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Oscar Wilde In America

oscar wilde's 1882 lecture tour of america

Jacksonville, IL

The Decorative Arts* | Venue* | Tuesday, March 7, 1882

* See Clarifications below.



Newspaper Report

The Daily Republican (Decatur), March 8, 1882, p.3


Jacksonville, il

Little is currently known about Wilde's lecture in Jacksonville, IL. It took place on one of eleven consecutive days that Wilde lectured in eleven different cities, often in rural areas to smaller houses. Jacksonville was no exception: in 1882, Jacksonville was a city of around 11,500 that had grown to only 19,446 at the 2010 census.

Ellmann records a letter held at Yale University that tells of a visit by Wilde to Illinois College while he was in Jacksonville. The letter, from the father of James Babb (a former director of the Yale University Library), describes Wilde's 'splendid diction and his descriptive powers,' and that his 'sentences are mellifluous and sparkle with occasional gems of beauty'.

illinoiscolllegegymIllinois College Gymnasium from the 1895 year book.


As to lecture title

No record is currently available for the title of the lecture Wilde gave in Jacksonville, although The Decorative Arts was the one he was giving immediately before and after.

See also note at Dubuque


As to venue and accommodation

No record is currently available for the venue of Wilde's lecture or where he stayed in Jacksonville [1].

The following directory entry, however, indicates that there was a limited choice, and the venue was likely to have been the Opera House (the former Strawn's Hall, 1861).


Jno. B. Jeffery's Guide and Directory to the Opera Houses, Theatres, Public Halls, Bill Posters, Etc. of the Cities and Towns of America
‪Jeffery‬, 1883 

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