The Grand Opera House was built 1890-1891 and stood at 106-110 E. Market Street in Bloomington under the management of Charles E. Perry. The Grand Opening was on February 2, 1891 and over the next 18 years it hosted a variety of plays, musicals and concerts. It was destroyed by fire which had spread from a nearby building on May 2, 1909. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1910 as the Chatterton Theater, renamed the Illini Theater in 1923, and closed in 1933.

The collection includes programs from several Shakespeare plays, as well as othe dramas, musical comedies, and concerts. Among the performers listed are John Drew, Helena Modjeska, and Margaret Illington as well as Ignacy Paderewski, the Russian and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, and the John Philip Sousa Band. Also included are souvenir booklet from the grand opening as well as newspaper accounts of the opening and destruction of the theater and miscellaneous advertisements