Purchase Story

Historic New England Awards Prize for Collecting Works on Paper

Historic New England has awarded its annual Prize for Collecting Works on Paper to Donna L. Halper and Laurence Senelick. These two honored collections showcase the history of broadcasting in New England and theatrical performance in the United States.

Donna Halper, a professor at Lesley University and a media historian, has amassed a collection of letters, promotional pieces, photographs, magazines, books, and other memorabilia related to the history of broadcasting and the pioneering men and women who worked in the early days of the radio and television industry. Her collection contains a significant amount of rare memorabilia and has been shared through articles and books about media history and Halper’s public presentations at libraries and historical societies.

Laurence Senelick, a professor at Tufts University, has a collection of theatrical imagery that is one of the largest private holdings of the history of performance. The collection contains portraits, publicity material, souvenirs, images of theater building interiors and exteriors, trade cards, early photographs, and more. There is a special emphasis on dramatic theater, circus, vaudeville, music hall, and opera, with particularly strong representation of the years 1650 to 1940. The collection has been used to illustrate reference books and is consulted by researchers, museums, and theaters.

This is the seventh annual Prize for Collecting Works on Paper. The prize was established by Historic New England to honor each year one or more collectors or dealers who have assembled or helped save significant collections related to New England or the nation as a whole.

Originally published in the January 2019 issue of Maine Antique Digest. © 2019 Maine Antique Digest

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