Item: The Wages of Sin, the Struggle for Life theatrical poster, 1880

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Record Number: 7171
Call number: V6:526
Collection: Theater Posters Collection [V06]
Lithographer: Strobridge & Co. Lith.
Relates to: Harvey, Frank
Date of Original: circa 1880
Original Format: Prints › Lithographs
Dimensions: Dimensions of image, 50 by 75 cm
Image description: Theatrical poster for "The Wages of Sin" by Frank Harvey depicting a scene from the play captioned "The Struggle for Life!" A morality tale about the effects of a lie and the penalty for sin, "The Wages of SIn" tells the story of Ruth, a young orphan woman who rejects her suitor, the Reverend George Brand, after a false report casts aspersions on his character. Ruth then marries Harry Wentworth, a true ne’er-do-well who proves to be a drunken, lazy brute and drives Ruth to a life of starvation and crime. At the center of the action is Stephen Marler, a factory clerk who is the source of the false rumor about George. This poster notably depicts a life-and-death struggle between George and Stephen while Ruth lies helplessly in the background. Praised in The New York Times as a "vigorous and successful melodrama," "The Wages of Sin" played to audiences in England, the United States, and Australia throughout the 1880s and was performed in Philadelphia at the Olympic Theater in the summer of 1883.