Many women held positions of great responsibility and power in the United States during the 19th century as theatre managers: managing stock companies, owning or leasing theatres, hiring actors and other personnel, selecting plays for production, directing rehearsals, supervising all production details, and promoting their dramatic offerings. Competing in risky business ventures, these women were remarkable for defying societal rms that restricted career opportunities for women. The activities of more than 50 such women are discussed in Nineteenth-Century American Women Theatre Managers, beginning with an account of 15 pioneering women managers who were all managing theatres before 24 December 1853, when Catherine Sinclair, often incorrectly identified as the first woman theatre manager in the United States, opened her theatre in San Francisco.
JANE KATHLEEN CURRY is Assistant Professor of Theater at Wake Forest University. Her books include Nineteenth-Century American Women Theater Managers (Greenwood, 1994).