University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids

Navigation Aids

University of Pennsylvania Finding Aids
Search Finding Aids
 

Main Content

Arthur Bloom research collection on Edwin Forrest

Ms. Coll. 1429

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:
Bloom, Arthur W., 1939-
Title:
Arthur Bloom research collection on Edwin Forrest
Date [bulk]:
2014-2018
Date [inclusive]:
1829-2018
Call Number:
Ms. Coll. 1429
Extent:
2 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language:
English
Abstract:
Arthur Bloom (born 1939), an author and scholar of American theater, studied and wrote a book on Edwin Forrest (1806-1872), a prominent Philadelphia-born actor. This collection contains research materials for Bloom's work, Edwin Forrest: A Biography and Performance History (2019). These include some limited original materials by and related to Forrest, extensive printout copies of newspaper articles about Forrest, contemporary scholarly publications related to Forrest and American theater, and other research materials.
Cite as:
Arthur Bloom research collection on Edwin Forrest, 1829-2018 (bulk 2014-2018), Ms. Coll. 1429, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania
PDF Version:

Return to Top »

Biography/History

Arthur W. Bloom (born 1939) is a scholar of American theater and the Dean Emeritus of Visual and Performing Arts at Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Both an actor and an academic throughout his career, he has also held positions at Fisk University, Washington State University Pullman, Loyola University Chicago, Trinity University, and Loyola Marymount University. Bloom is the author of three biographies, each of a particular nineteenth-century American actor: Joseph Jefferson: Dean of the American Theater (2000),  Edwin Booth: A Biography and Performance History (2013), and  Edwin Forrest: A Biography and Performance History (2019). This collection contains the research materials for his biography of Edwin Forrest.

Edwin Forrest (1806-1872) was a prominent, Philadelphia-born actor noted for his Shakespearean roles, as well as for supporting emerging American playwrights via his popular playwrighting contest held from 1828 to 1847. Called the first star of the American stage, Forrest's celebrity reached its height in the middle of the nineteenth century not only due to his dynamic and powerful acting, but also due to the controversies in which he was often embroiled. His rivalry with British actor William Macready led to the deadly Astor Place Riot of 1849, and several lawsuits filed both by and against him were sources for East Coast journalists, who often wrote daily updates of Forrest's court proceedings. In particular, newspaper articles following his suit for divorce from Catherine Norton Sinclair and the assault case against him filed by Nathaniel Parker Willis are well-represented in this collection. Forrest's career and life in the public eye began to wane in the 1860s, when both his health and his acting started to lose their former potency. Shortly before his death in 1872, Forrest drew up plans in his will for the Edwin Forrest Home, a place of retirement for stage performers located in his hometown of Philadelphia. While the Edwin Forrest Home was eventually folded into the Actors Fund of America in the twentieth century, the Forrest Theater in Philadelphia still bears his name, and Forrest continues to be widely regarded as one of the greatest American stage performers.

A more extensive biography of Forrest can be located in the finding aid prepared by Julie A. Reahard for Ms. Coll. 5, Edwin Forrest collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

Scope and Contents

This collection contains research materials for Arthur Bloom's work, Edwin Forrest: A Biography and Performance History (2019). It is divided into three series: I. Original materials related to Edwin Forrest; II. Newspaper clippings (copies); III. Research materials.

I. Original materials related to Edwin Forrest contains contemporaneous newspapers, clippings, a broadside, and a magazine related to Forrest's performances and life, as well as a booklet of sheet music based on the play Metamora which Forrest performed, four letters written by Forrest, 11 original playbills, four photographs of Forrest, and a postcard depicting the Edwin Forrest Home. This is the smallest portion of the collection, and its materials are fairly limited.

II. Newspaper clippings (copies) is the most extensive portion of this collection, containing printout copies of newspaper articles about Forrest and, in some cases, Bloom's correspondence with researchers who located newspaper articles for him. The latter documents are in every instance stapled to the printouts of the articles to which they correspond. While there are some gaps in years corresponding to Forrest's very early and very late career, this may well be due to Forrest's relative inactivity or lack of interest on the part of journalists during these periods. During the years from 1842 to 1878, however, there are no substantial gaps in the documentation of Forrest's career and life in the public eye. The years 1851 and 1852 are by far the most extensively documented--these years correspond to Forrest's highly-publicized divorce case and his assault case.

III. Research materials contains copies--in some cases handwritten--of documents written by or related to Forrest, contemporary scholarly publications about Forrest and nineteenth-century theater not authored by Bloom, research notes, annotated drafts of Forrest's performance history timeline, and limited miscellaneous materials related to Forrest and his contemporaries.

Researchers should be aware that Bloom often appears to have recycled previously printed documents, and that therefore a significant number of the printed materials in this collection are printed on the reverse of other documents. Most frequently, these documents have nothing to do with Edwin Forrest or Bloom's biography on Forrest, but on occasion they do--researchers should therefore check the backs of printed documents they request in case they contain relevant material.

Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts,  2020 February 5

Finding Aid Author

Finding aid prepared by Cory Austin Knudson

Access Restrictions

This collection is available for research use.

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

Gifts of Arthur Bloom, 2013 and 2018.

Return to Top »

Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Edwin Forrest collection, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

ML-84, The Papers of Arthur W. Bloom in the Dartmouth College Library.

Robert Montgomery Bird Papers, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

Thompson Westcott scrapbooks of Charles Durang's history of Philadelphia theater between the years 1749 and 1855, Ms. Coll. 1316, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, University of Pennsylvania.

Return to Top »

Controlled Access Headings

Form/Genre(s)
  • Biographies
  • Clippings (information artifacts)
  • Research notes
Personal Name(s)
  • Forrest, Edwin, 1806-1872
Subject(s)
  • Actors
  • Performing arts
  • Playbills
  • Theater
  • Theater--United States--19th century

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Series I. Original materials related to Edwin Forrest, 1829-1904.

Box Folder

Letters from Forrest, 1855-1865.

1 1
Drawer Folder

Newspapers with Forrest-related articles and/or advertisements, 1829-1839.

140 1

Newspapers with Forrest-related articles and/or advertisements, 1840-1848.

140 2

Newspapers with Forrest-related articles and/or advertisements, 1851-1857.

98 3

Newspapers with Forrest-related articles and/or advertisements, 1860-1872.

140 4

Playbills, 1861-1869, undated.

98 5

"Edwin Forrest in Five Great Characters" print clipping from Ballou's Pictorial Dining-Room Companion, circa 1856.

98 6

The Player newspaper cover with advertisement for  Richelieu starring Forrest, 1868.

98 6

Opera House Evening Bulletin with Forrest advertisement, 1870 October 31.

98 6

Forrest memorial broadside, 1872 December 18.

98 6
Box Folder

The Metamora Grand March sheet music booklet with print of Forrest, 1840.

1 2

Potter's American Monthly Illustrated Magazine of History, Science, Literature, and Art with feature article about Forrest, 1877 March.

1 3

Page of miscellaneous newspaper clippings and photograph reproduction of Mary Frances Scott-Siddons, circa 1879.

1 4

Photographs of Forrest, undated.

1 5

Edwin Forrest Home postcard, 1904.

1 6

Series II. Newspaper clippings (copies), circa 2010-2018.

Box Folder

1823-1824 clippings (copies), circa 2018.

1 7

1833-1834 clippings (copies), 2017.

1 8

1836 clippings (copies), circa 2014.

1 9

1837-1839 clippings (copies), circa 2014-2018.

1 10

1842-1844 clippings (copies), circa 2018.

1 11

1845 clippings (copies), circa 2014.

1 12

1846 clippings (copies), circa 2014-2017.

1 13

1847-1848 clippings (copies), circa 2014-2018.

1 14

1849 clippings (copies), circa 2014-2015.

1 15

1850 clippings (copies), circa 2014-2015.

1 16

1851 clippings (copies), 2015.

1 17-18

1852 clippings (copies), 2015.

1 19-21

1853 clippings (copies), 2015-2017.

1 22

1854 clippings (copies), 2016.

1 23

1855 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2017.

1 24

1856 clippings (copies), circa 2016.

2 1

1857 clippings (copies), circa 2016.

2 2

1858 clippings (copies), circa 2014-2017.

2 3

1859 clippings (copies), circa 2016.

2 4

1860 clippings (copies), circa 2016.

2 5

1861 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2018.

2 6

1862 clippings (copies), circa 2010-2016.

2 7

1863-1864 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2018.

2 8

1865 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2018.

2 9

1866 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2017.

2 10

1867 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2018.

2 11

1868 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2017.

2 12

1869 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2017.

2 13

1870 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2018.

2 14

1871 clippings (copies), circa 2017-2018.

2 15

1872 clippings (copies), circa 2016-2017.

2 16

1873-1876 clippings (copies), circa 2015-2018.

2 17

1877-1878 clippings (copies), circa 2018.

2 18

1881-1883 clippings (copies), undated.

2 19

1891-1892 clippings (copies), undated.

2 20

1897 clippings (copies), circa 2018.

2 21

Multiple dates clippings (copies), 1839-1893.

2 22

Undated clipping (copy), undated.

2 23

Retrospective article, 2014.

2 24

Series III. Research materials.

Box Folder

1840-1869 playbill printouts and print, 2012, undated.

2 25

Circa 1849 Astor Place Riot-related broadside printout, undated.

2 26

Forrest diary (copy), undated.

2 27

Journal of the Sixtieth House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania excerpt (1850, copy), undated.

2 28

Court of Common Pleas of the City of New York: Libel Suit of Edwin Forrest against N.P. Willis, 1859 (copy), undated.

2 29

Overland Monthly article about Forrest (1897, copy), undated.

2 30

Proceedings of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York excerpt fragment (copy), undated.

2 31

Forrest-related photographs, photograph reproductions, and prints, undated.

2 32
Drawer Folder

Pillowcase with Forrest portrait print, undated.

140 7
Box Folder

Handwritten references and Forrest correspondence (circa 1839-1862, bulk 1840s, copies), undated.

2 33

Forrest performance timelines, 1851-1863, undated.

2 34

Annotated Forrest performance timelines, 1864-1868, undated.

2 35

Miscellaneous research notes, undated.

1 36

Scholarly articles and fragments not authored by Bloom, circa 2014-2018.

2 37-38

Theater Survey Volume 51 Number 1, 2018 January.

2 39

"Macready & Forrest: A Fatal Controversy; Or, It Started with a Hiss" lecture by Michael Gaunt delivered to the Society for Theatre Research, 2014.

1 40

Fonthill Castle: Paradigm of Hudson-River Gothic booklet, 1976.

2 41

Pennsylvania Heritage magazine with article about Walnut Street Theater, 1998.

1 42

Edwin Forrest's New York: A Bicentennial Conference program, 2006 November 4.

2 43

Email correspondence with Ann Rachlin MBE with account concerning Henry Irving/Edwin Forrest pocket watch, 2018.

2 44

Online encyclopedia and dictionary printouts, 2014, undated.

2 45

Forrest-related documents and memorabilia online auction lot printouts, circa 2002-2008.

2 46

Hope Mausoleum information and photographs printout, 2010.

2 47