Perkins Performing Arts and Special Events Ephemera Collection

Samuel P. Hayes Research Library
Perkins School for the Blind
175 N. Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472

Creator: 

Perkins School for the Blind

Date Range: 
1857-1967
Call number: 
AG138
Abstract: 

This collection consists of programs and ephemera for Perkins concerts, theatrical performances, commencement ceremonies and special events that took place from 1857 to 1967. Included are several embossed programs including photos of productions, embossed ephemera, and annotated scrapbooks of some productions.

Extent: 
1.5 linear feet
Language: 
English, Boston Line Type
Processed by: 

Aubrey Apodaca, 2017

Biographical/Historical notes: 

Perkins School for the Blind has a long history of performing arts. Samuel Howe, the first director of Perkins, believed in the importance of music in the curriculum, and each subsequent director has ensured that music would play a role in the lives of the students. Both vocal and instrumental performances and recitals were held annually, showcasing the talents of individual students and ensembles. When there was an increase of students with disabilities in addition to their blindness, efforts were continually made to include them in music education through the use of hand bells beginning in the 1970’s. Today, the Perkins students continue to share their music through performances at the school and in the community.
 
Theatre took a bit longer to catch on at the school; the annual report does not document a production until 1898, and the oldest embossed program in the collection is from 1897. Michael Anagnos, the second director, noted that Perkins students could best enjoy and appreciate the art of theatre through acting, rather than just listening to a performance, and fostered regular performances by the pupils beginning in the late 1800’s. Performances were a great source of revenue, both from ticket sales and sales of braille copies of the plays.  Much like music, theatre is still very much a part of the lives of Perkins students today.
 
Among the special events included in the collection are annual exhibitions, which were put on to display the talents and scholarship of the students at Perkins to educate and garner support from the community. This support would, in turn, help funding for the school from state legislatures.

Sources of information: 

French, Kimberly. (2004) Perkins School for the Blind. Charleston, SC: Arcadia,. Print.
 
Gordon, Jamie. (February 1, 2017) “Taking the stage.” Perkins Stories. Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.
 
McGinnity, B.L., Seymour-Ford, J. and Andries, K.J. (2004) Music. Perkins History Museum, Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA.
 
Perkins School for the Blind. Annual Report of the Trustees of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts School for the Blind, vols. 47-92, Internet Archive. Web. http://www.perkins.org/history/archives/collections/perkins-annual-reports​

Restrictions: 
None
Credit line/Citation: 
Perkins Performing Arts and Special Events Ephemera Collection, Perkins School for the Blind
Scope/Contents: 

This collection contains programs from concerts, theatrical performances, commencements and other special events, as well as ephemera and photographs related to those events or other school happenings. Notably, the collection includes about twenty embossed, Boston Line Type programs from 1897-1917. A select number of those embossed programs also include photographs of the cast in costume. Additionally, there are scrapbooks for fourteen plays from 1939-1949, which include annotations about the characters and scenes portrayed in the photographs. The collection documents a sampling of the types of theatrical performances that were put on by students, such as Shakespeare’s works, Pirates of Penzance, and You Can’t Take It With You, among many others. Musically, the collection contains programs from the annual concerts for the years 1908-1938, as well as Christmas concerts and vocal and orchestral recitals from individuals and groups.

Arrangement: 

3 Series, 3 boxes arranged by event type

This collection is arranged in three series divided by the type of event ephemera they contain. Within each series, folders are ordered alphabetically and their contents are arranged chronologically.
Series 1: Concert and Recital Programs, 1908-1948
Series 2: Theatrical Production Programs and Photographs, 1897-1948
Series 3: Graduation and Special Events Ephemera, 1882-1967

Container List: 

Box: 1
Series 1: Concert and Recital Programs, 1908-1948

B1:F1: Annual Concert Programs, 1908-1911

B1:F2: Annual Concert Programs, 1912-1916

B1:F3: Annual Concert Programs, 1916-1921

B1:F4: Annual Concert Programs, 1923

B1:F5: Annual Concert Programs, 1924

B1:F6: Annual Concert Programs, 1925-1926

B1:F7: Annual Concert Programs, 1927-1929
 
B1:F8: Annual Concert Programs, 1930-1935
 
B1:F9: Annual Concert Programs, 1936-1938
 
B1:F10: Christmas Concert Programs, 1913-1917
 
B1:F11: Christmas Concert Programs, 1919-1921
 
B1:F12: Christmas Concert Programs, 1922-1925
 
B1:F13: Christmas Concert Programs, 1925-1966
 
B1:F14: External Concert Programs, 1908-1934
 
B1:F15: Individual and Group Pupils Recitals Programs, 1914-1928
 
B1:F16: Individual and Group Pupils Recitals Programs, 1929-1935
 
B1:F17: Individual and Group Pupils Recitals Programs, 1936-1943
 
B1:F18: Individual and Group Pupils Recitals Programs, 1944-1948
 
B1:F19: Pianoforte Normal Department Recital Programs, 1909-1925
 
B1:F20: Pianoforte Normal Department Recital Programs, 1926-1944

Box 2
Series 2: Theatrical Production Programs and Photographs, 1897-1949

B2:F1: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Embossed Programs, 1901
 
B2:F2: “The Bird’s Christmas Carol” Embossed Program, 1900
 
B2:F3: Boys’ Department Embossed Programs, 1903-1906
 
B2:F4: The Brownies at Play Embossed Programs, 1899
 
B2:F5: Girls’ Department Embossed Programs, 1899-1900
 
B2:F6: Girls’ Department Embossed Programs, 1902-1903
 
B2:F7: “Merchant of Venice” Embossed Programs, 1917
 
B2:F8: “The Pilgrim’s Vision” Embossed Programs, 1897
 
B2:F9: “The Progress of America” Embossed Programs, 1898
 
B2:F10: Theatrical Performance Announcements and Programs, 1911-1922
 
B2:F11: Theatrical Performance Announcements and Programs, 1924-1930
 
B2:F12: Theatrical Performance Announcements and Programs, 1930-1933
 
B2:F13: Theatrical Performance Announcements and Programs, 1935-1944
 
B2:F14: “She Stoops to Conquer” Scrapbook, 1934
 
B2:F15: “Boys Will Be Boys” and “The Music Master” Scrapbooks, 1935-1936
 
B2:F16: “The Merchant of Venice” Scrapbook, 1938
 
B2:F17: “Once There Was a Princess” Scrapbook, 1939
 
B2:F18: “Caesar and Cleopatra” Scrapbook, 1939
 
B2:F19: “Twelfth Night” Scrapbook, 1940
 
B2:F20: “The Pirates of Penzance” Scrapbooks, 1941
 
B2:F21: “You Can’t Take It With You” Scrapbook, 1942
 
B2:F22: “The Gondoliers” Scrapbook, 1943
 
B2:F23: “The Music Master” Scrapbook, 1944
 
B2:F24: “Patience” Scrapbooks, 1949

Box 3
Series 3: Graduation and Special Events Ephemera, 1857-196
7

B3:F1: Christmas Ephemera, 1923-1940

B3:F2: List of Graduating Students, 1878-1881

​B3:F3: Commencement Invitations, 1882-1887

B3:F4: Commencement Invitations, 1887-1893

B3:F5: Commencement Invitations, 1894-1899
 
B3:F6: Commencement Invitations, 1900-1905
 
B3:F7: Commencement Invitations, 1905-1937
 
B3:F8: Commencement Programs, circa 1857-1889
 
B3:F9: Commencement Programs, 1890-1900
 
B3:F10: Commencement Programs, 1901-1910
 
B3:F11: Commencement Programs, 1912-1920
 
B3:F12: Commencement Programs, 1921-1930
 
B3:F13: Commencement Programs, 1932-1940
 
B3:F14: Commencement Programs, 1941-1967
 
B3:F15: Exhibition Programs, 1914-1922
 
B3:F16: Exhibition Programs, 1923-1926
 
B3:F17: Perkins Ephemera, 1879-1938
 
B3:F18: Special Events, 1886-1912
 
B3:F19: Special Events, 1914-1918
 
B3:F20: Special Events, 1922-1931
 
B3:F21: Special Events: 1932-1962

Provenance: 
Perkins School for the Blind
Subject Headings: 

Perkins School for the Blind
Perkins School for the Blind—History
Music for the blind--Massachusetts--Watertown
Drama in education--Massachusetts--Watertown