Saturday, January 7, 2023

The Louise Brooks Society, a statement, something to get off my chest

At one of my San Francisco Public Library exhibits
I launched the "Louise Brooks Society" website in 1995. I did so because I had recently "discovered" the actress and was enthused about connecting with others of like-mind, sharing not only information and images but also the small discoveries which came from my ongoing research into Brooks' life and career. For me, the Louise Brooks Society is a labor of love to which I have given a fair amount of my time.

Over the years, a handful of other Louise Brooks websites and fan pages have come and gone. With the launch of Facebook, even more groups have sprung up, including one similarly called the "Louise Brooks Appreciation Society." I figured the more interest in Brooks the better.... I would do my thing, and others could do their thing. Live and let live.... And that's the way it was for a good number of years. I never felt I had "ownership" over Louise Brooks, and never tried to control how others expressed their interest or passion in the actress. "It's all good," as they say. I have, as well, on numerous occasions, supported and promoted other's projects, be it another fan's art, video, article, novel, documentary, or webpage. There was plenty of Louise Brooks to go around.

However, not everyone feels the way I do. The petty internet trolls who have attacked the Louise Brooks Society and its social media accounts are a nuisance who are, in effect, trying to control Louise Brooks. Just today, they had Etsy remove a 25 year-old t-shirt I had for sale by claiming this vintage piece of clothing, lawfully manufactured by a third party decades ago, somehow infringed upon their intellectual property rights. Bull, shit. They have also managed to get the Louise Brooks Society Instagram account suspended, and now, its 5300 followers no longer get their daily dose of our Miss Brooks via the LBS. My apologies to those 5300 Louise Brooks-loving Instagramers, but my appeals have gone nowhere. The same thing happened to the Louise Brooks Society fan page on Facebook, which had gained a similar number of followers and has also disappeared. [For the record, the LBS LinkedIn, Patreon, CafePress, POST and LinkTree accounts have also been attacked on the grounds of alleged infringement of intellectual property.]

Admittedly, these attacks have left me feeling a bit discouraged, but not undaunted. I still have my Louise Brooks Society website and blog, and I still have pride in the fact that the Louise Brooks Society helped bring both the Barry Paris biography and Louise Brooks' own Lulu in Hollywood back into print. I am also proud of the considerable research I have done, of the many articles I have written, the four books I have published, the various events I put on or participated in, the exhibits I curated, the books and documentary films I have helped inspire, and the films I have helped restore. I did all this, and more, for one simple reason -- to bring greater awareness to the life and films of someone I find endlessly fascinating.

One thing that I am proud of is the acknowledgement given me by the estate of Louise Brooks, with whom I have worked on a project (the retrieval of some rare material from an archive). They thanked me for placing that material in their hands, and for all that I had done.

Someone once said, "living well is the best revenge." The Louise Brooks Society will go on. At present I am working on a new book, with another in the works. (To get the latest news from the Louise Brooks Society, please subscribe to this blog or the LBS Twitter account.)

Also, a BIG THANK YOU to those who made a donation to my GoFundMe campaign towards the publication of my forthcoming book about Louise Brooks' first film, The Street of Forgotten Men: From Story to Screen and Beyond. It is full of rare images, including a handful of Louise Brooks. Find out more HERE.

The Louise Brooks Society is a pioneering silent film website. And, I think it has made its mark. Not more than a few years after I started the site, I met the much loved film critic Roger Ebert, who told me he had used the LBS to research the actress and her films. I was thrilled. I also felt I was doing something right.

A few years after that, Ebert tweeted about an article I had written for the Huffington Post about the 1928 film, Beggars of Life. In his tweet, Ebert encouraged Kino Lorber to release the film on DVD, and they did, a few years later. (You can hear my audio commentary on the DVD/Blu-Ray!)

Others, like Louise Brooks fan (and 8th Doctor Who) Paul McGann have praised my website, as have others both in and outside the world of silent film and film history. What follows is some of the press and praise the site has received in magazines and newspapers from around the world. This first clipping shown here, from May 23, 1996, came as a big surprise. It also reveals the ugly old URL of the site before I secured (Otherwise, here is the earliest Wayback Machine capture of the site at, from April 11, 1997.) If you are out there Sam Vincent Meddis, "thank you."



Meddis, Sam Vincent. "Net: New and notable." USA Today, May 23, 1996.
-- "Silent-film buffs can get a taste of how a fan club from yesteryear plays on the Web. The Louise Brooks Society site includes interview, trivia and photos. It also draws an international audience."

Silberman, Steve. "Fan Site Sparks Biopic." Wired News, April 10, 1998.
-- "The Louise Brooks Society is an exemplary fan site."

Evenson, Laura. "Lovely Lulu Lives Again." San Francisco Chronicle, May 3, 1998.
-- "Hugh Munro Neely, director of "Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu," credits Gladysz's site with helping to sell the idea for the documentary." (alternative archive link)

Garner, Jack. "Movie buffs can find trivia, reviews online." Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, September 12, 2000.
-- "A fine example of a fan page, a thoughtful, artful site devoted to the life and times of a fabled silent movie legend." 

Anderson, Jeffrey M. "Thirteen great film sites." San Francisco Examiner, November 29, 2001.
-- "This San Francisco-run site pays tribute to one of the greatest and most under-appreciated stars of all time."

Pattenden, Mike. "An era of glamour." London Sunday Times, April 27, 2003.
-- "With her sculpted dark bob and rebellious lifestyle, Louise Brooks was perhaps the ultimate flapper icon. A screen star to rank with Bacall and Hepburn, Brooks' career straddled the silent era and early talkies. She bucked the system to make movies in Europe, notably Pandora's Box, which lends its name to, dedicated to her remarkable life and including some of her more risque poses - a reminder that the 1920s were as much about sex and style as any era since."

Maltin, Leonard. "Links We Like: Louise Brooks Society." Leonard Maltin's Movie Crazy, August 1, 2005.
-- "Not many sites of any kind can claim to be celebrating a tenth anniversary online, but that’s true of the Louise Brooks Society, devoted to the life and times of the magnetic silent-film star and latter-day memoirist. Thomas Gladysz has assembled a formidable amount of material on the actress and her era; there’s not only a lot to read and enjoy, but there’s a gift shop and even a 'Radio Lulu' function that allows you to listen to music of the 1920s. Wow!"

Matheson, Whitney. "Happy birthday, Louise!" USA Today, November 14, 2006.
-- "My favorite Louise Brooks site belongs to the Louise Brooks Society, a devoted group of fans that even keeps a blog." 

SiouxWire. "Interview: THOMAS GLADYSZ, founder of the LOUISE BROOKS Society." SiouxWire, April 5, 2007.
Garner, Jack. "Get hard-to-find films on custom DVD's." Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, September 10, 2010.
-- "But it's not everyday that a 1929 film generates a reissue of a book, yet that's the case with Margarete Bohme's The Diary of a Lost Girl, which was originally published in 1905. The surprising reissue in 2010 is the brainchild of Thomas Gladysz, a San Francisco journalist and director of the Louise Brooks Society."  

Blackburn, Gavin. "Forgotten book by Margarete Boehme to be revived in US." Deutsche Welle, November 3, 2010.

LaSalle, Mick. "Diary of a Lost Girl to be screened at main library." San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2010.

Toole, Michael T. "Reopening Pandora’s Box in San Francisco." Film International, August 22, 2012.

Marcus, Greil. "Where the Song Leaves You." BarnesandNobleReview, January 19, 2015.
-- a 2012 LBS blog about Bruce Conner and Louise Brooks is singled out by the well known critic 

Brady, Tara. "Louise Brooks: ‘I was always late, but just too damn stunning for them to fire me’." Irish Times, June 2, 2018.
-- "She has super-fans. An online tribute site, the Louise Brooks Society, contains an extraordinary day-by-day chronology of her life."

(Above) With Louise Brooks biographer Barry Paris in the year 2000. The publisher was appreciative of my efforts in helping bring the acclaimed biography back into print, so-much-so they arranged for an exclusive event at the San Francisco bookstore where I once worked, flying Barry Paris from his home in Pennsylvania to the West Coast. The book has remained in print ever since, and, I am told, it was among the publisher's best selling back-list titles for a few years running. Pictured below, my copy of an original edition of the biography, which reads, "For Thomas - who resurrected me & LB, the way Tynan did in the New Yorker!"

This blog is a middle finger to the internet trolls trying to damage the Louise Brooks Society. The Louise Brooks Society™ blog is authored by Thomas Gladysz, Director of the Louise Brooks Society ( Original contents copyright © 2023. Further unauthorized use prohibited.


  1. Will the LBS Facebook page return or has it gone for good?

    1. I have appealed a few times, and never heard back. So who knows. The fan page is likely gone, though the Facebook announcement page at is still around for now. (It had been taken down twice. I appealed twice, and it was restored twice. Feels like harassment to me.)

    2. I'm confused. Aren't most things related to Louise Brooks in the public domain?

  2. Thank you for all your hard work over the years on the LBS. I have found it extremely useful as an avid collector of all her available films and books. I was fortunate enough to purchase an original copy of Barry Paris's book many years ago which actually started me on this journey. Keep up the good work.
    Dave Jenner UK

  3. Wow, Thomas, I am so sorry to read about all that has been going on, and I'm frankly baffled. Some people really need to put their time and effort toward accomplishing something constructive and worthwhile. I hate that you have been going through this, but I'm glad to read that you are keeping the faith and forging ahead. I salute all that you've done and continue to do. Also, as one of Roger Ebert's biggest fans, I must say that I'm pea-green with envy about the tweet and the photo. So awesome! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks Karen. Roger was always very nice to me. I think he liked Louise Brooks too.

  4. Thanks to everyone for their supportive comments. The actions taken against the Louise Brooks Society are a nuisance. TODAY, my LinkTree account was "removed due to inappropriate use of this service" because Vintage Brooks filed a complaint. What did I do "wrong"? I linked to my own website.

    I don't plan to speak much more about it, and would rather work on my research, website, books and blog, etc.... However, there is a kind of silver lining to this dark cloud, in that these repeated false claims of intellectual property infringement show a clear pattern of harassment. I have documented each such attack across various websites, and the damage done to my web presence. Notably, there is an interesting clause in trademark law. It reads "Any person who shall procure registration in the Patent and Trademark Office of a mark by a false or fraudulent declaration or representation, oral or in writing, or by any false means, shall be liable in a civil action by any person injured thereby for any damages sustained in consequence thereof."


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