Theatre Collection

1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Open today until 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, 4/21 Closed
Monday, 4/22 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 4/23 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 4/24 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, 4/25 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday, 4/26 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 4/27 Closed
  • * Friday has hour changes – staff development day
Sunday Closed
Monday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Friday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Upcoming Closures

  • Fri., Apr. 26 : Closed staff development day
  • Mon., May. 27 : Closed Memorial Day
  • Thu., Jul. 4 : Closed Independence Day
  • Mon., Sep. 2 : Closed Labor Day
  • Mon., Oct. 14 : Closed Columbus Day
View all holiday closings

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Upcoming Events

Philadelphia Theatre: From Then to Now

Sat, May 4, 2019 3:00 P.M.

Philadelphia Theatre: From Then to Now Philadelphia holds an important place in the history of American theater. The first play written by an American author and staged by a professional company was presented at Philadelphia’s Southwark Theater. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the…

Adult Young Adult School Age Senior Community Events African American Performing Arts Philadelphia Philadelphia History Rare Books, Manuscripts, & Digital Collections Special Collections

Housed in the Rare Book Department, the Theatre Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia is a research collection of materials on theatre and other forms of entertainment with a special focus on Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. It contains well over a million items, not only about theatre, but also about film, television, radio, the circus, minstrels, vaudeville, and burlesque. In addition to traditional books and magazines, myriad types of archival material are represented, including programs, playbills, theatrical scrapbooks, posters, lithographs, newspaper clippings, lobby cards, reviews, pictures of productions and film stills.



Digitized Collections

Many examples from our collections are available through our Digital Collections, including film materials from the Lubin Film Manufacturing Company and the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company as well as lobby cards; the 19th Century Playbill Collection; and our radio broadcasting materials.  Many collections have not been digitized, and some collections have only been digitized in part. 

If you're interested in reproducing an image from our Digital Collections, please email us at