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Crescent Comedy Company Collection of American Melodrama Scripts

Identifier: M385


Contains 38 scripts of melodramas assembled by B.A. Bergman, manager of the Crescent Comedy Company (also known as the Crescent Stock Company), based in Chicago. The working scripts (containing dialogue, stage directions and music cues) were used for performances in Chicago, Illinois and on road tours, chiefly in Michigan.


  • Majority of material found within 1905-1913


Physical Description

Scripts are on a variety of paper sizes, in unpublished form produced by longhand, typewriter, mimeograph or spirit duplicator.


3.75 Linear Feet (6 bound volumes in 3 flat boxes, 15 x 13 x 3 inches) ; 33-37 cm

Scope and Contents

Contains 3-, 4- and 5-act plays bearing copyright dates between 1873 and 1913. The actual copies representing 19th century plays are later transcriptions.


The scripts are arranged alphabetically by title, and bound in red cloth. Originally there were seven volumes, but the Libraries currently hold only volumes 1-5 and 7.

Custodial History

The plays were collected by a working theater company manager, B.A. Bergman of Chicago, who retired from show business in 1913. Most of the scripts were secured through agents in Chicago or New York, but in some instances were revised and rewritten to adapt to the size and personnel of the company. Other plays were written by members of the company. In 1935, Bergman gave the collection to Josh Philip Roach in the course of several conferences he had with Roach, who was teaching near Detroit, Michigan at the time. In 1954, Roach completed a doctoral dissertation in theater at the University of Denver, in which he analyzed 20 of these plays. His dissertation was accessioned at the Mary Reed Library as number 286806. Although no documentation has yet been found in the acquisition or donor files, the Mary Reed Library appears to have subsequently bound the collection under accession numbers ..., 288414 (v. 2), 288415 (v. 3), 288416 (v. 4) ... 288416 (c. 7), with a spine title of American Melodramas, originally assigning them to the Locked Case under Dewey call number 812.08 A512. No evidence has been found that they were reclassed when the University changed to the Library of Congress Classification scheme in the early 1970s.


No further accruals are expected, although the missing three volumes may surface at some point.

Related Materials

A Study of Some Unpublished American Melodramas / by Josh Philip Roach. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Denver, August, 1954.

Related Materials

Josh Philip Roach papers, 1942-1984. MSS 541, Woman's Collection, Blagg-Huey Library, Texas Woman's University, P.O. Box 425528, Denton, TX 76204

Physical Description

Scripts are on a variety of paper sizes, in unpublished form produced by longhand, typewriter, mimeograph or spirit duplicator.



Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
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