Digital and Archival Approaches to Theater History

As the capstone conference for the NEH funded Philadelphia Playbills Project, this conference will address the challenge of reconstructing performances of the past.  There are a broad range of materials from playbills to props, scrapbooks to photographs of actors, that survive as documents of past performances. How do we take these disparate materials and form a picture of what a night at the theater may have been like for someone of a past era? This conference looks at how scholars, librarian, archivists and digital humanists use and organize these materials, and how new digital tools and approaches are transforming the way we can understand the history of the theater.

January 17th

5:30-6:45  Keynote
Sarah Werner
“Digital Ephemera of Theater History”
Kislak Pavilion

6:45-8:00 Reception
Moelis Terrace

January 18th

All events take place in the Kislak Center Pavilion on the 6th floor except for the 1:30 Pop Up exhibit in the Lea Library.

9:00-9:30 Registration, coffee, and snacks

9:30-10:45 Session I
Paul Ulrich,  Society for Theater History Berlin,
“Theatre Almanacs and Journals as Sources for Documenting German Theatre in the 19th Century”

Helice Koffler, The Schubert Archive
“The People Behind the Records: Launching the Early Employees Project”

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-12:15 Session II

Doug Reside, New York Public Library
Title TBA

Matthew Wittmann, Houghton Library, Harvard
“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Playbill”

Karin Suni, Free Library of Philadelphia
“From Card Catalog to Digital Database: The Philadelphia Play Index Project”

12:15-1:30 Lunch Break  

1:30-2:45 Session III

Pop up exhibit and discussion with materials

Lea Library 

2:45-3:00 Coffee Break 

3:00-4:15 Session IV
Michael Gamer and Scott Enderle, English Department and Penn Libraries, University of Pennsylvania
Title TBA

Sarah Hovde, Folger Shakespeare Library
“How to catalog 100,000 playbills”

Laura Aydelotte, Kislak Center, University of Pennsylvania
“The Philadelphia Playbills Project Year One” 

4:15-4:30 Final Remarks 

4:30-5:00 Wrap up and final exhibit viewing