Salvas-Coulombe Theater Collection (MS 49)

Ad photo for Mystere Barton (1933)

Advertising image for play “Le Mystere Barton” (1933)

Abstract: For nearly forty years Joseph Jovite “J.J.” Salvas was actively engaged in the staging and direction of amateur theatrical productions. His companies were made up largely of Biddeford people, and they played to enthusiastic audiences in Biddeford and throughout New England. Felix Coulombe (his cousin, Conrad, as well as Mr. and Mrs. John B. Joncas), were amongst the many active members of this vibrant local theater community. The materials donated by Salvas and Coulombe make up the basis of this collection, which tells the story of Biddeford’s incredibly rich theatrical tradition.

Program/fan (1923)

Program/fan for play “Vieillir C’est Suffrir” which played at “L’Opera” June 5, 1923.

The photographs, posters and programs in the collection reveal some of the players and the well-known plays they appeared in. They form an interesting part of Biddeford’s social history, and showcase the talents of numerous local women and men who spent their non-working hours actively engaged in Biddeford’s cultural life.

Biography: Joseph Jovite “J.J.” Salvas (1894-1970) was born in Biddeford, the son of Rock and Malvina (Desautel) Salvas. He worked in the insurance and real estate business until his retirement in 1962. He was married to Marie Ella Amnotte in June 1915, and they had 5 children-four daughters and one son, all but one of which remained locally. Although his obituary makes no mention of his theatrical pursuits, Salvas was involved in acting, directing, and producing for nearly 40 years. [See finding aid for biographical information about the Coulombe cousins and J.B. Joncas.]


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