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Bruce Deal Playbills Collection [DOC MSS 62]

Identifier: DOC MSS 62

Scope and Contents

This collection of playbills and schedules, mainly for performances presented in New York, reflects Bruce Deal's devoted love of the stage. He actually attended the vast majority of these shows, including productions in London, St. Louis, San Francisco, and New Jersey.

Included are simple programs as well as copies of_Playbill_ and _Stagebill_ magazines, which along with cast lists for the plays contain historical articles on theater, essays on the art of the stage, columns, and numerous advertisements for clothing, jewelry, furs, eating establishments, and other entertainment venues. Here, too, are examples of the publications _On Stage_, _Front Row_, and _Evergreen Showcard_. The covers of many of these items display colorful and creative artwork advertising the shows. Also here are a few performance schedules for night clubs and theaters.

The monthly New York-based _Playbill_ magazine was founded in 1884 by Frank Vance Strauss, an advertising executive from Ohio. The earliest program extant is for Sardou's _Anselma_starring Mme. Janish and Henry Miller, staged at New York's Madison Square Theatre in 1885. At some point in its history the publication was known as _The New York Magazine Program_; the name _Playbill_ was permanent after about 1927. _On Stage_ was also published by _Playbill_.

_Stagebill_ began in 1924. It continues as a publisher of program magazines for theaters, symphonies, dance companies, and performing arts centers. It is the country's largest custom publisher for performing venues with editorial offices around the nation. It is headquartered in New York.

_Front Row_was issued by New York-based Stage Publishing and Entertainment Publishing, Inc. No information has been found about _Evergreen Showcard_.


  • 1966-2003

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on access to this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Restrictions may exist on reproduction, quotation, or publication. Please contact the Saint Louis University Archives for details.


7.50 Linear Feet

590 items other_unmapped

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into 7 "Letter" series.  Within these seven letters, the plays are arranged alphabetically by the title of the show( e. g.,_Othello_,_Talley's Folly) . If there is no such title, items are alphabetized by the name of the performer/s (e.g., American Ballet Theatre; Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman, who did a show together) or by the name of the venue (e. g., Eighty Eights, a New York nightclub).

Source of Acquisition

Gift of Bruce Deal.

Method of Acquisition

This collection of playbills and performance schedules was donated to the University Archives by alumnus Bruce Deal in 2003. Deal, an avid theatergoer, had seen practically all of the shows represented. Most were staged in New York with others mounted in London, San Francisco, New Jersey, and St. Louis.

Bruce Deal Playbills Collection [DOC MSS 62]DOC MSS 62
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Repository Details

Part of the Saint Louis University Archives Repository

Pius XII Memorial Library
3650 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis Missouri 63108 United States