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Edgar L. Potts dissertation and research on Philadelphia theater

Ms. Coll. 1019

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Summary Information

Repository:
University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Creator:
Potts, Edgar L., 1893-1970
Title:
Edgar L. Potts dissertation and research on Philadelphia theater
Date:
1932
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1019
Extent:
0.4 Linear feet (1 box)
Language:
English
Abstract:
Edgar L. Potts (1893-1970) was a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania and a theater enthusiast. During his graduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, he wrote his thesis, "History of Philadelphia Theatre, 1890-1900." This collection documents his research for and writing of his dissertation and contains two typed drafts of the dissertation and his research into the chronological listing of plays performed in Philadelphia in the year 1890.
Cite as:
Edgar L. Potts dissertation and research on Philadelphia theater, 1932, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

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Biography/History

Edgar Leroy Potts was born on August 23, 1893, the son of George E. and Anna C. Potts in Philadelphia. He obtained his education at Philadelphia's Central High School and Princeton University, where he majored in English and history, and graduated in 1916. Following his graduation, he entered law school at the University of Pennsylvania. At the start of World War I, he offered his services to the war effort, but "due to physical difficulties was rejected" (Princeton Alumni Weekly). Instead, he worked at a training camp at the YMCA until the war was over; at which point he returned to the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, graduating in 1920. He also earned his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, probably in 1932.

Potts never practiced law, but served as an instructor in the English Department of the University of Pennsylvania from 1925 to 1938, when he was appointed as an assistant professor. The Princeton Alumni Weekly stated that he had a "wide range of interests in literature, music, [and] the theater." He died on March 12, 1970.

Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 70, page 21.

Scope and Contents

This collection documents Edgar L. Potts' study of the theater which resulted in his dissertation for the Department of English in 1932. The collection consists of two typed drafts of the dissertation entitled, "The History of Philadelphia Theatre, 1890-1900." The collection also includes a handwritten document Potts called "Introduction to the 'Calendar,'" in which he describes his intention to create a chronological outline of the Philadelphia stage for the decade January 1, 1890 to December 31, 1899. The last four files in the collection were probably part of the calendar, although they record only the plays from the year 1890. It is unknown if the remaining years were completed as research for his dissertation and were not saved or if Potts never finished his work and submitted his thesis without the years 1891 to 1899.

This collection provides an important insight into Philadelphia's theater history in the late 19th century.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2014 August 1

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Devorah Sperling-Billings

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frank S. Christian, 1970.

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Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Dissertations
  • Research notes
Subject(s)
  • Theater--Pennsylvania--Philadelphia--19th century

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

"The History of Philadelphia Theatre, 1890-1900," first draft (seven chapters), 1932.

1 1-4

"The History of Philadelphia Theatre, 1890-1900," second draft (seven chapters), 1932.

1 5-8

Introduction to the "Calendar", circa 1932.

1 9

Daily list of plays performed in Philadelphia from January 1 to February 24, 1890, circa 1932.

1 10

Daily list of plays performed in Philadelphia from March 3 to May 17, 1890, circa 1932.

1 11

Daily list of plays performed in Philadelphia from May 19 to October 6, 1890, circa 1932.

1 12

Daily list of plays performed in Philadelphia from October 13 to December 29, 1890, circa 1932.

1 13