Oscar Wilde In America


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

Bridgeton

New Jersey


Moore’s Music Hall

Thursday, October 26, 1882


The Decorative Arts

Indication

The Pioneer (Bridgeton, NJ), October 19, 1882, 3

VERIFICATION

Newspaper reports

Camden Daily Courier, October 27, 1882, 1

The Baltimore County Union, November 18, 1882, 4

The Pioneer (Bridgeton, NJ), November 2, 1882, 3


At the time of this lecture, Wilde was residing in New York, but found time between his activities in the city (such as welcoming Lillie Langtry to America on October 23rd and attending and speaking at a celebratory dinner for Charles Wyndham on October 28) to conduct this lecture which he arranged, or had been arranged for him, in a fairly remote part of south Jersey.


The first article reports Wilde passing through Camden, New Jersey on his return and commenting upon Walt Whitman whom he had met twice in Camden earlier in the year. The report also contains one of many references to Wilde’s asserted intention, never realized, to visit Australia or Japan.


Although widely reported locally, this lecture has remained unrecorded in Wilde studies until now. It is one of two lectures found to have taken place after the historically accepted final lecture in St. John, Canada, the other being his lecture in Yorkville, NYC, on November 27

Venue


Moore’s Music Hall

South Laurel Street, Bridgeton, NJ, (J. M. Moore & Son)


Dedicated: November 1, 1879

Seating: 1000

Below: William J. Moore, boot and shoe store

Soon renamed: Opera House, mid-1880s

Later: Criterion (theatre, vaudeville, movie house)

Destroyed (fire): June 14, 1949

Replaced by: Laurel Theatre (movie house), 1950

Accommodation


Wilde stayed overnight in Bridgeton, and returned to New York via Camden, NJ the next day.


There is no record of Wilde’s accommodation. Principal hotels in Bridgeton in 1882 were the Davis House and Hohenstatt Hotel which was across the street from the theatre.

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Oscar Wilde In America | © John Cooper, 2020