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Primary Sources: What Are They?
Primary sources in theatre and dance include many categories:
- The written or spoken words of the person being studied, such as
- the text of a play
- notated choreography
- manuscripts of their own work
- early versions or sketches of their own work
- their own commentary on their work
- Archives of the work or performance being studied, such as
- video recordings
- audio recordings
- reviews written by people in attendance
- documents from the performance (programs, playbills, posters)
Primary Source Timeline
See our Primary Source Timeline to browse a selection of primary source databases organized by coverage dates and locations.
Primary Sources: Where Are They?
JumpStart contains many primary sources that have been published or digitized. For everything beyond the scope of the catalog, we offer many databases of primary sources. Several useful examples for theatre and dance are listed below.
British Theatre, Music, and Literature: High and Popular Culture
Primary sources such as playbills, scripts to operas and complete scores. Also archival documents such as personal letters, annotated programs, meeting minutes, and financial records. Part of Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO). Coverage: 1733-1914, contains primary sources. Full-Text.
Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson
Contains documents related to the life and work of Renaissance writer Ben Jonson. Includes major works, letters, diaries, music scores, and contextual documents.
Searchable database of play scripts and scholarly works on theory, criticism, and practice. Can search by cast size (including monologues for auditions) or play length. Includes eras from Ancient Greece to the present. Coverage Range: 600 BC to present, contains primary sources. Full-Text.
New York Times -- Historical Newspapers
Fully searchable, full-text copies of articles and images from 1851 to 2008. Coverage: 1851-2008, contains primary sources. Full-Text.
Eighteenth Century Drama
An archive of almost every play submitted for licence between 1737 and 1824, and hundreds of documents that provide social context for the plays. Featuring the John Larpent Collection from the Huntington Library. Coverage: 1737-1824, contains primary sources. Full text.
Gale Primary Sources: Newspapers
Cross-search a variety of newspaper archives including 19th Century British Library Newspapers, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, Economist Historical Archive, Financial Times Historical Archive, Listener Historical Archive, Sunday Times (London) Digital Archive, Times (London) Digital Archive, and Times (London) Literary Supplement Historical Archive. Coverage: 19th and 20th centuries, contains primary sources. Full-Text.