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Guide to the photographs of women's college production of Sanskrit drama, circa 1905

Abstract

Set of 62 captioned black-and-white photographic prints mounted on 14 cardstock boards, documenting an elaborate stage production of a well-known, classical Sanskrit drama, the S´akuntala¯. The play was probably produced at the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in Northfield, Massachusetts around 1905, at a time when Indian dramas were popularized and produced by many women's colleges. The photographs are mounted on the front and back of cardstock mounts, and portray individual young female actors playing male and female roles, as well as tableaus with groups of actors. The images vividly capture the actors' expressions and gestures and portray detailed Oriental costumes and props. Most of the handwritten ink captions name the characters depicted, and many also list quotes from the particular act or scene. One image features a scenic view of Northfield Seminary from across the Connecticut River. The images range in size from range in size from 5.5 x 3.75 in. to 8 x 13.75 in., with the mounts measuring 9x14. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University
Title
of women's college production of Sanskrit drama photographscirca 1905
Language of Material
English
Extent
0.5 Linear Feet, 14 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

Set of 62 mounted and captioned black-and-white photographic prints documenting an elaborate stage production of a well-known, classical Sanskrit drama, the S´akuntala¯; the play was probably produced at the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in Northfield, Massachusetts around 1905. The photographs are mounted on the front and back of 14 heavy card stock boards. The images range in size from range in size from 5.5 x 3.75" to 8 x 13.75", with the mounts measuring 9x14" with one exception measuring 10x16. There are a few near-duplicates among the images.

The images feature portraits of costumed female actors playing male and female roles, as well as groups of actors and several long shots of the stage, in which the curtains, scenery, and part of an orchestra pit can also be seen. The images vividly capture the actors' expressions and gestures, and portray detailed Oriental costumes and props (these argue against it being Smith College's 1904 production, as it was reported as using Americanized costumes and music). Most of the handwritten ink captions name the characters depicted, and many also list quotes from the particular act or scene. One image features a scenic view of Northfield Seminary from across the Connecticut River, with small white tents visible on the lawns to the left; the play may have been produced at Northfield during a summer conference. One of the school's alumna, Ruth St. Denis, was an important modern dancer who popularized Oriental dances and dramas; she appeared in Sakuntala in 1905, perhaps giving the impetus to a staging of the play at Northfield Seminary.

The card stock mounts, with their associated images, are arranged in their original order based on the negative numbers visible in each still image: 1-31, 33-38, and 40-62, with numbers 32, 39, and 59 absent. The view of the campus is unnumbered.

Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University.

Administrative Information

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Contents of the Collection

The black-and-white images in the collection are accompanied by captions and are mounted on the front and back of stiff card stock, with as many as eight to one board. They range in size from 5.5 x 3.75" to 8 x 13.75". There are a few near-duplicate shots. Each mount, with one to as many as eight associated prints, has its own institutional id and is represented by an entry below. The original negative numbers are also indicated.

View of Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies campus from across the Connecticut River; small white tents are visible in fields on left
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M01
One scene from Act I, Scene 1, with two actors (Dushyanta with bow and arrow, and attendant). Original negative number 1.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M02
Two scenes: Act I (1), Act II (1); and four portraits of characters in the play: Sakuntala, Vatayana, Pryamvada, and Anasuya. Original negative numbers 2-7.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M03
Six scenes: Act II (1), Act V (5). Original negative numbers 8-13.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M04
Six scenes: Act I (2), Act III (1), and Act V (3). Original negative numbers 14-19.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M05
Six scenes: Act I (4), Act IV (1), and Act V (1). Original negative numbers 20-25.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M06
Four scenes: Act I (2), Act II (1), and Act III (1); and two portraits of characters, no scene indicated. Original negative numbers 26-31.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M07
Four scenes: Act I (1), Act II (1), and Act III (2); and two portraits of characters, no scene indicated. Original negative numbers 33-38.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M08
Six scenes: Act I (1), Act II, (3), and Act III (1), with 42 a near-identical print of 41. Original negative numbers 39-44.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M09
Eight scenes: Acts I (3), Act II (1), Act IV (3), and Act V (1). Original negative numbers 45-52.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M10
Group shot from Act II, Scene 2; long shot of stage with scenery, no actors53, 54.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M11
Two near-identical long shot of entire stage with scenery and five actors, Act V. Original negative numbers 55, 56.
Box 1 Image RL-10020-M12
Two near-identical shots of a group of actors, Act III, Scene 2. Original negative numbers 57, 58
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M13
Four scenes from Prologue. Original negative numbers 59, 60, 61, 62.
Box 1 Item RL-10020-M14

Subject Headings

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Photographs of women's college production of Sanskrit drama, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The collection of photographs of a women's college production of Sanskrit drama was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, February 2013

Encoded by Paula Jeannet Mangiafico, April 2013

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2012-0176

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and local Style Guide.