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Newtown Theatre

120 N State St, Newtown, PA 18940, USA

Newtown Theatre


By the early 1850s, “Newtown Hall” (as it was then called) was used regularly for performances. These ranged from social dances and concerts to theatrical productions and magic lantern shows. Throughout the 1850s, Newtown Hall hosted anti-slavery meetings, which included sermons by Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass, major figures in the reform movements of the nineteenth century.

“’Frederick Douglass spoke here.’ That’s long been a claim to fame at the Newtown Theatre, but it’s never been clear when—or even if—Douglass actually spoke here. Well, now we know, and it turns out it was Feb 4 1864.

We recently found a 1994 Old Bucks County magazine article written by Terry A. McNealy that talks about Douglass’ time in Bucks County. The article was based on a Bucks County Intelligencer article from February 9, 1864. Here are some of the key passages from McNealy’s magazine article and the newspaper article:

…The noted African American abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass visited Bucks County in February 1864. He spoke before large crowds in Newtown, Pineville and Penn’s Manor on three successive days and the proceeds went to the Freedmen’s Association, a group organized to provide relief for newly freed slaves.

…Douglass spoke at Newtown Hall [former name] on Thursday afternoon, February 4, at Pineville Hall on Friday afternoon, and at Penn’s Manor in Falls Township on Saturday afternoon.

…At Newtown, he spoke at considerable length on the re-construction of the Union. He had a crowded house, the lecture being held in the Newtown Hall. An admission fee of 15 cents was charged, and the receipts amounted to upwards of $46.”


120 N State St, Newtown, PA 18940, USA

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