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Now available for trial! Nineteenth-Century American Drama: Popular Culture and Entertainment, 1820-1900

Posted on 03/05/2018


The inaugural release of Nineteenth-Century American Drama includes plays that range over the most popular genres of its 80-year time span. There are comedies and melodramas, Revolutionary and Civil War dramas, plays with all-women and all-black casts, temperance plays, and plays for children for school and home entertainment, as well as many plays written by women. Here are some examples of the diversity of genres and titles now available:


  • ‘Pocahontas. A Historical Drama, in Five Acts’ by Robert Dale Owen (1837)
  • ‘The Ku Klux Klan, or, The Carpet-Bagger in New Orleans’ by Elizabeth Avery Meriwether (1877)

KKK (2).jpg



  • ‘Mohammed, The Arabian Prophet. A Tragedy in Five Acts’ by George Henry Miles (1850)


  • ‘The Rise in Harlem: A Comedy in Five Acts’ by Fordyce Barker (1864)
  • ‘The Slave's Strategy. A Comedy in Three Acts’ by George Reeves (1882)
  • ‘Freaks of Fashion. After Business Hours’ by Augustin Daly (1886)
  • ‘Comic Tragedies’ by Louisa May Alcott (1893)
  • ‘The Wager. A Comedy Dualogue’ by Mrs Francis W. Kitchel (ca. 1894)
  • ‘The Epistolary Flirt. In Four Exposures’ by Esmerie Amory (1896)
  • ‘Diamonds and Hearts. A Comedy-Drama in Three Acts’ by Effie W. Merriman (ca. 1897)
  • ‘A Detective in Petticoats. A Comedy in Three Acts for Female Characters Only’ by Sarah Folsom Enebuske (1900)

Diamonds (2).jpg


Civil War Plays:

  • ‘Two Women: 1862. A Poem’ by Constance Fenimore Woolson (1877)
  • ‘Gettysburg. A Drama of the American Civil War’ by W. J. Mc Kee (1879?)
  • ‘The Sublime Tragedy of the Lost Cause. A Tragic Poem of the War. In Four Acts’ by A. St. J. Pickett (1884)

Sublime (2).jpg


Political Plays; Satires:

  • ‘Tim Carty's Trial, or, Whistling at Landlords. A Play for the Times’ by Sister Mary Francis Cusack (1886)

Temperance Plays:

  • ‘No King in America. A Patriotic Temperance Programme. In Three Parts’ by Julia Colman (1888)
  • ‘Among the Moonshiners; or, A Drunkard’s Legacy. A Temperance Drama in Three Acts’ by B.G. McFall (ca. 1897)

Moonshiners (2).jpg



  • ‘Débutantes in the Culinary Art; or, A Frolic in the Cooking Class. Musical Burletta for Young Ladies’ by Lucy Allen (1899)




  • ‘Captain Jack or, the Irish Outlaw. An Original Irish Drama in Three Acts’ by Bernard Francis Moore (1894)

Christmas Plays:

  • ‘Dark Before Dawn. A Drama in Two Acts for Male Characters Only’ by James J. D’ Arcy (n.d.)

Minstrel Plays; Farces:

  • ‘Hop of Fashion; Or, the Bon-Ton Soiree. A Negro Farce’ by Charles T. White (ca. 1864)
  • ‘The Cake Walk. A Farce in One Scene’ by Frank Dumont (ca. 1897)

Hop of Fashion.jpg


This sampling provides a brief, and not inclusive, overview of the breadth of this collection. Each merits examination and may provide valuable insights into the temper of the era and the social and political climate. In future releases we will more closely examine specific plays, including cast lists, costume and set directions, excerpts of text, and historical context whenever possible. As an example, the cast of The Ku Klux Klan is listed under the heading “Persons Represented” and features:

KKK Cast.jpg

The names are suggestive, but the text is critical for understanding the playwright’s intentions.

For more information about Nineteenth-Century American Drama, 1820-1900, or to request a trial for your institution, please contact

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