Scope and arrangement
The Tony Pastor Collection represents part of a lost era in American theatre: the vaudeville age. Considered the "Father of American Vaudeville," Pastor almost singlehandedly revolutionized variety entertainment by making it family-oriented and tailoring the acts and skits to fit the talents of the performers, many of whom he discovered at the beginning of their careers.
The collection that was presented to the Billy Rose Theatre Division contains few interesting documents about his career but does include handwritten scripts and actor's sides for some of the one-act plays and skits that appeared in Pastor's theatres, which will provide insights into the kind of entertainment that was offered in the best vaudeville bills. It also contains photographs of Tony Pastor, programs and broadsides, clippings, a small amount of correspondence, a few songs, and miscellaneous ephemera.
The Tony Pastor collection is arranged in nine series:
- 1954-19594 folders
Correspondence of Charles Hechler, Jr. (purchaser), with Sigmund Spaeth (musicologist) and others including Frank I. Davis and Miriam Howell documents Hechler's attempts to find an interested buyer with deep pockets for the Tony Pastor Collection.
- 1876-18993 folders
Consists of a small amount of incoming correspondence to Tony Pastor, a certified copy of his will and some miscellaneous ephemera.
- 1872-1885 and n.d.
The bulk of the collection, this series contains vaudeville scripts in manuscript, mostly for short plays, skits or sketches and individual parts for actors. The actor's sides are in a separate sub-series from the scripts except in cases where they are for the same title in which case they are included in the scripts folder.
- 1892 and n.d.4 folders
Contains a few handwritten song lyrics and two booklets of printed sheet music.
- 1865-1906 and n.d.5 folders
Contains programs for shows in which Tony Pastor performed, programs for his various theater companies, and programs and miscellaneous printed theatrical material to which his connection is unknown.
- 1863-19565 folders
Contains clippings and posthumous articles about Tony Pastor.
- 1864-1865 and n.d.4 folders
Photographs and lithographs of Tony Pastor.
- 1888-19224 folders in 1 halinear feet-size hollinger box
Consists primarily of printed Christmas cards, also a few miscellaneous personal papers of Josephine Pastor.
- 1871-1914 and n.d.3 boxes
Contains oversized programs and broadsides, miscellaneous photographs, printed periodicals related to the stage and certificates awarded to Tony Pastor.