The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America


Newspaper report

The Indianapolis News, Feb 23, 1882, 3 col. 2

Wilde’s lecture was advertised and reported as The English Renaissance, but by now he subject had changed to The Decorative Arts. See Lecture Subjects.


English's Opera House

Indianapolis Circle (now Monument Circle), Indianapolis, IN

Built: 1880 (William H. English)

Seating: 2,000

Opened: September 27, 1880

First electric light: 1889

Closed: April 30, 1948 (subsequently demolished)


The New Denison Hotel *

135 N. Pennsylvania Street (SE corner of East Ohio Street), Indianapolis, IN

Construction began: 1870

Opened: January 1880

Demolished: 1933 (replaced by a parking garage)

* According to L&S, Wilde's hotel in Indianapolis was The New Denison.

Lewis and Smith's sources are often sketchily drawn, and on this occasion their source appears to be the Indianapolis Saturday Review (1880-84). Indeed they cite a story about Wilde being woken at 11:00 PM on the night of his lecture, to be taken to attend a reception being given by the Governor—Albert Gallatin Porter.

Based on the detail of the report there is no reason to doubt L&S as to Wilde's hotel, which was at the time one of the finest in the city. However, original source material has yet to be examined.

See: Historic Indianapolis

William H. English

Local businessman and politician, William Hayden English built English's Opera House in 1880, the same year that he was defeated for vice president on the Democratic ticket with General Hancock. They were defeated by James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. President Garfield was assassinated the following year, and Chester Arthur was president when Oscar Wilde arrived in America in 1882.

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024