Among several sets of books kept by the treasurer and others at Covent Garden for the 1735–36 season, two have been preserved. British Library Egerton MS 2267 is a typical daybook. It records the daily box office totals, which have been reported in The London Stage. The other book is harder to identify and use. It exists in two nineteenth-century copies, one of which—a fair copy in the Frederick Latreille volume, British Library Add. MS 32,251, pages 299–308—has long been known to scholars. Yet full advantage has never been taken of it, perhaps because it is a transcription, not an original document, and is buried in the midst of a larger compilation. The authors of the Biographical Dictionary have made good use of the salary figures for particular performers and house servants, but the scattered reportage inherent in that format only hints at the value of this material. As far as we are aware, no one has made any serious attempt to utilize a slightly fuller transcription of the same source preserved in the “R. J. Smith” scrapbooks in the British Library (shelfmark 11791.dd.18, vol. 3, folios 177–89).
Judith Milhous is Professor of Theatre History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Robert D. Hume is Professor of English at The Pennsylvania State University.