Toy Theater Collection

Toy Theater Collection

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Hargrett Manuscripts
Title: Toy Theater Collection
Dates: circa 1878-1921
Quantity: 0.9 Linear feet (1 document box, 5 oversized folders A)
Coll. Number: ms1702.TEMP

Biographical/Historical Note

Around the late 19th century, model theater and accompanying figures became popular; many of these were printed on colored sheets of paper, intended to be cut out and glued onto cardboard. These figures were permanently costumed and were intended to be actors in scenes with elaborate backdrops in small toy theaters. These plays could be religious stories (Joan of Arc), Shakespearen plays (MacBeth), children's tales (Tom Thumb or Snow White), or moments in history (William Tell).

JFSiE is the signature for the German printer Schreiber's model theater sheets. The J.F.Schreiber company printed their first model theater sheet in 1878 and their last in 1921. The Schreiber company printed figures, backdrops, middrops, horizons, wings, whole scenes, and set pieces. The J.F. Schreiber Printing Company is still in business today, mostly printing model ships.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of dozens of colored printed sheets and one toy theater. These sheets depict a variety of plays to be enacted on toy theaters. One would cut out figures and set pieces from the printed sheets and glue these onto cardboard. The backdrops, middrops, horizons, and wings were also cut out and glued to larger pieces of cardboard or wood.

The Family Temple is an example of one such play. It likely spanned several sheets. The figurine actors were cut out and glued onto cardboard. The set was cut out and glued onto the wood of a toy theater. "The Family Temple" focuses on the story of Jesus, through birth to death, and has many different scenes and a variety of figurine actors.

The text on the printed sheets is often in German, French, and English, though they were produced in Germany. The manufacturer is seen on the right hand corner of most posters - J.F.S.i.E, or the J.F. Schreiber printing company. The Nr or Nro stands for Number, and the actual number (usually ranging in the hundreds) is the sheet's number for production and sale.

Index Terms

Children's works.
Theaters--Germany--Stage-settings and scenery.

General Notes

Inscriptions on front of wooden box and on the paper sheets are in English, German, and French.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation note

Toy Theater Collection. MS 1702. Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Georgia Libraries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Purchased from Gerald Kahan in March 1983.

Related Material

See also MS 1511: Imagerie d'Epinal for more prints from the same manufacturer (JFSiE) and other toy theater lithographs.

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

OS Folder
1APaper sheets for toy theater
OS Folder
2APaper sheets for toy theater
OS Folder
3APaper sheets for toy theater
OS Folder
4APaper sheets for toy theater
OS Folder
5APaper sheets for toy theater
1The Family Temple Toy Theater sheets