Woodson Research Center, Rice University

Guide to the Houston Theater Program Collection, 1839-2008 MS 359

creator Davis, John Blodgett
Title: Houston Theater Program Collection
Dates: 1839-2008
Abstract: This collection of play programs and related printed publications was created and maintained mainly by John Blodgett Davis and reflects the Houston, Texas theater scene primarily in the 1950s and 1960s.
Identification: MS 359
Quantity: 2 Linear Feet4 boxes
Language: English
Repository: Woodson Research Center, Rice University, Houston, Texas

Biographical Note

The city of Houston has been a home to theater almost since its founding, with the first professional production on June 11, 1838. Since then, the Houston Theater District has grown until it seats the second largest number of people in the country, behind only New York. In 1951, “Houston was the site…of The Playhouse, the first permanent building built in America specifically to be a theatre-in-the-round” (Dauphin, 83). Another historic venue is the Alley Theatre whose growth mirrors that of Houston theatre, evolving from one simple room to hosting two main stages holding 824 and 310 seats. Productions at the Alley tended to be popular, modern plays early on, and it was only later that they leaned towards the classics. Other venues today include the “national AIA prize-winning Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts” (Holmes 2), the Miller Outdoor Theatre, and the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The Hobby Center is home to Theatre Under The Stars, the “largest non-profit producer of musical theater in America” (About).

Houstonian Ed Oppenheimer collected these programs from the 1900s to the 1990s from various theaters in Houston as well as New York, London, Dallas, and Fort Worth.

Scope and Contents

This collection of play programs and related printed publications was created and maintained mainly by John Blodgett Davis and reflects the Houston, Texas theater scene primarily in the 1950s and 1960s


Access Restrictions

This material is open for research.

Conditions Governing Access

Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via woodson@rice.edu or call 713-348-2586.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish from the Houston Theater Program Collection, 1839-1961, MS 359, must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Index Terms

Houston (Tex.) -- History.
Davis, John Blodgett

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Houston Theater Program Collection, 1839-2008, MS 359, Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.

Acquisition Information

John Blodgett Davis material- gift of Nell Willman; other material- unknown (January 1955; February 1961 (?); Bob Patten, 2008.


Sources consulted by WRC staff

ns2:type="simple" ns2:href="" render="doublequote">About Houston Theater District. Houston Theater District. 11 July 2007 (http://www.houstontheaterdistrict.org/en/cms/?68).

Dauphin, Sue. ns2:type="simple" ns2:href="" render="italic">Houston by Stages: A History of Theatre in Houston. Burnet: Eakin Press, 1981.

Holmes, Ann Hitchcock. ns2:type="simple" ns2:href="" render="italic">The Alley Theatre: Four Decades of Three Acts: A History of One of the Nation’s Oldest Resident Theatres. Houston: Alley Theatre, 1986.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I: Houston Theater Programs, 1839-2008

Box Folder
1 1 Alley Theater 1961, 1999
2 Bienvenue Theatre
3 Civic-Community Concert Association, 1938-1949
4 Community Players, 1938-1942 and undated
5 Garden Theater, 1951
6 Houston Fringe Theater Festival
7 Houston Players, Inc., 1949
8 Little Room Downstairs Theater 1998-99
9 Little Theater of Houston, 1933-1940
10 Little Theater of Houston, 1941-1945
11 Little Theater of Houston, 1945-51 and undated
12 Lyric Theater of Houston, n.d.
13 Main St. Theater 2008
Box Folder
2 1 Metropolitan Theater, 1950 (2 items)
2 Majestic Theater (4 items)
3 Music Hall, 1941-1953 (24 items)
4 Playhouse Theater, 1951-53 (16 items)
5-7 Edna W. Saunders presents, 1929-1952 (76 items)
8 Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1932-1937 (10 items)
9 Stages Repertory Theatre 1999
10 Temple League Players, 1940-41 (6 items)
11 Theater Lab Houston 1999
12-13 Various theaters, 1839-1954 (56 items)

Series II: Theater Scrapbooks (Houston, Chicago, NYC, Minneapolis), 1911-1917

Box Folder
3 1-2 Theater Scrapbooks (2)

Series III: Houston society, arts and entertainment publications, 1938-1957

Box Folder
3 3 The Daily Courier, Dec. 26, 1938
4 Entre-Nous: Houston’s Journal of Interesting Events and Fascinating People, Vol. I no. 1—14; Vol. II no. 1,2,7 (1957)
5 Junior League, 1920s-1950s
6 Houston Downtowner, Vol. I no. 1-24, 1947-1948
7 Houston – This Week, Vol. I no. 1-4; Vol. II No. 1-2, 1950

Series IV: New York Theater Programs, 1923-1954

Box Folder
4 1 Century Theater, “Aphrodite”, New York City, 1923?
2-3 New York City theater programs, 1950-54