Prepared by Edith Serkownek, September 12, 2005
2 record storage boxes, 2 cubic feet, 11th floor
This material was collected and compiled by Special Collections to reflect
a type of genre publishing popular in the early decades of 20th century.
Many of the joke books, magazines, plays and sketches in this collection draw
directly from the popular vaudeville and burlesque theater acts of the day.
Reference to vaudeville are frequently used in the title and promotion of these
publications. As noted in the Library of Congress' American Memory Project,
forms of popular theater such as vaudeville drew "upon themes relevant
to everyday life: immigration, ethnicity, gender roles, urban life, industrialization,
temperance, women's suffrage, technology and social problems." Books dedicated
to the topic of automobiles, "hash house" restaurants and traveling
salesmen may be found in this collection.
Racial and ethnic humor are also common subjects in these publications. Humorous,
but generally negative theatrical depictions of African-Americans can be traced
back to the 19th century development and popularity of minstrel shows in the
U.S. Such shows originally featured white performers dressed in blackface portraying
stock African-American characters. While the original format of the minstrel
show disappeared by the turn-of-the-century, elements of it were transferred
to other forms of popular theater and are reflected in several publications
in the collection. With million of immigrants arriving on American shores in
the late 19th and early 20th century, ethnic humor served as an obvious and
extremely popular topic for writers and performers. I. & M. Ottenheimer
which published many joke books of this type, often in small 4"x5"
formats, sold them through venues such as Woolworth's, "by the carload."
The Joke Books and Humor Publications Collection gives the researcher insight
into the styles and topics of humor of the early 20th century and their popular
This collection consists of joke books, humor magazines, humorous scripts for
plays and sketches, and instructions for light amateur theatrics. Materials
date from 1897-1947 and are arranged by publisher and series. Series are arranged
by the publisher's numeric system. If no numeric system is present, series are
arranged alphabetically by author's last name when present, or title.
Coghlan's Jester No. 2. James J. Coghlan.  [missing
cover and title page]
Coghlan's Jester No. 2. James J. Coghlan. 1922.
Coghlan's Jester No. 3. James J. Coghlan. 1925. [missing cover]
Coghlan's Jester No. 3. James J. Coghlan. 1925.
James J. Coghlan [no identified series]
Coghlan's Comedy Sketches. James J. Coghlan. 1926.
Coghlan's Green Room. James J. Coghlan. 1928.
Coghlan's Professional Monologues. James J. Coghlan. 1927.
Laughs and Chuckles Publishing Co., Laughs and Chuckles
Laughs and Chuckles, vol. 1, no. 10. Laughs and Chuckles
Publishing Company. October 1924.
Laughs and Chuckles, vol. 2, no. 1. Laughs and Chuckles Publishing
Company. February 1925.
Longmans, Green & Co., Longman's Play Series
Cohen, Octavus Roy. Come Seven: A Negro Farce-Comedy in Three
Acts. Longman's Play Series, Players' Prompt Book. Longmans, Green &
Max Stein Pub. House
Comic Readings and Popular Recitations. Max Stein Pub.
House. [no date]
Samuel French Ltd., French's Acting Edition
Charleton Basil, Elton, George and Campion, Cyril. Green Room
Rags. French's Acting Edition. No. 29. Samuel French Ltd. 1925.
Jeans, Ronald. "One Dam' Sketch After Another". French's
Acting Edition. No. 843. Samuel French Ltd. 1928.
Jeans, Ronald. Charlot Revue Sketches. French's Acting Edition. No.
1049. Samuel French Ltd. 1925.
Jeans, Ronald. Vignettes from Vaudeville. French's Acting Edition.
No. 1287. Samuel French Ltd. 1924.
Lester, Alfred. The Scene Shifter's Lament. French's Acting Edition.
No. 2599. Samuel French Ltd. 1921.
Samuel French, Inc., French's Musical Library
George, Charles. Rosalie Runs Riot: A Musical Comedy. French's
Musical Library. Samuel French, Inc. 1932.
Kusell, Daniel. The Gingham Girl: A Musical Comedy in Three Acts. French's
Musical Library. Samuel French, Inc. 1922
Samuel French, French's Standard Library Edition
DuSouchet, H.A. The Man from Mexico: A Farcical Comedy in
Three Acts. French's Standard Library Edition. Samuel French. 1897.
Hughes, Rupert. Excuse Me: A Farce-Comedy in Three Acts. French's
Standard Library Edition. Samuel French. 1934.
MacHugh, Augustin. Officer 666: A Melodramatic Farce in Three Acts. French's
Standard Library Edition. Samuel French. 1917.
Samuel French [no identified series]
Eldridge, Press. How to Get Up a Minstrel Show. Samuel
Levis, Marjorie Rice. Revue Sketches. Samuel French. 1931.
Kaufman, George S. The Still Alarm: A Play In One Act. Samuel French.
Miller, Norman H., compiler. Turns Without Encores: Modern Blackouts.
Samuel French. 1935.
The Sharlee Company
Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The Sharlee Company. [no
Shrewesbury Publishing Co., The Shrewesbury Series
of Popular Enterainment Books
Case, Carleton B. Ford Smiles: All the Best Current Jokes
About a Rattling Good Car. The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment
Books. Shrewesbury Publishing Co. 1917.
Case, Carleton B. Some Irish Smiles: A Collection of Real Irish Jokes.
The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury Publishing
Case, Carleton B. The Sunny Side of Life: Current Humor Gathered from
Many Sources. The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury
Publishing Co. 1916.
Case, Carleton B., compiler. Vaudeville Wit: Latest Crossfire Conversations,
Gags, Repartee, Retorts and Monologues from the American Vaudeville Stage.
The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury Publishing
Standard Cigar Co.
100 More Major Moments. Standard Cigar Co. [no date]
True, The Man's Magazine
Gags for Guys: A Bonus Boolet of Belly Boffs. True, The
Man's Magazine. [no date]
T. S. Denison & Company, Denison's Comedy Sketches
Jones, Ellis O. Troubles of a Hotel Clerk: A Vaudeville Sketch.
Denison's Comedy Sketches. T. S. Denison & Company. 1929.
T. S. Denison & Company, Denison's Musical Comedies
Johnson, Frederick G. The Footlight Revue: A Colorful Contrivance
in Five Flashes. Denison's Musical Comedies and Revues. T. S. Denison
& Company. 1922.
Johnson, Frederick G. The Fun Revue: A Musical Grouch Cure in Five Treatments.
Denison's Musical Comedies and Revues. T. S. Denison & Company. 1921.
Johnson, Larry E. The Hurry-Up Bride: A One-Act Musical Comedy. Denison's
Musical Comedies and Revues. T. S. Denison & Company. 1923.
T. S. Denison & Company, Minstrel First Parts
Lawrence, John E. Denison's Ladies Minstrel First Part: A
Complete Routine for the Circle. Minstrel First Parts. T. S. Denison &
T. S. Denison & Company [no identified series]
Hacker, Fred A. and Eames Prescott W. How to Put On an Amateur
Circus. T. S. Denison & Company. 1923.
Kaser, Arthur LeRoy. Talking Acts for Two: A Book of Sketches for Two
Players. T. S. Denison & Company. 1927.
Walter H. Baker & Co./Walter H. Baker Company
Beach, Lewis. Let's Get Married: A Farce-Comedy in Three Acts.
Walter H. Baker & Co. 1916.
Kaser, Arthur LeRoy. The Burnt Cork Entertainer: Blackface Sketches and
Monologues for the Amateur or Professional Stage. Walter H. Baker Company.
Morley, Ward. Domestic Dialogues: A Group of Seventeen Mr. and Mrs. Sketches.
Walter H. Baker Company. 1930.
Newton, Harry L. Vaudevillainies: A Series of "Acts" Against
the Public Peace and Decorum. Walter H. Baker & Co. 1915.
Wm. McNally, McNally's Bulletin
McNally's Bulletin. Wm. McNally. [no date] [missing cover
and title page]
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