Billy Rose Theatre Division
- Arranged in series: I. Chamberlain Brown diaries, 1909-1912; II. Lyman Brown diaries, 1911-1914.
Collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required.
The Chamberlain and Lyman Brown Theater Diaries consist ofnine volumes that document the brothers' theatergoing experiences (mostly in Boston, Massachusetts) as young teenagers, for the years from 1909 to 1914. Four of the diaries were kept by Chamberlain, the other five by Lyman.These commercially produced blank volumes, which were distributed by the Chicago firm of Brewer Barse under the title, Plays and Players: A Theatre-Goer's Record, had been gifts from an aunt whom the brothers would visit in New York during the Christmas holidays; productions they attended in New York during these stays are documented in the diaries as well. Each diary includes information recorded by one of the Brown brothers for approximately forty-five productions, but Chamberlain's diary for the 1909-1910 season contains about seventy-two entries. Most of the volumes have cast lists and clippings for each play,but some contain entire programs and publicity brochures. Ticket stubs are sometimes included, especially in the earlier volumes. There are also a few photographs in one or two of the diaries, as well as some loose clippings related to a production. A number of autographs can also be found on the clippings of actors' photographs. The collection, which includes documentation of numerous operettas, revues, and vaudeville productions, provides aninteresting perspective on the early twentieth century theater scene in Boston and New York.
Theatrical casting agents, producers, and writers, brothers Chamberlain and Lyman Brown were born in Hartford,Connecticut in the 1890s of a prominent New England family. Chamberlain, the elder of the two brothers, was educated at Harvard and while there he began a career as an actor. While still in his teens, he formed his own stock company and became an owner and manager of a theaterin Lowell, Massachusetts. Chamberlain Brown moved to New York City, where, by 1913, he had opened his own company, The Chamberlain Agency. Lyman Brown joined his brother's theatrical agency as the Boston representative. Later he moved to New York City and worked in the New York office as a licensed Equity agent. Chamberlain Brown, who died in1955, discovered and represented many stars of theater, radio, and film during his career. Lyman Brown, who becamea co-owner of the Chamberlain Brown Agency, worked primarily casting summer stock productions throughout the United States and Canada. Lyman Brown died in 1961.
Controlled Access Terms
- Brown, Chamberlain -- Diaries.
- Brown, Lyman -- Diaries.
- Fans (Persons)
- Teenage boys -- Massachusetts -- Boston -- Diaries.
- Theater -- Massachusetts -- Boston.
- Theater -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Theater audiences -- New York (State) -- New York.
- Ticket stubs.
Additional Creator Names
- Brown, Chamberlain.
- Brown, Lyman.