theatre, MS Th. 4

Processing Information

Rare Books and Manuscripts Department staff.

Processing Information

This electronic finding aid is transcribed from legacy data. In many cases, transcriptions were not verified against collection materials at the time of transcription. As a result, this finding aid could be incomplete and might only reflect a partial understanding of the material.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Boston Theatre and Opera House (Washington Street) Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2020-06: Updated by Kimberly Reynolds, June 2020.

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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Boston MA 02116 United States