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Michael and Antoinette Kavanagh family papers

 Collection — Container: MS 2766
Call Number: MS 2766

Scope and Contents

The Michael and Antoinette Kavanagh family papers span the years 1908-1967 and document the couple’s theatrical careers and family matters. Materials include professional and personal correspondence from Michael to Antoinette, personal correspondence from family and friends, including Antoinette's father Charles Walker and her son, Walker Stewart, as well as Michael's professional correspondence. Also included are other materials, primarily related to the theater industry, including photographs, play scripts and teleplays, magazine and newspaper clippings, financial records, and playbills.


  • 1908-1967


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.

Antoinette Walker Kavanagh (1874-1970)

Antoinette Walker Kavanagh was born in 1874 in Clinton, Indiana and was a stage and film actress and playwright. She was known for her role as Ruth Tyler in The Sting of Victory (1916) and appeared in several plays produced by David Belasco and Lee Shubert. She married Jehial Stewart, and they had a son, Walker Stewart. She later married Michael Kavanagh. Michael and Antoinette also worked together from 1930-1931 when they managed the Punch and Judy Theater in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. Antoinette was very interested in children’s entertainment and created Tony Kay Entertainment for Children. She died in Topsfield, Massachusetts in 1970.

Michael Kavanagh (1887-1967)

Michael (Mike) Kavanagh was born in Ottawa, Canada in 1887 and came to Boston, Massachusetts with his family around 1891. He had a career in the film and theater industry, working as a theater manager for the Shubert Theatres in Boston, managing film showings for Marcus Loew, and working with film producer Mike Todd on Around the World in 80 Days. He also had five films on Broadway, including Ben Hur, and managed the Broadway Theater in New York where the play Fantasia had its long run. Over the course of his career, he worked for Charles Dillingham, booking road shows. Later in his career, he was Executive Secretary of the Independent Booking Office in New York. Michael Kavanagh died in Topsfield, Massachusetts in 1967.


450 Items

Language of Materials



Family papers of theater manager, Michael Kavanagh (1887-1967), and stage and film actress and playwright, Antoinette Walker Kavanagh (1874-1970). The papers span the years 1908-1967 and document the couple’s theatrical careers and family matters, including correspondence, scripts, photographs, clippings, financial records, and playbills.


The papers are organized in six series:

I. Correspondence; II. Play scripts, librettos, and notes; III. Financial; IV. Playbills, magazines, and memorabilia; V. Photographs; VI. Clippings and other printed material

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Maury Bromsen, 1983.

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.

Former Title

Collection formerly known as Michael and Antoinette Kavanagh Collection.

Guide to the Michael and Antoinette Kavanagh Family Papers
Rare Books and Manuscripts Staff and Kimberly Reynolds
Finding aid created and/or transcribed from legacy inventory prior to 2020.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2014-12: Updated by Kimberly Reynolds.
  • 2022-11-02: To comply with Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS) Version 2019.0.3, Crystal Rodgers, Archivist, adjusted the following field(s): title, EAD ID, finding aid filing title, abstract, scope and contents note, biographical/historical note, arrangement note, processing information note, and preferred citation, and created the following field(s): finding aid date, finding aid author, and curatorial department.

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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Boston MA 02116 United States