Uncle Tom's Cabin remained in print throughout the 19th century, but for millions of Americans between 1853 and the early 20th century "Uncle Tom's Cabin" meant going to a theater, not a library or a bookstore. In an era before electronic forms of home entertainment like radio, TV and "home theaters," theatres, opera houses, museums, and music halls and academies were familiar landmarks in every American city or large town. Throughout this archive these theaters' names survive on playbills, and in ads, reviews and notices, but in non-virtual reality the buildings themselves are almost all gone.|
The New York Clipper, a weekly paper for people in show business, put an engraved illustration on the first page of every issue. Often these were images of famous actors and actresses, or scenes from new plays, but also regularly featured were drawings of the "Theatres and Halls of America."
Listed below, in the order in which they were published in the Clipper between 1870 and 1876, are a few of the theaters in which we know Uncle Tom's Cabin was enacted. Each link will bring up an engraving of a place where America went in the evening or (when there was a matinee) the afternoon to see Stowe's story in its various dramatic versions.