- Joe Meserve
- Welcome to Prospero's Blog! My wife Mollie and I work together in our Rough Magic studio on the coast of Maine. I've always loved old books, memorabilia, curiosities and Americana (especially 19th century dramatic literature) and am happy to share my discoveries in my Etsy Shops. Please come by and browse ~ there's just no telling what you'll find!
October 25, 2009
Here is the autobiography of legendary American theatre producer Daniel Frohman (1851-1940), published by Lee Furman, New York, in 1937.
Not only is this 397-page memoir packed with primary source information, it is a fascinating "read," written with skill and gentle good humor. The author gives us "peeps" (as he calls them) at such theatrical notables and celebrities as Mae West, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Lillie Langry, Sarah Bernhardt, Duse, Modjeska, Enrico Caruso, Noel Coward, Charlie Chaplin, Billie Burke, and dozens more.
The book itself is in fair condition. The cover is worn and faded, especially at the spine, which is broken but still firmly attached. There are a few light pencil notes in the margin, and the inside front cover has had an old bookplate removed.
Aside from Frohman's lively and informative commentary, the real treasure in this book is the last section -- "Daniel Frohman's Album." Here, in excellent condition, are 64 black and white photographs of the people we've all heard of and wondered about.
~~~ Was Lillie Langtry ("The Jersey Lily") really a great beauty? Study the photo of her with the great Sarah Bernhardt and then decide. (That's Lillie on the left.)
Other celebrities in Frohman's Album include:
~ Noel Coward
~ Enrico Caruso
~ Lillian Russell
~ Henry Irving
~ Thomas Nast
~ Charles Chaplin
~ Mae West
~ Maude Adams
~ Eleonora Duse
~ Edwin Booth
~ Otis Skinner
~ Walter Hampden
~ Ethel Barrymore
~ Maurice Barrymore and John Drew, scions of the famous star-studded family
~ Charles Frohman, the author's brother
~ George M. Cohan, the "Yankee Doodle Dandy"
All in all, this is a thoroughly delightful book, offering many revealing "peeps" at the late 19th and early 20th century theatre scene in America.
To view Daniel Frohman Presents in my Etsy shop, please click here.