Host: U-M Library Digital Collections
Hardworking actor, playwright, and stage manager Harry Watkins (1825–94) was a prolific diarist. For fifteen years (1845–60), Watkins regularly recorded the plays he saw, the roles he performed, the books he read, and his impressions of current events. Performing across the United States, Watkins collaborated with preeminent performers and producers, recording his successes and failures as well as his encounters with celebrities such as P. T. Barnum, Junius Brutus Booth, Edwin Forrest, Anna Cora Mowatt, and Lucy Stone. His is the only known diary of substantial length and scope written by a U.S. actor before the Civil War—making Watkins, essentially, the antebellum equivalent of Samuel Pepys. This searchable digital edition includes the entire uncorrected text of Watkins’s diary, encoded in XML, prepared in accordance with guidelines established by the Text Encoding Initiative. It is archived by the University of Michigan Library as a companion to the University of Michigan Press volume A Player and a Gentleman: The Diary of Harry Watkins, Nineteenth-Century US American Actor.
Amy E. Hughes (Brooklyn College, CUNY), Naomi J. Stubbs (LaGuardia Community College, CUNY), and Scott D. Dexter (Brooklyn College, CUNY),