The USF Libraries Special Collections is home to the Dion Boucicault Theatre Collection, one of the largest publicly accessible collections of Boucicault materials in the world.

The Dion Boucicault Theatre Collection

Born in Dublin, Boucicault was the most prominent playwright on the world stage during the years 1840-1880 and was also an accomplished director, actor, and theatrical manager. He is best known for his three 'major' Irish plays—The Colleen Bawn (1860), Arrah-na-Pogue (1864), and The Shaughraun (1874). Boucicault was a socio-cultural phenomenon in his day, beloved by Queen Victoria, and was responsible for many innovations in stagecraft still common today. Not all of his plays were published, however: Like many dramatists whose work predated copyright protection, Boucicault believed that publication would lead to literary piracy. Thus, despite writing and producing more than 200 plays in his lifetime, only a handful of his play scripts exist in print or online for researchers, scholars, and the general public.

Unfortunately, many of Boucicault's plays discussed in depth in modern scholarship are not readily available to the average reader. The last published collection of Dion Boucicault's Irish drama was The Dolmen Boucicault, appearing in 1964, and it included only three plays. Since that time, Plays by Dion Boucicault was released in 1984, featuring five plays, and the Selected Plays of Dion Boucicault, containing six plays—two of them also in the aforementioned volume—was released in 1987. In short, scholars who have examined Boucicault's plays in depth have only had The Dolmen Boucicault and slim anthologized versions to consult without having to rely on archival copies or microform editions of play scripts. USF's substantial Boucicault collection is therefore invaluable, not only for filling gaps in the canon, but also for understanding 19th-century English-language theatre; contemporaneous social issues facing Britain, Ireland and the United States; and Victorian popular culture.

With the generous support of The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation USF has begun to digitize, transcribe, and exhibit the prompt books, notebooks, and unpublished play scripts in the Dion Boucicault Theatre Collection in order to present them in a complete online collection--along with critical analysis of each play in its updated and, in many cases, improved form. Researchers will be able to see Boucicault's handwritten stage directions, corrections, annotations, and set designs while reading transcribed play scripts as they were actually performed. Since the published scripts of Boucicault's plays are often drastically different from those that were actually staged, researchers will at last be able to study these materials as they were presented to an audience. This project will ensure that Dion Boucicault's plays are finally made available to scholars, students and the public—complete, easily accessible, and in their appropriate form.

The Plays

Cuishla Machree *

A Bridal Tour

Suilamor, or Life in Galway
Robert Emmet

The Shaughraun
Jeanie Deans

Babil and Bijou

Arrah-na-Pogue *
The Colleen Bawn *

Hunted Down
Rescued *

* Denotes Coming Soon

Credits & Contact Information

This project is generously supported by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation


  • Matthew Knight, Principle Investigator and Author
  • Lorenz Bishop, History Department Intern
  • Elizabeth Ricketts, English Department Intern
  • Jenny Tolbert, Graduate Student Assistant
  • Roxanna Palmer, Graduate Student Assistant
  • Brian Hutchison, Graduate Student Assistant
  • Todd Ciardiello, Graduate Student Assistant
  • Nancy Roque, USF School of Information Practicum Student
  • Vicki Entreken, USF Office of Undergraduate Research Student Assistant
  • Brendan Driscoll, USF Office of Undergraduate Research Student Assistant
  • Cassandra England, USF Office of Undergraduate Research Student Assistant

Web Design

  • Melissa Deep, University of South Florida Libraries Webmaster
  • Trevor Collinson, University of South Florida Libraries Webmaster
  • Richard Bernardy, Digital Collections Systems Administrator
  • Dominique Bortmas, Metadata and Cataloging Support
  • Bonita Pollock, Metadata and Cataloging Support


  • Richard Schmidt, Library Specialist
  • Jonathan Rodriguez-Perez, Special Collections Operations Manager
  • Jane Duncan, Coordinator of Digital Services
  • Sydney Jordan, Collections Specialist
  • Amanda Boczar, Special Collections Operations Manager

Special Thanks to

  • Todd Chavez, Dean of USF Libraries
  • Nancy Cunningham, Director of Academic Services, USF Libraries
  • Tom Cetwinski, Director of Administrative Services, USF Libraries
  • Andrew Farmer, Director of Foundation Relations, USF Foundation