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Theater Research at the Library of Congress

This guide navigates the Library's collections related to theater but focuses on those within the Music Division, including special collections, rare materials, reference materials, digitized resources, and databases.


A vast array of performance genres are reflected in the Library's theater collections. The scope of these materials includes books, periodicals, playbills, manuscripts, letters, promptbooks, production photographs, costume designs, lighting designs, scenic designs, and much more. The sheer magnitude of material is without parallel in other library collections.

Materials relevant to research in theater live in many different locations within the Library's collections across multiple Divisions, including the Music Division, Manuscript Division, Prints and Photographs Division, and Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

Many of the materials included in this guide are connected to musical theater and dance, but this guide focuses on non-musical theater. Use the navigation menu to the left for more specific information, and use the guides linked at the bottom of this page for more specific information on musical theater or dance research using the Library's collections.

Additional Resources

Find additional and related resources in the following research guides: