University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

The Black Crook:

A Preliminary Inventory of the Collection at the Harry Ransom Center



Creator: The Black Crook
Title: The Black Crook Collection
Dates: 1853-1929, undated
Abstract: From its first performance on September 12, 1866, at Niblo’s Theatre in New York, The Black Crook drew in audiences to become one of the first successful musical spectacles in the United States.
Call Number: Performing Arts Collection PA-00113
Extent: 1 document box, 1 oversize box (osb), 1 framed item (2.5 linear feet)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center

Scope and Contents

From its first performance on September 12, 1866, at Niblo’s Theatre in New York, The Black Crook drew in audiences to become one of the first successful musical spectacles in the United States. The script from a Faustian melodrama, several songs by assorted composers, and the services of a stranded Parisian ballet troupe were combined with elaborate sets and costumes to create a spectacle that spawned 15 subsequent Broadway revivals and numerous touring productions.

The Black Crook's scandalously dressed dancers, who were the first to perform the Can-Can on an American stage, delighted and shocked audiences. After attending a performance of The Black Crook in New York, Mark Twain, in a March 3, 1868 column in Alta, California, wrote that the musical "debauched many a pure mind."

The Black Crook Collection contains books, a photocopy of an original promptbook from the Harvard Theatre Collection, sheet music, playbills, programs, clippings, drawings, and photographs related to performances of the musical.


Restrictions

Access:

Open for research


Related Material

The Museum of the City of New York also holds a collection of material relating to The Black Crook.


Administrative Information

Acquisition:

Gift, 1956

Processed by:

Erin Lawrimore, 2001; Chelsea Weathers, 2013; Grace Hansen, 2016


Container List

Series I. Books,1866-1897

Container
1.1 The Black Crook: A Most Wonderful History. Philadelphia, 1882
Container
1.2 The Black Crook: A Most Wonderful History. Philadelphia, 1866
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1.3 The Naked Truth: An Inside History of the Black Crook. Joseph Whitton, Philadelphia, 1897
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1.4 Photocopy of The Black Crook in Four Acts. Charles M. Barras, 1866



Series II. Sheet Music and Leaves1866-1872, undated

Container
1.5 Amazon’s March, 1872
Container
1.6 Black Crook Waltzes, leaf, 1867
Container
1.7 Black Crook Waltzes, 1867
Container
1.8 Les Crelots d’Amour, leaf, 1872
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1.9 March of the Amazons, 1867
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1.10 Pas de Demons, 1867
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1.11 Quadrille, leaf, undated
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1.12 Transformation Polka, leaf, 2 copies, 1867
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1.13 You Naughty, Naughty Men, 1866



Series III. Playbills, Programs, and Clippings,1866-1929, undated

Container
1.14 Photograph of playbill, Niblo’s Garden, 1866
Container
1.15 Theater programs, Niblo’s Garden, 1867
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1.16 Theater programs, Niblo’s Garden, 1870
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1.18 Theater programs, Niblo’s Garden, 1871
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1.17 Theater program, Niblo’s Garden, 1873
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1.19 Theater program, Niblo’s Garden, 1887
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1.20 Theater programs, Academy of Music, 1893
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1.21 Theater program, Grand Opera House, 1896
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1.22 Theater program, Lyric Theatre, Hoboken, 1929
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1.23 Theater programs, The Temple, Portsmouth, Boston Theatre, Niblo’s Garden, Gayety Theatre, and unidentified theater, undated
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1.24 Clippings, 1867-1929



Series IV. Prints,1853-1866, undated

Container
1.25 Bonfanti receiving bouquets at the first performance of The Black Crook at Niblo’s Garden, undated
Container
1.26 The Black Crook chorus, undated
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1.27 Entrance to Niblo’s Garden, 1853
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1.28-29 Print and photographic reproduction, Gauzy Nymphs, undated
Container
1.30 Interior view of Niblo’s Garden, 1853
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1.31 The Landing of Stalacta, Niblo’s Garden, undated
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2.1 The Macgiltons, Niblo’s Garden, undated
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2.2 Mdlle. Bonfanti, undated
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2.3 The Black Crook dancers, undated



Series V. Photographs and Portraits,1866-1929, undated

Container
1.32 Cox, Hazel, as Stalacta, 1929
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1.33 Dancing master, undated
Container
1.34 Gordon, W. in production of The Dowager, undated
Container
1.35 Howitt, Belle, as Stalacta, print and photograph, undated
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1.36 Kemp, Anna, as Stalacta, undated
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1.37 Lee, Jennie, undated
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1.38 Majilton, Marie, undated
Container
1.39 Markham, Pauline, 1881, undated
Container
1.40 Palmer, Harry, undated
Container
1.41 Sangalli, Rita, undated
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1.42 Santley, Kate, undated
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1.43 Siegrist, Sadie, undated
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1.44 Whitlock, Miss, undated
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1.45 Willmore, Lizzie, as Carline, undated
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1.46 Unidentified dancers, undated
Container
framed item 1 "The Black Crook / September 16, 1866 / Niblo’s Gardens [sic] / New York", composite item consisting of 6 portrait photographs matted together: Hattie Grinnell, Jennie Lee, Pauline Markham, Sadie Segrist, one unidentified member of the chorus, and two unidentified members of the chorus (33 1/2 x 27 1/2 inches)