Resources: BOOKS

New Books—Vaudeville Classics—Black Vaudeville—Comedy—Dance—Song & Dance—Juggling—Magic—Puppetry/Ventriloquism—Impersonation—Specialty Acts—Burlesque—Cabaret—Biographies/Memoirs

All books listed are recommended.  The absence of any book, however, does not imply a negative opinion on our part. Web-site space and availability of books limit options.


Authors, publishers and publicists may send appropriate new books to American Vaudeville Museum, PO Box 519, Edgewood, NM 87015-0519 for our consideration. We shall provide capsule reviews for those books we believe our readers will find enjoyable and useful. Selection subject to the constraints of time and other commitments. (Titles will be added quarterly.)

The Papers of Will Rogers (three volumes), edited by Arthur Frank Wertheim & others (University of Oklahoma, volume I: The Early Years, 1997, ISBN: # 0806127457; volume II: Wild West and Vaudeville, 2000, ISBN: 0806132671; volume III: From Vaudeville to Broadway, 2001, ISBN: 0806133155. This is a masterpiece of research and selection by Mr. Wertheim and his co-editors, and presents what is likely to remain the definitive profile of Will Rogers as a person and performer, with much of it in his own words.

Fred Stone: Circus Performer and Musical Comedy Star by Armond Fields (292 pp, 2002, McFarland & Co., Jefferson, NC and London, ISBN #0-7864-1161-9). Any book by Armond Fields is a worthwhile read, and his career profile of Fred Stone of Montgomery & Stone and Wizard of Oz fame is of the same high quality as his previous biographies under the McFarland imprint: James J. Corbett, Eddie Foy and Lillian Russell. Fred Stone’s career extended from the days of covered wagons to talking movies, and Stone became a beloved American star who excelled as a comedian, acrobat, musical star, character actor and founder of a show biz family.

Dan Rice: the Most Famous Man You Never Heard Of by David Carlyon (485 pp, 2001, Public Affairs/Perseus Books, NYC, ISBN #1-891620-57-6). This is a long-needed biography of a man who was to his mid-Nineteenth Century era what Will Rogers was to the first half of the Twentieth Century or Johnny Carson to its latter half. He focused the public view of events. Once considered a Presidential candidate, Rice nevertheless died in obscurity. His story is the story of the age before and after the War of Insurrection. Well done and required reading for show biz buffs and historians.


THE CLASSICS: Vaudeville in General

There are at least a dozen books about vaudeville that are essential to a good theatre or show biz library. Each has its particular merits. All should be available at reasonable prices at good local bookshops or through Internet book shops, either as used hardcover (or softcover) books or reissues in paperback.


American Vaudeville Museum

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