March 26, 2021

Episode 5 - Ricketts' Circus and Art Pantheon

Episode 5 - Ricketts' Circus and Art Pantheon

(Both the above and below images are shared by courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia.)

In the image above, the Pennsylvania State House is on the left, the Art Pantheon in the middle, and Oeller's Hotel to the right. This image would have been created from the point of view of someone on the steps of the Chestnut Street Theatre across the way.

(NB I am aware that I made an error in the text of the podcast episode, when I stated that the US Supreme Court met in the Western wing of Congress Hall, across the street from the Art Pantheon in the late 1790s. In fact the Supreme Court met in the Eastern wing. What is labeled, confusingly, "Court House" in the print below actually housed meetings of the US Congress when Philadelphia was the National Capital. The wing reverted to being the Philadelphia court house after the Federal Government left, which accounts for the confusion.)

Ricketts Circus and Art Pantheon 1797


Selected Bibliography for this Episode:

Custis, George Washington Parke, Recollections and Private Memoirs of Washington. Derby & Jackson, New York, 1860, pp. 485-486.

The Memoir of John Durang, 1785-1916. Historical Society of York County and the American Society of Theatre Research, by Pittsburgh Press, 1966.

Miller, Richard C., “The Federal City: 1783-1800” in Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, Russell F. Wiegley, editor. W.W. Norton & Co., 1982.

Moy, James S., John Bill Ricketts’ Circus: 1793-1800. PhD Thesis, Ann Arbor, University Microfilms International, 1977, p. 94.

Pollock, Thomas Clark, The Philadelphia Theatre in the Eighteenth Century. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1933.

Toll, Robert C. On With The Show! The First Century of Show Business in America. Oxford University Press, 1976, p. 52.

Wood, William Burke, Personal Recollections of the Stage. Henry Carey Baird, Philadelphia, 1855. p.109