Victorian Actors in Revolutionary Costumes
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Written by SeacoastNH Archives Presents  
Historic Portsmouth #382

Dressing up in costumes is nothing new around Portsmouth. I picked this photo because it’s Halloween week – and because I wonder who these people are. We have no information except that the photo was taken in the second half of the 19th century by the Davis Brothers of Portsmouth. (Continued below)


I’ll venture a guess that this is a theatre troupe. Were they performing Sheridan’s 1777 hit play “School for Scandal” that I was forced to read in college? Curiously, the Athenaeum collection includes another photo that may be of the same group posing against the same backdrop. In the second photo five members are dressed in Gold Rush 49-er style outfits. A dedicated researcher combing through early newspapers in the archive might be able to identify these actors. I’m not convinced that all of the women are actually women, and they may have been just traveling through town and performing locally. But Portsmouth has a solid theatrical history dating back to the Revolutionary Era.  (Courtesy of the Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Victorian Actors in Portsmouth, NH / Portsmouth Athenaeum






(c) 2011 Images Portsmouth Athenaeum