The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

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Opera House

Wednesday, March 1, 1882

The Decorative Arts


Newspaper report

Dubuque Herald, March 2, 1882, 1

In contrast to the successes and larger audiences in the major cities, this lecture was attended by fewer than 200 inattentive people.

It was the first of eleven consecutive days lecturing in eleven different cities, often to smaller houses, the effect of which demoralized Wilde for a time.

He recovered his bonhomie in time to tell the press that he flattered himself on his appearance at the Opera House, because, he says:

“Any man can make a speech…before 1,000 people, but it requires nerve to deliver a lecture to empty benches”.


Opera House

Fourth and Main Streets, Dubuque, IA

Built: 1840s, as City Hotel 

Redesigned and reopened: 1864, as Athenaeum Theatre

Refurbished and reopened: 1877, as Duncan-Waller Opera House

Seating: 900

Destroyed (fire): April, 1910

Full history and source:

Five Flags Center

Encyclopedia Dubuque

The Dramatic Yearbook

The Inter Ocean (Chicago), March 1, 1882, 8

Rebuke For Dubuque

Dubuque is located along the Mississippi River.

Oscar Wilde had already been unimpressed by the Atlantic Ocean and Niagara Falls. It was now time for America's grand waterway to be chastised:


Julien House

Second and Main Streets, Dubuque, IA

Built: 1844, as The Waples House 

Reconstructed: 1854, as Julien House

Remodeled: 1874

Wilde’s rooms: 73-4

Old section demolished and rebuilt: 1889

Destroyed (fire): April 13, 1913

Full history and source:

Encyclopedia Dubuque

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024