Oscar Wilde In America

DETAiled verification of Oscar Wilde’s lecture tour of North America



Venue Unknown

Tueday, March 7, 1882

The Decorative Arts


Newspaper report

The Daily Republican (Decatur), Mar 8, 1882

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'.

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).

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Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2020