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Oscar Wilde In America

oscar wilde's 1882 lecture tour of america

Decatur, IL

The Decorative Arts | (Smith's) Opera House | Wednesday, March 8, 1882



Newspaper Report

The Daily Republican (Decatur), March 9, 1882, p.3



Newspaper Article

The Daily Republican (Decatur), February 28, 1882, p.1



Newspaper advertisement

Originally advertised as 'The English Renaissance', but, owing to the smaller houses, Wilde had written to his manager, Col.W. F. Morse in early March to say:

"Kindly see that I am not advertised to lecture on 'The English Renaissance'. I have not delivered that lecture since February 11, and yet I am always advertised for it. It is very annoying, and besides, 'The English Renaissance' is printed in the Seaside, so people think they know it, and stay away. The lecture is on "The Decorative Arts'..." [1]

The two advertisements below for the Decatur lecture show that Wilde's requested was heeded. although not quite with the precise title he suggested. See also Wilde's Lecture Titles.

The Daily Republican (Decatur), March 3, 1882, p.2


The Daily Republican (Decatur), March 8, 1882, p.2


[1] Complete Letters, 147.

historical note

(Smith's) Opera House
200 block of North Water Street (west side; the entrance is now No. 225), Decatur, IL

Built: 1870 (Edward. O. Smith)
Operating until: 1889 (when the Powers Grand Opera House opened)
Last performance: May 29, 1889 (Frederick Warde's The Mountebank) and immediately thereafter converted for business purposes [1]

[1] Decatur Weekly Republican (Decatur, Illinois), June 6, 1889, 5


While in Decatur, Wilde stayed at The New Deming Hotel, Room 72.


Decatur Weekly Republican (Decatur, Illinois) March 9, 1882, 1

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