The Harvard Theatre Collection was founded in 1901, making it one of the oldest collections of its kind in the world. Beyond the theatrical materials at its core, the collection includes documentary material pertaining to music, opera, dance, and popular entertainment ranging from the circus to vaudeville and film. While the primary impetus of the library is preserving books, manuscripts, prints, and other works on paper, it also houses an array of unusual artifacts. The most common of these are props used in theatrical productions or souvenirs created to celebrate particular occasions or notable performers, but the collection also includes more curious items. The objects tell rich stories that illuminate the history of the performing arts in the United States and around the world.