New York: Broadway Publishing Co., 1912. Limited First autographed edition. Hardcover. Quarto (9 3/4 x 7"). xxii, , 735, pp (Text),  leaves (Advertisements). Original green and gilt-stamped olive cloth, with gold lettering to spine and front cover. Decorative endpapers. Top edge gilt. Illustrated autograph page
numbered (No. 10), inscribed and signed by the author to John E. Warner, whose photographic portrait features on page 650. Tissue guarded frontispiece portrait of Leavitt.
Michael B. Leavitt's captivating memoirs of his fifty years as a theater entrepreneur, manager and producer. In this work, Leavitt claims to have made several innovations in American show business. For example, he credits himself with the introduction of lithographic theater posters to the United States in 1872 after he had brought some back from Europe. By the end of the 1870s, lithographic printing had begun to supplant block printing for theater advertising. Leavitt claims that in the late 1870s, his six to eight touring burlesque companies required $8,000 to $20,000 worth of lithographs posters each season. Another of Leavitt's claims is that he was the first to use "all star" as a billing description. He also claims that in 1880, he was the first to use the term vaudeville to describe a variety show. Historians usually cite Leavitt's greatest innovation as the creation of the first touring burlesque company and of the burlesque style in general.
This work is lavishly illustrated throughout with numerous b/w photographic plates.
Some age wear and rubbing along edges. Spine creased. Previous owner's inscription in ink to blank leaf facing the autograph page. Sporadic and minor underlining and annotations in pencil throughout. Binding in overall good-, interior in good to very good condition.
A collection of 25 ephemera pertaining to late 19th-century American theatre, and theatre manager John Warner.
The collection comprises the following:
- An original contract dated October 21, 1880, in which John Warner, manager for N. C. Goodwin, engages theatre actress Miss Daisy Ramsden to play and perform during the season commencing on or about November 15, 1880, and continue until or about June 1881. The actress shall be paid $100 per week, including transportation to and from New York City. Both parties signed the document at bottom.
- A silk covered souvenir program of the opening night at the Lyceum Theatre (New York) dated April 6, 1885.
- A string bound silk covered souvenir program for the first appearances in America of Mr. and Mrs. Kendal, in the three-act comedy "A Scrap of Paper" at the Fifth Avenue Theatre (New York). The program is dated October 7, 1889.
- A four-page "Souvenir of Mr. Ben Johnson's Night, Castle Square Theatre, Thursday, Dec. 6, 1906."
- A 1907 four-page leaflet introducing William H. Crane in the new comedy "Father and the Boys" by George Ade.
- Eight manuscript letters addressed to John Warner from 1882 to 1908, mostly from stage actors, and all related to theatre matters.
Includes four letters from Richard Mansfield (1857-1907), a renown English actor-manager best known for his performances in Shakespeare plays, Gilbert and Sullivan operas, and the play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Also includes a five-page manuscript letter from American opera librettist Randolph Hartley (1870-1931). Randolph was the librettist for the first American opera, "Poia", composed by Arthur Nevin and presented at the Royal Opera House, Berlin in April 1910.
- Two invitation cards: One from a Dame Mansfield inviting John Warner to a soiree at her manor; the second is an invitation to see the play "The Three of Us" at the Metropolitan Opera House, beginning February 6th, 1908.
- The following four booklets feature in this lot:
1) "Mme Rejane" (ca 1892). Illustrated with two b/w photographic portraits, this 12-page booklet introduces the famous French stage actress Madame Rejane to the American public, before her first American tour.
2) "Richard Mansfield, the Man and the Actor," by Paul Wilstach (1908). An 8-page promotional booklet by Charles Scribner's Sons, for the release of this book highlighting the achievements of Richard Mansfield's life and career.
3) "Constitution and By-Laws of The National Association of Theatrical Producing Managers, As Amended June 14th, 1910." 17, pp. Original printed wrappers.
4) "Special Bulletin No. 35: Report of the President upon the Business and Affairs of The National Association of Theatrical Producing Managers For the Second Quarter of the Year 1909-1910, With Copy of the Minutes of the Second Quarterly Meeting" pp. Original printed wrappers.
- Five Civil War documents, all pertaining to John Warner who enlisted in October 3rd, 1863 in the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry.
Includes a list of the 54 recruits for the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry, dated March 30, 1864, in which Warner is listed under the number 54; Warner's discharged certificate dated July 10, 1865; five typed leave relating the accomplishments of the 4th Wisconsin Cavalry during the Civil War, and a map of the Arlington cemetery, with two arrows in pencil indicating the main entrance, and "Will's grave."
- A signed colored etching by Jean Henry depicting the ruins of a church. Etching heavily foxed. g- to vg. Item #46564