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Grant To Finance Theatre Library


The Harvard College Library has received an anonymous gift of $1 million to finance a new home for Harvard's collection of theatre memorabilia.

The collection will be housed in the planned underground library extension beneath the Yard.

At the donor's request, the collection--one of the world's largest--will be renamed the Robert Jordon Theatre Collection after Robert Jordon '06, Boston merchant and enthusiast of the arts.

The collection contains more than two million playbills, posters, views and plans of theatres--including the only known floor plan of Ford's Theatre as it existed when Lincoln was shot--portraits of players, and manuscripts dealing with the history of the stage.

Even Yale

"People come from all over the country, even Yale, to research their productions here," William H. Bond, librarian of he Houghton Library, which managers the collection, said yesterday. Visitors look at programs, directors' notes, and choreography instructions from past productions of the same play, he said, as an aid in planning their own.

The Harvard Theatre Collection dates from 1915, when Robert Gould Shaw, class of 1869, a cousin of the Colonel Robert Gould Shaw who led the first Negro regiment in the Civil War, gave the University his private theatre collection.

The Jordon Collection will be located on the first (top) floor of the planned four-floor, $5 million library addition, to be built in the area between Lamont Library and President Pusey's house.

The addition will also include more stacks and offices for Widener Library, stacks and maprooms for Houghton Library, and stacks for the Harvard University Archives. Tunnels will connect it to Widener, Houghton, and Lamont. Construction will begin next year, at the earliest.

After the Theatre Collection is moved from its present location in the basement of Lamont, this area will again be used for undergraduate stacks.

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