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Theater

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Autograph of Ethel Merman
1 Autograph of Ethel Merman
NA Very Good 
N.d., circa early 1950s. A Merman autograph written in pencil on a folded white sheet of paper. Merman was the pre-eminent star of the Broadway musical theater from her legendary debut belting out "I've Got Rhythm" in "Girl Crazy" until her stunning dramatic turn as Mama Rose in "Gypsy". Known for her thrilling and crystal clear diction that could be heard in the last row (and the lobby, and quite possibly, on the sidewalk), Merman was in numerous movies but seldom was able to excite movie audiences as she did live time and again. On stage, she had close to a perfect track record, with her hits including "Anything Goes", "Panama Hattie", "Annie Get Your Gun", "Call Me Madam", "DuBarry Was a Lady", and on and on. In her later years she was a regular presence on television, where she would belt out one of the innumerable hit songs she first introduced. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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2 Clifton Webb Scrapbook of clippings of relating to his appearance in "The Man Who Came to Dinner"
1940-1941 
Including a letter and telegram to Webb from his Hollywood agent promising an audition for the part of Sheridan Whiteside in the movie and then letting him down easy because the very bankable Cary Grant is taking the part! Of course, Grant did not ultimately play the part in the Warner Brothers movie, released in 1942, but rather, the inimitable Monty Woolley, who originated the part on Broadway! But Webb's certain disappointment would eventually be salved, one would think, when he was cast as Waldo Lydecker in the 1944 "Laura", a role that bore not a small resemblance to Whiteside, but more sinister! From that debut Webb went onto to star in many movies, playing numerous times Mr. Belvedere, "The Razor's Edge", "Cheaper by the Dozen", etc. Besides the two pieces of correspondence from the agent, the album is comprised of numerous newspaper articles and reviews of Webb in the role as he toured the U.S. in what was the number two cast after the Broadway line-up led by Woolley. Throughout Webb received rave reviews, as did the now classic comedy, and as one would expect, since Webb was playing a role almost tailor-made for his persona, or what was to become his persona -- that of the brittle, sarcastic, biting aesthete. For anyone familiar with the play and Webb, it take little imagination to conjure up him in it, whereas with Cary Grant, the part would have inevitably been turned into something different than its original conception. Lest Webb's being in the secondary cast or his being passed up for the movie part suggests otherwise, Webb had by 1940 already had a long and successful career on Broadway, beginning as a child and becoming a song and dance man opposite the likes of Marilyn Miller, and introducing the song "Easter Parade" in "Thousands Cheer", to cite just one highlight of his prior theater resume. But it was in musicals that he was until then associated, and he had appeared in only a single silent movie, which by then could be entirely discounted. And it was Webb's past and desire to move on to other kinds of roles that are the subject of a good number of the articles pasted into the album. We do not know who compiled the album, which on its "title page" has written in ink above a headshot of Webb "SAM H. HARRIS PRESENTS", but given the presence of the two pieces of correspondence, we think it likely that it was kept by someone close to Webb or the office of Harris, who was a leading theatrical producer of the day. Although we can offer no concrete evidence to support this, we believe the album was made by Webb's mother, with whom the lifelong bachelor Webb lived until she passed away in 1960 at age 91, prompting Noel Coward to remark "It must be terrible to be ophaned at 71." While the album is mostly of newspaper clippings which might be found elsewhere, the assemblage of material would be effortful in the extreme. We believe the value of the album to anyone who is not already a dyed-in-the-wool Webb fanatic is the documenting of a successful show on the road in the early forties and the insights it affords to performance of stage screwball comedies of the day. The album is quite large, measuring 37 by 31 cm, and consisting of 21 leaves. The leatherette of the cover has a few minor chips and rubbing. The paper of the album is heavily aged toned and brittle, as typical of album papers. The first few sheets are loose and also have some edge chipping. 
Price: 285.00 USD
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Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
3 Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
1900 N.A. Very Good 
Quirky homemade souvenir fan with many stickers pasted on from New England and New York State towns, colleges (Yale, Harvard, Boston University, Amherst), fraternities, Prep Schools (Andover, Exeter), restaurants, hotels, clubs and other points of interest and monograms. While there is no definitive dating, this kind of fan was a popular hobby at the turn of the twentieth century. The stickers are on both sides of the fan, and the effect is same as on luggage with stickers from all the places the owner has traveled, except on the fan the stickers are much smaller. Given the preponderance of schools, we would conjecture that this particular fan was created by a young person, perhaps for his/her own enjoyment or conceived as a gift for a friend. Surely it was done as an act of love, and its very oddity must have been a source of fun for its creator. The fan has nine wooden spokes that fan out to 49 cm, and closed the fan is 26 cm tall. The labels and tags are pasted onto a black mackintosh fabric which has a luster. There is virtually no space available for additional tags, and so the project was fully realized by its creator. Solid and well-preserved. 
Price: 240.00 USD
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Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
4 Fan with College and Preparatory School Names along with Place Names, Restaurant Names, Hotel Names, Monograms, Crests, Emblems, etc. Labels Pasted On
1900 N.A. Very Good 
Quirky homemade souvenir fan with many stickers pasted on from New England towns, colleges (Dartmouth, Wellesley, Mt. Holyoke College, New England Conservatory of Music, Williams College), prep schools (Phillips Exeter, hotels, and other points of interest. While there is no definitive dating, there is one sticker with the date of 1900 and another for "The Aegis: Dartmouth College Class of 1901. The stickers are on both sides of the fan, and the effect is same as on luggage with stickers from all the places the owner has traveled, except on the fan the stickers are much smaller. Given the preponderance of schools, we would conjecture that this particular fan was created by a young person, perhaps for his/her own enjoyment or conceived as a gift for a friend. Surely it was done as an act of love, and its very oddity must have been a source of fun for its creator. The fan has nine wooden spokes that fan out to 48 cm, and closed the fan is 26 cm tall. The labels and tags are pasted onto a black mackintosh fabric which has a luster. There is virtually no space available for additional tags, and so the project was fully realized by its creator. Solid and well-preserved. 
Price: 240.00 USD
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Folies Bergere
5 Folies Bergere
Wraps Very Good Minus 
N.d., 1950s program. Folio, 32 by 24.5 cm. Unpaginated, 48 pp. Black felt cover, with gold silhouette of nude woman on knees and holding one hand aloft. Stars of day were Frederick Rey, Veronica Bell, Cadillac, Edith George. Many black and white photos, and seven color plates, one of which is two paged, in addition to ads in front and back which are in color generally. The program captures the raciness and variety of the legendary show. Some dampstaining and soiling. 
Price: 65.00 USD
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Four Cabinet Photographs of a Theatrical Production, All Male Cast, With Men in Drag
6 Four Cabinet Photographs of a Theatrical Production, All Male Cast, With Men in Drag
Amherst, Massachusetts Lovell NA Near Fine 
N.d., circa 1880s. We do not know what the play was, other than it was performed in Georgian, mid to late18th century attire, suggesting that it might have a play by Sheridan or Goldsmith. Deepening our supposition would be the romantic element, the mood imparted by the four photos and air of levity, befitting most a comedy. In any case, in two of the photos a handsome young man is holding the hands or embracing the lovely love young lady, who we know is in fact a man. In another, the same actor is laughing with a buxom, older woman, also played by a man. The fourth photo shows three men, including the one we presume to be our romantic lead, who is looking on as an older man is providing some kind of direction to the third, also younger, man. We assume that the play was being performed by amateurs, probably students of Amherst College. John L. Lovell (1825-1903) opened the first professional photo studio in Western Massachusetts. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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7 Japanese Leporello of 55 Original Watercolored Demonic Masks
Leporello. Fabric on boards. Very Good 
Fabulous collection of watercolors showing Japanese masks of demonic characters. The shapes of the heads are all essentially the same. Varying from one to the next is the colors used, the swirls and lines and other creepy attributes endowed onto the head-shape. N.d., circa 1900 (based on the paper and boards). Closed, 25 by 18 cm. 55 panels with one mounted watercolor on each. Light soiling to the fabric covering the boards. 
Price: 1250.00 USD
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Kamishibai -- Japanese Paper Theater.  Picture Story Show of Ikkyu-san
8 Kamishibai -- Japanese Paper Theater. Picture Story Show of Ikkyu-san
1941 NA Very Good 
Scarce intact Japanese kamisibai paper theater stage, glass screen and complete set of 14 pictorial cards. Kamishibai frame was illustrated by Koide Shin'ichi. The text and illustrations of the Ikkyu-san story by Kiyohar Takashi. Kamishibai, or Japanese paper theater, was a phenomenon of the first half of the 20th century, until the lure of television killed it off. The Kamishibai performers -- mostly men -- were itinerate street storytellers who eked out a living by selling candy to their audience members. Daily they would travel from place to place via bicycle, with their stage and stock of sweets in tow, and they would clap two wooden sticks to announce their presence and draw children to them. As they narrated their story, they would slip one card after another into the grooves on the stage to illustrate the action. The typical Kamishibai story had a strong moralistic message. During the Second World War, not surprisingly, the stories took on more patriotic themes. The performer would conclude a day with a cliffhanger, and so the listeners would have to return the following day to hear what happened. While Kamishibai is a thing of the past, its influence is evident in the work of many manga artists. The central character of the three stories contained in the cards on offer here, Ikkyu-Sojun, is a Buddhist priest of Daitoku-ji Temple, a figure well-known to Japanese audiences of the time as a clever, crafty problem solver. Paper theater has suffered minor insect damage, with occasional marks. Top card is creased. Scattered foxing and soiling of cards besides. 
Price: 2250.00 USD
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9 Leporello of Original Paintings Depicting Characters of the Noh Theater
Leporello. Cloth (silk) cover. Outer case of clo Very Good 
Simple and straightforward presentation of stock characters from Japanese Noh Theater, all appealingly colored. N.d., 19th century. 24 by 18.5 cm. 24 pp of colorful character portraits. Several are double paged and are a bit more dynamic. Noh is a traditional form of Japanese musical drama that first arose in the 14th century and employs masks heavily in its ritualized performances. Scattered light foxing, never disconcerting. Blue cloth case with color fading, moderate wear, title label partially obliterated (the upper layer with lettering is perished). 
Price: 1000.00 USD
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10 Les Roses de Vaudeville
Paris Chez Le Fuel 1822 Cartonnage. Slipcase. Very Good Plus 
12mo. 12 by 8 cm. 173, [2] pp. With eleven exquisite hand-colored plates of actors in costume in addition to hand-colored title. Also hand-colored allegorical vignettes on the cover, front and back, and a different one on the slipcase, with elaborate neo-classical ornamentation around the perimeter of both. This is a collection of short plays done by the Vaudeville theater. Vaudeville is a term that has evolved. In the eighteenth century in France it referred to songs or poems recited in a theater, and here it essentially refers to an early form of musical comedy. Scarce, with only institutional copies located on OCLC First Search in Chicago and Morgan. Slipcase and cover with moderate soiling, less on cover proper. Scattered foxing. Plates, though, are clean. 
Price: 600.00 USD
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Letter Signed by Audrey Hepburn, June 18th, 1954
11 Letter Signed by Audrey Hepburn, June 18th, 1954
1954 NA Very Good 
The typed letter is written from the 46th Street Theatre where Hepburn and her future husband, Mel Ferrer, were appearing in "Ondine". In the letter, addressed to a Mr. Sus, Heburn writes" "Thank you very much for your letter of June 14th. I would be very happy to help you to see the play if you will let me know which performance you and your friend would like to come to. Audrey Hepb . . ." The latter part of the last name is dropped, as typical of Hepburn signatures of the period. Hepburn had already made her stunning movie debut in "Roman Holiday". Ahead of her were her many other memorable movies, and thus this is an early autograph of Hepburn. 
Price: 1250.00 USD
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Lilliputian Sisters Lucy & Sara Adams
12 Lilliputian Sisters Lucy & Sara Adams
Portland, Oregon 1906 Brochure. Wraps Very Good 
Illustrated promotional brochure for diminutive sister act, "the most interesting and cleanest program we have ever seen", consisting of recital, song, cantata and tableaux. 8vo. 18 by 13.5 cm. 4 pp., folded sheet. The event being promoted is at Association Hall, Vineyard Haven, on Martha's Vineyard. Photos include image of one sister blowing a horn while airbourne, and the sisters performing together in different costumes. One sister was supposedly 46 inches, the other, 49. The sisters were performing professionally from about 1880 into the early 20th century with the General Tom Thumb Company, Barnum & Bailey's Circus and the Liliputian Opera Company. They hailed from Martha's Vineyard originally, and they were supposedly direct descendants of patriot Samuel Adams and collateral relatives of John and John Quincy Adams. The last page is given to testimonials and press notices. Scarce, with only a single copy located on OCLC First Search at UC Santa Barbara. Light wear. 
Price: 165.00 USD
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Münchener Taschen-Kalender auf das Jahr 1846
13 Münchener Taschen-Kalender auf das Jahr 1846
Munich Verlag von G. Franz 1845 First Edition Blindstamped leather (calf) Very Good 
Near miniature, 9 by 6.5 cm. 64 pp. Six hand-colored plates of characters from the comic opera "Sirene", which is excerpted in this almanac and accounts for the first 58 pages of it. "La Sirene", which premiered in Paris in 1844, was composed by Daniel François Esprit Auber (1782-1871), with a libretto by Eugene Scribe (1791-1861). In the convoluted plot of the opera, three travelers are lured by the singing of La Sirene, Zerlina, only to be ambushed by the Siren's bandit brother disguised as an innkeeper, Scopetto The Siren then falls for one of the travelers, the naval ensign, Scipio. Meanwhile, the bandits plan to smuggle their plunder from the travelers' ship across a ducal estate. In the end, it comes out that Scipio is the rightful duke and Scopetto is his cousin. The last six pages of the almanac are given over to tables on interest and currency calculations. Light wear to the leather case, with miniscule loss to spine head. 
Price: 450.00 USD
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Noticias biograficas de la enana alemana Doña Elena Briggs, la muger mas chiquita del mundo
14 Noticias biograficas de la enana alemana Doña Elena Briggs, la muger mas chiquita del mundo
Havana 1857 Wraps Good 
8vo. 32 pp. The biography of Ellen Suter Briggs, which the booklet asserts was the smallest woman in the world. Briggs was born in Germany in 1821 and immigrated with her father to Ohio in 1830, soon afterward embarking on a career as a touring circus attraction. The Spanish language pamphlet describes her friendship with Major Stevens and Tom Thumb and concludes with several pages of translated press notices from American newspapers. The curious thing about Briggs is that we have been unable to find any record of her career in English or other sources. The pamphlet is manifestly scarce, with no copies turning up on OCLC, Palau or other references. With an inserted photograph of Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton) and his wife Lavinia Warren Stratton. Lacking front wrapper, with rear worn. Soiling to the title page. Moderate dampstaining. The bottom corner, final leaf, cut out, with slight loss of text. 
Price: 2500.00 USD
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15 Opportunity Hour for Amateurs. The New Party Game with a Thousand Laughs.
New York American Toy Works (Atwo Product) 1937 First Edition NA Very Good 
Colorful, fun spoof on amateur showbiz! An uncut game sheet on linen-like paper measuring oblong, 46 by 55 cm (18 by 22 inches). Depicted on a theater stage are a juvenile crooner, a banjo-playing cowboy, two svelte girl singers, a burlesque comedian, a performer in black face and a slick announcer. The playing pieces, shaped like microphones, are to be cut out from the top of the page, with directions at the base. Included is the original envelope, which measures 23.5 by 29 cm. The characters are send-ups of theater types of the day, but one can not say that any of the characters are specific caricatures of say, Jolson or Frank Fay. Scarce, with no copies found elsewhere. Light wear. 
Price: 500.00 USD
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Painting, over a photograph, of Nineteenth Century Actresses Ada Rehan and Edith Kingdon
16 Painting, over a photograph, of Nineteenth Century Actresses Ada Rehan and Edith Kingdon
NA Very Good 
Unusual medium of paint over photograph, depicting two major dramatic actresses of the period sitting at tea. What is shown might be from a stage performance, or it might simply be a picture of these two celebrities socializing as themselves. Both women were a part of the Augustine Daly company. Ada Rehan (1859-1916) was born in Ireland as Delia Crehan. She became one of the leading Shakepearian heroine of her day, and she had many successes in other roles, both classic and contemporary. Edith Kingdon (1864-1921) retired from acting when she married George Gould, the son of Robber Baron Jay Gould. Pictorial part of work measures 12 by 16.5 cm. 
Price: 175.00 USD
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17 Schadumbeelden Jan Klaassen Spel
Very Good 
N.d., circa 1900. This shadow theater is of relatively uncommon Dutch origin. The way shadow theater works is a light is cast onto a screen or scrim, behind which figures are moved and seen by the audience as shadows. The pieces in the case of this theater are moved from below so that the audience doesn't see the intrusion of a human arm, etc. The stage for this set is brightly colored and somewhat naive in its detailing. The figures are cut on card. The stage itself has some light foxing. The figures are all in good repair although it is unknown how complete the set is. 
Price: 600.00 USD
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18 Sharpe's British Theatre (13 volumes, the first 13, of 18 issued)
London John Sharpe 1804 First edition Half Morocco. Marbled paper on boards. Very Good 
Miniature, or near miniature, 11 by 6.5 cm. Plays include Arthur Murphy's "The Grecian Daughter", "All in the Wrong", T. Southern's "Isabella", Goldsmith's "She Stoops to Conquer", Henry Brooke's "Gustavus Vasa", Arthur Murphy's "The Way to Keep Him", Thomas Otway's "Venice Preserved", Colman and Garrick's "The Clandestine Marriage", Thomas Otway's "The Orphan", Congreve's "Love for Love", Ambrose Philips' "The Distrest Mother", George Farquhar's "The Beaux Strategem", and Dr. Brown's "Barbarossa". While this is not the full set, it is the first 13 volumes of the set, and they are so numbered. Some rubbing to the leather, but overall, an attractive, if incomplete, set. 
Price: 300.00 USD
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Short inscribed note from Actress Julie Harris (1925-2013)
19 Short inscribed note from Actress Julie Harris (1925-2013)
NA Very Good 
N.d., circa early 1950s. The note says: "To Jana My Best always. Julie Harris." Jana was Jana Vasatova, who was, we believe, a Czech emigre who first resettled to London, then New York, and the note was found in a friendship album she was keeping around 1950. Julie Harris was arguably the leading dramatic actress of the Broadway stage of her generation, having won the Tony Award five times, including for "The Last of Mrs. Lincoln", "The Belle of Amherst", and "Forty Carats". While remembered primarily for her stage work, she also made a number of notable appearances in the screen, including her recreation of her first major stage role (and Tony award) in "The Member of the Wedding", "The Haunting" and her co-starring with James Dean in "East of Eden", and on television she was a part of the cast of "Knot's Landing". 
Price: 175.00 USD
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Tabarin Album Souvenir Tabarin presente le plus Parisien des Spectacles "Reflets"
20 Tabarin Album Souvenir Tabarin presente le plus Parisien des Spectacles "Reflets"
Paris First Edition Presumed Near Fine 
Racy souvenir from an erstwhile rival of the Moulin Rouge in Montmartre. N.d., circa 1950. Unpaginated, 28 pp., plus wraps, which have a suede or felt surface. 10.5 by 8 inches, 27 by 21 cm. The nightclub opened in 1904 and continued in business until 1953 when it was bought and closed by Moulin Rouge. The club was known for its elaborate thematic floor shows, which mixed ballet, cheesecake and spectacular costumes designed by the likes of Erte. A new show was presented each year. After the club closed, it served as the basis of a 1958 movie entitled "Tabarin". The album features color illustrations, all done with a fluid, loose hand, and black and white photographs, which are set amid monochrome sketch work that captures the theatrical flavor of Tabarin. Also six pages of evocative ads, some of which are in keeping in spirit with the rest of the album in their artwork, etc. From the photos one is easily transported back to the pageantry and risque panache of the show. The pages are clean. The suede wraps have light soiling. Minor abrading by staples on spine. 
Price: 125.00 USD
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