American Treasures of the Library of Congress: Memory, Exhibit Object Focus

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Theater Poster Collection

Theater poster depicting Edwin Booth as "Hamlet"
Bencke & Scott
[Edwin Booth as "Hamlet"]
Chromolithograph poster, ca. 1873
Prints & Photographs Division
Copyright deposit, 1873 (166A.
[ Digital ID# ppmsca-05581 ]

The Library of Congress theater poster collection represents more than 1,500 plays and documents the development and the cataclysmic rise of the American theater from 1870 to 1900. Its success can be attributed to three factors: the development of the transcontinental rail system, the doubling of the U.S. population, and the development of new advertising methods like the colorful posters represented in the collection. This chromolithograph pays tribute to Edwin Booth (1833-1865), brother of Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth and one of the most noted Shakespearean actors of his day.


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