Thursday, December 9, 2004

Weekly research report (warning: dull redux)

Received a call from Ron at the SFPL, who telephoned to tell me there were problems with some of my just-arrived inter-library loan requests. Four ILL requests arrived today, but three of them were either missing reels or contained the wrong reels. These sorts of mix-ups are not uncommon. And in the case of the requests which were missing reals, the lending institutions offered no explanation.
Sometimes, I request too many reels of microfilm. Every lending library or historical society has a different ILL policy. Some will only lend two reels at a time. Others will lend as many as six or nine reels. I try to keep track of where things come from, who are the likely lenders, and what their policies are so as to make my search as efficient as possible. (I have quite an extensive log detailing my hundreds of requests.) Sometimes, things go wrong. In these instances, I will have to request the missing microfilm at a later date.
Despite these hurdles, I did find a couple of brief reviews and advertisement for The American Venus (1926) in the Cleveland Press and Trenton Times (from Trenton, New Jersey). I also came across this curious February, 1927 advertisement for A Social Celebrity (1926) in the Green Bay Press Gazette. Notice that this second run screening of the Adolph Menjou-Louise Brooks film is part of a bill that includes vaudeville acts as well as Marjah & Co., "The Mental Marvels of India Exponents Yogi Philosophy and Occult Sciences.
The Green Bay Press Gazette turned-out to be a gold mine of all kinds of clipping - including more than two dozen articles, captioned photographs, advertisements and reviews of the two performances Denishawn gave in that Wisconsin city during the two years Brooks was a member of that pioneering dance company. In the week leading up to a performance, this newspaper ran one or two (and sometimes three) items about Denishawn per day. That is remarkable coverage. I even came across this rather sexy front page photograph of Ruth St. Denis, which is titled "Will Do Her Famous Dances For Green Bay Folk Tonight."
In addition to the Green Bay material, I also found a score of Denishawn articles and reviews in the Trenton Times and Cleveland Press, as well as the Waterbury Republican (from Waterbury, Connecticut). It was a good day for Denishawn research!

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