The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).
VOLUME XV. Colonial and Revolutionary Literature; Early National Literature, Part I.

II. The Early Drama, 1756–1860.

§ 12. Types of Drama.

It is not to be supposed that dramatic talent was limited to Philadelphia. Epes Sargent and Julia Ward Howe in Boston, Nathaniel Parker Willis of Boston and New York, Charlotte Barnes Conner and Anna Ogden Mowatt of New York, and George H. Miles of Baltimore, to mention only a few, wrote plays that were definite contributions to literature as well as practically adapted for the stage. From this point it becomes necessary, however, owing to the wealth of material and the imposed limits of the chapter, to treat the plays from the point of view of types of the drama, rather than as the work of individuals, and this is also most productive of results. Examination of printed plays before 1860, combined with search through the histories of the stage, discloses about seven hundred plays by American writers actually placed upon the boards. These figures are obviously incomplete 17  but they show at least the wide activity of our early playwrights notwithstanding the difficulties under which they laboured, and to which one of them so vigorously refers 18    20

Note 17. The histories of Dunlap, Durang, Wood, Ireland, Brown, Seilhammer, Clapp, Wemyss, and the MSS. diary of Wood have been carefully examined in preparation of these figures, but inaccuracies, confusions of titles of acted and printed plays, difficulty of deciding in all cases as to the nationality of the playwright, etc., make the statements only relatively exact. [ back ]
Note 18. See ‘Letter from the Author’ in Moll Pitcher, by Joseph S. Jones(1855) [ back ]