Henry Warren's Scrapbook and Paintings

The original was loaned to the Theatre Collection of The Ohio State University, early in 1964, by a man who identified himself as the "literary executor" of the estate of Henry Warren's daughter, with the understanding that the Scrapbook would be microfilmed, for inclusion in the archives of the Collection, and for the use of interested faculty and students.

The Scrapbook is an exceptional resource for the study of theatre in the United States during the period between 1810 and 1835. In addition to Henry Warren's sketches of the groundplans of the theatre, the collection contains dozens of theatrical sketches, costume studies and painter's elevations, complete with details concerning color.

There are numerous letters from Henry to William, discussing details of the operation of the theatre, as well as revealing intimate insights into the life of a journeyman theatre worker of the day. There is also a sizeable collection of letters from other members of the Warren family, as well as correspondence between Henry and other scenic artists, most notably, John Worrell.

Finally, and of great value, the Scrapbook contains dozens of engravings of landscapes and city-scapes, as well as engravings of portraiture and caricature. There is clear evidence that these engravings served Henry as source material for his designs, and appear to have had a profound influence on his artistic style at the easel.

For reasons unknown, the owner of the Scrapbook subsequently reneged on his agreement, prohibiting any future access to the original document, and denying all attempts to publish any of the Scrapbook's contents.

In addition to the Scrapbook, Henry Warren left behind a treasury of painting and drawings in San Antonio, Texas estimated at more than 250 in all. So far as I have been able to discover, this collection was broken up and disseminated to the various relatives of the old scene painter. The "executor" denied scholars access to this collection before it was disbursed, and the artist's work is now publicly represented by only a portrait of his Quaker mother-in-law, in the Philadelphia Art Museum; several poor reproductions of his work in the San Antonio (Texas) Express, February 22 1914, and on microfilm in the Theatre Collection.

The San Antonio Express illustrations have been reprinted in Wolcott, "Apprentices in the Scene Room: Toward an American Tradition in Scene Painting" (Nineteenth Century Theatre Research, 4:1 [Spring 1976], pp. 23-39)

Where to See the Resources

At this time, so far as I am aware, the microfilm of Henry Warren's Scrapbook is still on file at The Ohio State University Theatre Collection (OSUTC Film No. 1759*). Several of the resource materials in the Scrapbook have been included in Wolcott "English Influences on American Staging Practice: A Case Study of the Chestnut Street Theatre, Philadelphia, 1794-1820." (Unpublished PhD dissertation, The Ohio State University, 1967) The dissertation is also on file in the University of Washington Drama Library. While University Microfilms sells copies of the dissertation, the quality of reproduction in the photographs is so poor as to argue against its purchase.

Several drawings by John Worrell have been published in Wolcott "A Case Study of American Production: English Source and American Practice," The Ohio State University Theatre Collection Bulletin, No. 15, 1968. pp. 9-19.