Celebration of the Tercentary Anniversary of William Shakespeare

Event Information

Central Park Mall

Event Type:

Record Information


Last Updated:
10 September 2018

Performance Date(s) and Time(s)

23 Apr 1864, 12:00 PM

Program Details

Performers and/or Works Performed

aka Grand Potpourri
Composer(s): Gounod
aka Soldatenchor; Soldier's march
Composer(s): Gounod
aka Midsummer night's dream, A; wedding march
Composer(s): Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
aka National melodies; National medley; national songs; National airs


Announcement: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 22 April 1864.

"The three hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's birth will be celebrated by the the great part of the civilized world  tomorrow, Saturday 23 April. In England and in Germany, above all, they are making immense preparations for this solemn literary occasion. In New York, the commissioners of Central Park have prepared a spot where a statue of the great poet will be erected; the first stone of the foundation will be put in place Saturday in the presence of a commission composed of people occupying positions in arts and letters. The American theatres will give performances on the same day. At niblo's, they will play Henry IV, Part I; the Winter Garden will give Romeo and Juliet; at the Academy of Music there will be a matinee in which selected scenes from operas based on Shakespeare's works will be performed."

Advertisement: New-Yorker Staats-Zeitung und Herold, 23 April 1864.

Review: New York Herald, 24 April 1864, 4-5.
“Dodworth’s military band commenced the proceedings by performing selections from Faust, including the Soldiers’ chorus.  This we think was rather in bad taste, considering the event to be celebrated.”
Review: Courrier des √Čtats-Unis, 25 April 1864, 2.

"The three hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's birth was celebrated last Saturday in New York with great solemnity. At precisely noon the first stone of the monument which will be elevated in Central Park to the great poet's memory was put in place in front of a numerous crowd. The commonality of language and origin established in this regard a solidarity of national pride between the English and American people, in such a way that this ceremony could have passed for a family celebration.

Many long speeches were delivered; the orchestra executed patriotic airs and the meeting ended with a short speech by mayor Gunther accepting the monument in the name of the City of New York.'

Review: New York Clipper, 30 April 1864, 22.
“Saturday the 23rd of April is a day long to be remembered in the dramatic world of this city.  That day was the three hundredth birthday of Shakespeare, and it was kept in this city as well as in every country where the English and German language is spoken with becoming respect.  In the afternoon and according to the programme, the foundation stone of a monument to the immortal Bard was laid in the Central Park.  The site was granted for the purpose by the Commissioners of the Park, but the exact form the monument will take has not yet been decided on.  It is rumored, however, that it is to be a statue. . . . The attendance was very meager, neither the leading artists of the profession nor those of a literary turn of mind having received any invitation whatever to attend, nor was any given hour fixed for the ceremony to take place.  But two of our city managers were present, and those of the profession were few and far between.  The ceremony commenced at 12 o’clock with performances by Dodworth’s Band. . . .
The site for the statue is at the south end of the Park, and the sum to be raised is set down at $30,000, and $4,000 has already been raised.”