Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Summer plans

On Friday, I'm heading back to the California State Library in Sacramento (about a two hour drive from where I live). There, I plan to continue my survey of various California newspapers. I am especially looking forward to digging through past issues of the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper from UCLA. When I looked through this paper on my last visit, I found a few student-penned reviews (dating from the 1920's) of Brooks' films! Wow. I hope to find a few more this time. I will also continue my day-by-day look through the Hollywood Citizen News, a "local" newspaper which has proven rich in material relating to Louise Brooks. And as well, I will begin a search for film reviews in the Venice Evening Vanguard, another Los Angeles area newspaper.

This weekend trip to Sacramento is one of three I have mapped out for the Summer. I am also planning as many as six trips across the Bay to Berkeley, where I will once again visit the huge microfilm collection at the University of California. I have made about two or three dozen trips there over the last few years, and have found an amazing assortment of material - articles, reviews and miscellaneous clippings from newspapers, magazines and film journals from around the world. I am anxious to finish my work there as the microfilm room will be closing at the end of August for earthquake retrofitting.

Next week, I am travelling to New York City. It's a work related trip, but I plan on staying an extra three days to do (guess what?) research! I will be spending one full day (from open to close) at theNew York Public Library, where I hope to look through microfilm of various New York and Brooklyn newspapers. This will be my second trip to the NYPL microfilm collection. Earlier, I scoured the various papers for film reviews as well as articles about Brooks' appearances with the George White Scandals and Ziegfeld Follies. Then, I returned home with nearly two inches of photocopies!

This time, I shall again look at the New York City newspapers - such as the Evening MailDaily Mirror, and Morning Telegraph - in search of Denishawn material as well as any articles I might be able to uncover regarding Brooks' 1930's appearances as a ballroom dancer. I will also be looking for articles on the draped nudes scandal of 1925, Brooks' marriage to Eddie Sutherland in 1926, their divorce in 1928, and Brooks' bankruptcy proceedings in 1932. There were some ten different newspapers being published in New York City during the 1920's - and their coverage varied. So, there is lots of microfilm to search through. (Generally speaking, these papers are not available through inter-library loan. They are also not indexed . . . thus, one must go to the libraries or arhives which house them and search through reels and reels of microfilm for any desired material. )

While at the NYPL, I also plan on going through the various Brooklyn newspapers - such as the Brooklyn Daily Times and Brooklyn Citizen - in search of reviews and whatever else I can find. Through inter-library loan, I have surveyed the Brooklyn Daily Eagle and found dates when Brooks' films were reviewed in that paper. The other Brooklyn papers likely reviewed the films at the same time.

Additionally, I will also be looking through various German language newspapers - like the New Yorker Herold Abend Zeitung and New Yorker Staats-Zeitung - which were published in New York City in the 1920's. I have already found articles about Pandora's Box in these German papers from the time it debuted in New York in 1929. This time, I will be searching for film reviews of Brooks' American silent films. And time permitting, I will take a peek at the Russian, Italian and Jewish newspapers. You never know what you might find.

My two other days for research will be spent at Lincoln Center, where the performing arts collections of the NYPL are housed. This library / archive is amazing! And their collection is huge! I have a long list of material I hope to look at - including everything from bound issues of old film magazines to microfilm of 1920's Paramount press books to clipping files on various Brooks' films to actor's scrapbooks to Ruth St. Denis' journals to Denishawn programs. Over the last month, I have been preparing extensive notes on what I hope to look through in order to get through as much material as efficiantly as possible. (This material is generally not available via inter-library loan, so again, one must go to the source.)

Some of the publications I expect to look at include Canadian Moving Picture DigestHollywood Daily Screen WorldGreater Amusements (which billed itself as "America's first and only regional motion picture trade newspaper"), Cine-mundial (a Spanish-language film magazine published in New York City), Cinelandia (a Spanish-language film magazine published in Hollywood), Film ProgressThe Film Mercury and other motion picture publications from France, Germany and Italy. I will also take a look at the New York Star, which covered stage acts and vaudeville, in hopes of finding reviews of Brooks' appearances with the Scandals and Follies.

I should be able to get through much of this material. I will take notes, gather citations, and obtain as many photocopies as possible. Some material can't be copied, because of its condition and other restrictions. Nevertheless, if I am as successful in my hunting and gathering as I was last time I visited these two libraries, it should be a good trip. Stay tuned.

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