1812.001: Theatre on Fire. Awful Calamity!

Published: 1812

Full Title: Theatre on fire. Awful calamity! A letter from Richmond, Virginia dated Dec. 27, says, "Last night the theatre took fire and was consumed, together with about 80 people, with the governor Smith―many were trampled to death under foot, others threw themselves out of the windows, and were dashed to pieces on the ground, some with legs broken. Many were burnt to death in the boxes, and others on the stairways." …

Author: -----

Place Issued: Virginia

Issuing Press: Uncertain

Description: 1 sheet [1 pg.]; 23 cm. x 18 cm. (broadside, printed within mourning border).


Title text is header to right of a wood-block cut of the theater on fire; rest of text is an elegiac poem that also suggests that all theaters should be outlawed throughout the country. Sheet lacks colophon. most authorities date this title to 1811; however, the few days left in that year after the event (4) argues against such, especially as this item appears to have been printed at some distance from Richmond; as the opening text is drawn from letter sent from Richmond, this broadside likely not a Richmond title nor an 1811 imprint, though assigned to an unnamed press there and then by the Virginia Historical Society; Hummel simply ascribed this item to an unnamed Virginia press in 1811; the press attribution seems the most likely case, as the typography is not up to the standards seen in the larger printing centers to the north; thus, this item is probably an 1812 title issued from an unknown Virginia press.

Printer-Friendly PDF

Go back to Index of Imprint Records