The photographs in Tedford’s collection range from 1860 to 1910 and provide an interesting look at Victorian and Edwardian Era theatre. Each photograph holds its own personality, many show the actor or actress in character wearing extravagant costumes, while others are portrait photos in their everyday garb. Although the majority of the photographs were taken by Napoleon Sarony, a New York based photographer, Boston and Chicago based studios are also represented in the collection. Many different photography formats are also presented within this collection, including photographic prints and postcards, stereographs, cabinet photographs, and cartes de visite. While the postcards usually contain the most written information, many of the photographs are also annotated on the back, providing information about the actor, performance, or location. Within this collection one can also see the use of hand-coloring, which was a popular method of manually applying color to black and white photographs with either watercolor, dye, crayons, or pastels. This process provided added dimension while also creating a more realistic or artistic appearance to the photograph.
This collection has been digitized and can be viewed on the Theatre Actor Print and Photographs Collection page. Here you can view not only the Harold Tedford Collection of Theatre Actor Photographs, but also prints and photos from similar collections, such as the Harold Seton Collection, the Clarence Herbert New Collection, and the G. Sykes Collection. This is a great resource for anyone interested in or researching 19th and 20th century theatre photography.
Have another topic of interest? Visit our online digital collections to see the wide range of information available at your fingertips or visit us in person at the Special Collections and Archives Research Room (625).