Southern Methodist University

G. J. Signaigo collection of theater materials

A Guide to the Collection


Creator: Signaigo, G.J. (George Joseph)
Title: G. J. Signaigo collection of theater materials
Dates: 1894-1950
Abstract: George Joseph Signaigo was a prominent Dallas businessman who co-owned the Brannon-Signaigo Cigar Company of Texas. The majority of the material in this collection consists of theater programs that were collected over the course of Signaigo's life. The collection includes correspondence, ephemera, manuscripts, publicity and published works relating to the theater. Most of the material originates from Dallas, Texas, but there is also material from New York City and other states and cities.
Extent: 8 boxes (4.5 linear feet)
Language: Material is in English
Repository Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University

Biographical Note

George Joseph Signaigo was born in Grenada, Mississippi in 1874. Following the death of his parents in 1879, he moved to Marshall, Texas with his uncle. After graduating from St. Edward’s College in Austin, his uncle put him in charge of the operation of the Ginocchio Hotel in Fort Worth and the Ginocchio Hotel in Marshall. Signaigo married Elizabeth Cook of Marshall in 1898 and had three daughters, Ethel (Mrs. Myron Everts), Alice (Mrs. J. Percival Rice) and Eula (Mrs. D.C. McBride, later Mrs. Frank A. Selecman).

Signaigo took over the hotels after his uncle’s death, and expanded his holdings to include hotels in Mineola, Texas, Boyce, Louisiana and Addis, Louisiana. All located near Texas and Pacific Railway terminals, the Ginocchio Hotels did most of their business selling meals to train passengers. However, news of the advent of dining cars prompted Signaigo to sell the hotels rather than face this potential threat to their primary source of revenue.

In 1912, he moved to Dallas and established the Brannon-Signaigo Cigar Company of Texas with his childhood friend, Harper Brannon. He continued to be involved in the cigar company until his death in 1952. Throughout his life, Signaigo enjoyed traveling the world with his family and attending the theater.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Signaigo Collection primarily consists of theater programs from Texas and New York. The programs have a wide range of dates, but most can be dated from 1910-1930. The programs are from many different locations and reflect both Signaigo’s love of travel and the places where he lived and conducted business over the years.

The collection also includes a small amount of correspondence, publicity, published works, and manuscripts. The correspondence identifies G. J. Signaigo as the co-owner of the Brannon-Signaigo Cigar Company of Texas and consists of several letters advertising local theater productions. The publicity contains advertisements for opera and theater performances in New York City and also includes advertisements without an identified location. The published works include theater review periodicals. The manuscripts list actors and actresses of the theater and identify what productions they have performed in and also includes a scrapbook of poetry from Grenada, Mississippi.

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection is organized into 6 series:
Series 1: Programs
Series 2: Published Works
Series 3: Publicity
Series 4: Correspondence
Series 5: Ephemera
Series 6: Manuscripts


Access to Collection:

Collection is open for research use. Appointment with curatorial staff at Hamon Library is required.

Publication Rights:

Permission to publish materials must be obtained from the staff of Jerry Bywaters Special Collections.

Copyright Statement:

It is the responsibility of the user to obtain copyright authorization.

Access Terms

This collection is indexed under the following terms in the Southern Methodist University Libraries' online catalog. Researchers desiring related materials may search the catalog using these terms.
Theater -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.
Theater programs -- United States -- Specimens.
Texas -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.
Programs -- 20th century.
Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw collection on the performing arts.

Related Materials

This is one of the collections in the Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw collection on the performing arts.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

G. J. Signaigo collection of theater materials, Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw collection on the performing arts, Jerry Bywaters Special Collections, Hamon Arts Library, Southern Methodist University.

Acquisition Information

Gift, Mrs. J. Percival Rice, Mrs. D. C. McBride, and Mrs. Myron Everts, 1955.

The Signaigo Collection was acquired as a component of the Mary McCord/Edyth Renshaw collection on the performing arts, donated by George J. Signaigo’s daughters. The McCord/Renshaw Collection originated as the McCord Theatre Museum at Southern Methodist University in 1933. It was transferred to the Hamon Arts Library in 1990.

Processing Information

The Signaigo Collection was received in no discernable order. During its processing, the collection was divided into separate files for clippings, correspondence, documents, ephemera, programs, publicity, and published works. Folded documents were flattened, and the papers were arranged alphabetically by subject and medium, placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid free boxes.

Processed by

Emily George, 2007.

Finding Aid written by

Emily George, 2008.

Edited by Sam Ratcliffe.

Encoded by

Lara Corazalla, 2008.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Programs

The dates of the programs range from 1895-1950. The folders are primarily organized by locations, with exceptions for programs without a clear location identified.
The Arkansas, California, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois programs include local opera, vaudeville and theater productions. Programs of particular note include many programs from 1899-1926 in New Orleans, including many from Tulane University. Since 2005, the existence of these programs may have taken on added significance in light of the effects of Hurricane Katrina on archival repositories in the New Orleans area.
Box Folder
1 1 Arkansas [n.d., 1 item]
2 California [1920-1933, 7 items]
3 Colorado [1926-1968, 7 items]
4 Illinois-Chicago (A-G) [1896-1944, 17 items]
5 Illinois-Chicago (H-O) [1901-1926, 10 items]
6 Illinois-Chicago (P-Z) [1906-1946, 11 items]
7 Louisiana [circa 1907, 4 items]
8 Louisiana-New Orleans-Crescent Theatre [1899-1911, 9 items]
9 Louisiana-New Orleans-Dauphine Theatre [1908-1911, 14 items]
10 Louisiana-New Orleans-General [1906-1926, 9 items]
11 Louisiana-New Orleans-Grand Opera House [circa 1906, 4 items]
12 Louisiana-New Orleans-Greenwall Theatre [1907-1909,4 items]
13 Louisiana-New Orleans-Orpheum [1904-1920, 16 items]
14 Louisiana-New Orleans-Tulane Theatre (A-H) [1904-1911,12 items]
15 Louisiana-New Orleans-Tulane Theatre (I-N) [1904-1911, 9 items]
16 Louisiana-New Orleans-Tulane Theatre (O-Z) [1903-1912, 8 items]
The Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire and New Jersey programs include local productions of opera, vaudeville and theater. The New York programs document Broadway, vaudeville and other theater productions from the early 1900s from specific venues.
Box Folder
2 1 Maine [1934, 2 items]
2 Massachusetts [1917, 1 item]
3 Michigan [1943, 1 item]
4 Missouri [1896-1946, 9 items]
5 New Hampshire [1938, 2 items]
6 New Jersey [circa 1916, 3 items]
7 New York [1901-1946, 6 items]
8 New York-New York-Belasco Theatre [1919-1936, 5 items]
9 New York-New York-Booth Theatre [n.d., 10 items]
10 New York-New York-The Broadhurst Theatre [1920-1937, 5 items]
11 New York-New York-Cort Theatre [1914-1938, 5 items]
12 New York-New York-Empire Theatre [circa 1944, 5 items]
13 New York-New York-Forty-Eighth Street Theatre [1917-1946, 6 items]
14 New York-New York-Lyceum Theatre [1916-1942, 5 items]
15 New York-New York-The Music Box [1921-1940, 6 items]
16 New York-New York-The Playhouse [1917-1938, 6 items]
17 New York-New York-Plymouth Theatre [1930-1938, 5 items]
18 New York-New York-The Winter Garden [1912-1944, 7 items]
These New York programs are from many various venues and are organized alphabetically by venue. They include many different Broadway, vaudeville and theater productions.
Box Folder
3 1 New York-New York (A-B) [13 items]
2 New York-New York (C-E) [1909-1946, 19 items]
3 New York-New York (F-G) [1909-1944, 18 items]
4 New York-New York (H-J) [1896-1946, 13 items]
5 New York-New York (K-L) [1909-1928, 10 items]
6 New York-New York (M-N) [1901-1946, 19 items]
7 New York-New York (O-R) [1916-1938, 11 items]
8 New York-New York (S) [1907-1944, 10 items]
The Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota programs are significant because they demonstrate the universal appeal of opera and theater in the United States, outside of major cities such as New York and Chicago. The Dallas, Texas programs are of particular note because the Capitol Theatre, Circle Theatre, Cycle Park Theatre and the original Dallas Opera House no longer exist.
Box Folder
4 1 New York-New York (T-Z) [1909-1946, 7 items]
2 Ohio [1896, 1 item]
3 Pennsylvania [1896-1941, 7 items]
4 South Dakota [n.d. 1 item]
5 Texas-Dallas-Capitol Theatre [n.d. 13 items]
6 Texas-Dallas-Circle Theatre (A-H) [1924-1926, 50 items]
7 Texas-Dallas-Circle Theatre (I-Z) [1921-1926, 43 items]
8 Texas-Dallas-Cycle Park Theatre [1912-1918, 26 items]
9 Texas-Dallas-Dallas Opera House (A-E) [1903-1923, 16 items]
10 Texas-Dallas-Dallas Opera House (F-L) [1895-1917, 23 items]
11 Texas-Dallas-Dallas Opera House (M-R) [1900-1917, 20 items]
These Dallas, Texas programs include opera, vaudeville and theater productions.
Box Folder
5 1 Texas-Dallas-Dallas Opera House (S-Z) [1908-1917, 24 items]
2 Texas-Dallas-Empire Theatre [1909, 5 items]
3 Texas-Dallas-Fair Park Casino-Starlight Operetta [1941-1943 37 items]
4 Texas-Dallas-Fair Park Casino-Starlight Operetta [1944-1947 49 items]
5 Texas-Dallas-Fair Park Casino-Starlight Operetta [1948-1950 20 items]
6 Texas-Dallas-Fair Park Auditorium [1918-1950, 51 items]
7 Texas-Dallas-The Garden Theatre [circa 1913-1914, 32 items]
8 Texas-Dallas-General [1912-1946, 27 items]
9 Texas-Dallas-Gulf Oil Theatre [circa 1949, 6 items]
10 Texas-Dallas-Hippodrome Theatre [n.d. 24 items]
11 Texas-Dallas-Jefferson Theatre [circa 1915, 17 items]
12 Texas-Dallas-Lake Cliff Casino [1912-1914, 18 items]
These programs are from the Majestic Theatre in Dallas, Texas. They are of particular note because the Majestic Theatre is one of the few theaters in Dallas from this era that has been continually operated.
Box Folder
6 1 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1908, 1 item]
2 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1912, 3 items]
3 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1913, 19 items]
4 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1914, 11 items]
5 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1915, 10 items]
6 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1916, 19 items]
7 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1917, 15 items]
8 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1918, 19 items]
9 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1919, 21 items]
10 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1920, 25 items]
11 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1921, 19 items]
12 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1922, 8 items]
Programs of particular note include Greenwall’s Fort Worth Opera House and the Marshall, Texas programs.
Box Folder
7 1 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1923, 20 items]
2 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1924, 17 items]
3 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1925, 5 items]
4 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [1935, 2 items]
5 Texas-Dallas-Majestic Theatre [n.d. 10 items]
6 Texas-Dallas-Melba Theatre [1924-1940, 8 items]
7 Texas-Dallas-Old Mill Theatre [1913-1914, 7 items]
8 Texas-Dallas-The Palace Theatre [1923-1932, 21 items]
9 Texas-Dallas-The Playhouse [1950, 7 items]
10 Texas-Dallas-The Showhouse/Uptown Theatre [1931-1935, 58 items]
11 Texas-Fort Worth [1924, 4 items]
12 Texas-Fort Worth-Greenwall’s Fort Worth Opera House [1900, 8 items]
13 Texas-Houston [1917, 1 item]
14 Texas-Houston-Palace Theatre [1923-1926, 10 items]
15 Texas-Marshall [1908, 2 items]
16 Texas-Marshall-The Auditorium [circa 1909, 29 items]
17 Texas-Marshall-The Grand [n.d. 13 items]
18 Texas-Marshall-Marshall Opera House (A-O) [1899-1906, 99 items]
19 Texas-Marshall-Marshall Opera House (P-Z) [1900-1905, 67 items]
Programs of particular note include the foreign programs which were probably collected by Signaigo while traveling with his family.
Box Folder
8 1 Texas-San Antonio [1904, 3 items]
2 Virginia [1914-1920, 2 items]
3 Washington D.C. [1917-1934, 2 items]
4 Denmark [1938, 1 item]
5 England [n.d. 2 items]
6 France [n.d. 6 items]
7 Misc. [1896-1924, 9 items]
8 Souvenir [n.d. 2 items]

Series 2: Published Works

The 7 periodicals include publications documenting theater reviews.
Box Folder
8 9 Published Works-Periodicals [7 items]

Series 3: Publicity

The publicity items consist of advertisements for theater productions.
Box Folder
8 10 Publicity-New York [22 items]
11 Publicity [17 items]

Series 4: Correspondence

The correspondence consists of three letters sent to G.J. Signaigo from 1894-1942 by local theater productions, a telegram from Cleburne describing a visit and a letter listing the members of a theater company in 1894. This latter letter relates to the manuscripts identifying actors and actresses and their productions, which apparently was a personal project of Signaigo.
Box Folder
8 12 Correspondence [1894-1942, 4 items]

Series 5: Ephemera

The twelve items of ephemera include handwritten notes, a diagram of the seating plan of the Auditorium in Fair Park in Dallas, a copy of "Texas" the Centennial Souvenir Poem, and cardboard. Ephemera of particular note include three handwritten lists labeled Orange Blossoms, Rosebuds, and Bob-balls.
Box Folder
8 13 Ephemera

Series 6: Manuscripts

Manuscripts of particular note include four binders containing lists of actors and actresses with the productions in which they performed and one scrapbook/notebook containing clippings of poems from newspapers inscribed "Alice Walters Signaigo, Grenada, October 4, 1868." The scrapbook also includes a note to George that the notebook was found in Memphis.
9 Manuscripts