Extra-illustration (or "Grangerizing") was a practice among book collectors from the late-18th to early-20th centuries. Collectors disbound printed works, inserted additional material related to the work's content, and then rebound the whole — thus providing "extra" illustration to the original work. Added material of interest to theater historians can include portrait prints, manuscripts, and playbills.
For example, in 1867 T.H. Morrell published a 4-volume edition of Joseph Ireland's Records of the New York Stage from 1750 to 1860. Theater manager Augustin Daly had his copy disassembled and rebound with a wealth of material he had collected over the years, extending it to 33 volumes. Opposite page 525 of Ireland's text, which mentions a production of Open House, Daly tipped in a playbill from that performance:
Searching for and Requesting Inserted Material
A physical card catalog indexes the material bound into most extra-illustrated works owned by the Harvard Theatre Collection. These cards have been scanned, and can be accessed through the links below.
Most materials are indexed by a person's name or (in the case of material linked to a theater, such as a playbill) a geographic location and theater name. There is a very limited amount of indexing by title or subject.
Some cards cite the call number for the work the item is bound into, but the majority of cards cite an abbreviation rather than a call number. A list of the abbreviations, along with their call numbers and the number of volumes each work comprises can be found below. Note that occasionally the same abbreviation might refer to multiple extra-illustrated works. In these cases, you'll need to work through each copy to determine which one contains the inserted item you're looking for.
For example, the following card refers to the playbill discussed in the example above, and is filed under New York City Theatres, Park Theatre, 1848:
Using the list below we can see that "Ireland" refers to call number TS 939.5.3. The card tells us that the playbill is in volume 2, part 12, and is opposite folio 105.
Some of the cards in the catalog refer to items in personal papers or loose collections of ephemera rather than materials used in extra-illustration. Generally, you will not find a call number on these miscellaneous cards. You can search for these collections like you would other archival material. However, if you are having any trouble deciphering a card, don't hesitate to contact Houghton Library staff for help.
Scanned Card Catalog
Please note that these are large files and may take some time to download.
Title Abbreviations Found on Cards