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Register of the Swain Marysville & San Francisco Theatre Collection, 1857-1928
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Swain Marysville & San Francisco Theatre Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 1857-1928
    Collection number: Mss88
    Creator: W.B. & Margaret Swain
    Extent: 0.5 linear ft.
    Repository: University of the Pacific. Library. Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections
    Stockton, CA 95211
    Shelf location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Swain Marysville & San Francisco Theatre Collection, Mss88, Holt-Atherton Department of Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library


    The Swain Family operated a planing mill, a theatre and a bank in Marysville throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. Their Marysville Theatre, erected in 1865, was designed by Harry Majors and built by W.C. Swain for $30,000. The flood of 1875 damaged the building and it was use for a time as a dance hall. Swain remodelled it in 1886, introducing sloping floors and other improvements. W.B. Swain, son of the builder, was interested both in acting and in theatre management. His father began leasing the building to him in 1889 and the latter operated it until it burnt down, together with the family mill, in 1904.
    Theatre in Marysville enjoyed a particularly vigorous life between 1886 and 1910 due to an accident of geography. Trains from San Francisco bound for Portland, Oregon arrived in Marysville at five p.m. The train did not leave for Portland until midnight and many Portland-bound troupes found it a simple matter to mount an evening performance in Marysville while on their way north. It would have been impossible for them to have done this in Sacramento because they could not have made their Portland connection on the same day.
    In 1908, Frank Atkins built a new theatre on the site of the Swain planing mill. This theatre, also known as the Marysville Theatre, burned in 1926.

    Scope and Content

    The scrapbook which forms the chief element of these papers was created by W.B. Swain. It contains theater programs, reviews and Swain's notes about attendance and the performances at Marysville between 1886 and 1908. One of the Swains also collected a smaller number of San Francisco theatrical programs and newspapers dating from the same period.