Become a playgoer at Chicago’s early theaters. Examine more than 2,000 playbills and programs dating from 1848 to 1922. Of special interest are playbills from shows starring Edwin Booth, Joseph Jefferson and Sarah Bernhardt at the well-known McVicker’s Theatre as well as playbills from vaudeville houses and neighborhood theaters.
Artifacts from the Chicago Theater collections are housed in the Special Collections and Preservation Division at Harold Washington Library Center.
New Image Viewer
We're using the Chicago theater collections to showcase the Mirador image viewer, which has a number of new features we think you'll enjoy.
Please note these new features may not be accessible to all users, but future versions of Mirador aim to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA. Additionally, the current viewer is optimized for use in a web browser and is not mobile accessible. You can still view all our collections in the current interface on the web or your mobile device.
Please let us know if you have any feedback on this new interface.
Digital CollectionsThis collection is made up of the following archival collections:
More CPL Resources
- Chicago Theater Collection-Historic Programs Finding Aid
- The complete and ever-increasing inventory of theater programs past and present, some of which are presented here.
- Chicago Theater Collection
- A list of collections at Chicago Public Library representing theaters, designers, actors and other members of the theater community.