The Definitive Resource Of Oscar Wilde's Visits To America

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Boyd's Opera House

Tuesday, March 21, 1882

The Decorative Arts


Newspaper report

The Omaha Daily Bee, March 22, 1882, 1

Wilde's lecture in Omaha was arranged under the auspices of the Social Art Club.

The Omaha Daily Bee, March 10, 1882, 8


Boyd's Opera House

Northeast corner of 15th and Farnam Streets, Omaha, NE

Built: 1880-81 (James E. Boyd)

Opened: October 24, 1881 (the opera La Mascotte by the Templeton company)

Seating: 1700

Destroyed (fire): October 1893

Replaced in use: 1891 by the second Boyd's Opera House at 17th and Harney Streets (sold in 1914 to be used as retail space)


Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska

Cowboys and Indians

History of Omaha from the Pioneer Days to the Present Time, ‪Alfred Rasmus Sorenson

‪Gibson, Miller & Richardson, Printers‬, 1889, Omaha, NE.


Wilde wrote from the Withnell Hotel to his manager about his tour schedule. The letter is on hotel stationery and survives at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Snippet: Holland, Merlin and and Hart-Davis, Rupert, Eds. The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London: Fourth Estate; New York: Henry Holt, 2000. 


Withnell Building

Southwest corner of 15th and Harney Streets, Omaha, NE

Built: 1868 with subsequent various use:


Government Army offices (Department of the Platte)

pictured in 1876

c.1878-October 1882:

Withnell House (Kitchen Brothers)

1884-c. 1890:

Omaha Daily Herald newspaper offices (Gibson, Miller & Richardson)


Newspaper and building purchased by John A. McShane


Demolished (replaced by Creighton Hall, and later the Orpheum)



This clipping reports Wilde's name in the register at Odgen House, one of the the finest hotels in the region, not far from Omaha over the river at Council Bluffs.

It is unlikely that Wilde took rooms at the Ogden House, but he may have visited the hotel as a guest during his stay.

The Daily Bee (Council Bluffs, IA), March 23, 1882, 6

Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2024