Scope and arrangement
The papers document the life and career of actor, playwright, lyricist and producer Edward Harrigan with correspondence, scripts, songs, articles, programs and clippings. Highlights include extensive correspondence with his wife when he was touring with Tony Hart in the 1870s, photocopies of two handwritten scripts: Dan's Tribulations and Squatter Sovereignty, bound volumes of his songs, and illustrated sheet music covers. While Harrigan's caricatures of various ethnic groups, primarily Irish and German immigrants and African Americans, seems dated today, in his lifetime he enjoyed tremendous popularity and respect. His work, innovative both in its subject matter, tenement life, and in its realism, reflects the social life and sensibilities of his times.
The Edward Harrigan papers are arranged in eight series:
- 1875-195416 folders
Almost entirely family correspondence, the jewel of this series is the extensive correspondence between Edward and Annie Harrigan while he was on tour. The largest portion was written between 1875 and 1877 and the progression of their relationship is reflected in his salutations beginning with "My dear Annie," then "My darling Annie," and finally "My darling wife." Annie Braham and Edward Harrigan were married on November 18, 1876.
- 1 folder (1 notebook)
Consists of a notebook belonging to Annie Harrigan containing accounts and French lessons.
- 18 folders
Mostly clean photocopies, both typescript and handwritten, are for Cordelia's Aspirations, Dan's Tribulations, The Mulligan Guard Nominee, Mulligan Guard's Ball, Squatter Sovereignty, and Telephone. Also contains synopses for The Leather Patch and Old Lavender.
- 4 folders
Consists of a photocopy of his novel, The Mulligans, published by G.W. Dillingham Company in 1901 and dedicated to the memory of Tony Hart, a couple of autobiographical articles and a handwritten pamphlet on celebrities, probably by Harrigan.
- 1873-19033 volumes 2 boxes and 3 folders
The bound volumes, probably prepared by Harrigan's daughter Nedda, contain songs by Harrigan and Braham arranged alphabetically by title (with a few filing discrepancies). The boxes contain loose copies of what is in the volumes. The series also includes sheet music covers, a list of song titles and a notebook of handwritten song lyrics by Harrigan.
- 1883-19847 folders
Consists of critical analyses of Harrigan's playwriting, including a thesis (1984) on Harrigan's comedy, part of a book-length biography of Harrigan and various magazine articles.
- 1874-19173 folders and 1 oversized box
Contains programs, advertising, printed ephemera, and visual materials, mostly photographs from newspapers and magazines.
- 1874-194213 folders
Clippings, now photocopied, are on Edward Harrigan's life and career. Includes a few scrapbooks; one was a memorial scrapbook. Also contains a few clippings on his colleagues, Johnny Wild and David Braham, and on his family members, mostly his actor children, William and Nedda.