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University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382)
LeAnn Fields (Project Director: December 2020 to present)
Funding for an Open Access edition of A Player and a Gentleman: The Diary of Harry Watkins, Nineteenth - Century U.S. American Actor Written by Amy Hughes and Naomi Stubbs

This project will publish the book A Player and a Gentleman: The Diary of Harry Watkins, Nineteenth-Century US American Actor edited by Amy E. Hughes and Naomi J. Stubbs an electronic open access format under a Creative Commons license, making it available for free download and distribution. This book offers selections from the diary of actor, playwright, and stage manager Harry Watkins (1825–94) providing a rare glimpse into American theater and society in the mid-nineteenth century. For fifteen years Watkins regularly recorded the plays he saw, the roles he performed, the books he read, and his impressions of current events. His travels included encounters with P. T. Barnum, Junius Brutus Booth, Edwin Forrest, Anna Cora Mowatt, and Lucy Stone, among other notable figures. 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.

Project fields:
Theater History and Criticism

Fellowships Open Book Program

Digital Humanities

$5,500 (approved)
$5,500 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2021 – 4/30/2022