The Lyon Archive

A Brush with Fame: Lyon's Celebrity Circle

In his 1826-1839 diary, A.S. Lyon encounters several famous figures. This exhibit showcases who Lyon wrote about and provides a snapshot in time by comparing and contrasting primary source materials that align with Lyon's diary entries. Through the lens of Lyon's diary, we can better understand the state of celebrity culture in nineteenth-century England. 

Lyon’s various brushes with the famous and early nineteenth century celebrities in both Britain and aboard suggest that Lyon is a figure of note himself, someone with access to and means for a dynamic life. Lyon saw the rise of the populist theater, even participating in the performative process in Barbados. He saw the shift between celebrity and celebrity culture, the latter being an established way to treat famous individuals. The world around Lyon and London was changing, and Lyon changed with it. He changed the way he wrote in his diary, the location he decided to call home, the way he traveled, the way he interacted with the theater, and the way he employed himself. The change in Lyon is reflected in the people he interacts with over the course of the diary, no less Macready or Scott than the people who were within his community and closely knit social circles. 


Sarah Wyer