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the business of Broadway in the 1920s and 1930s

(BROADWAY.) HARRIS SAM H. Theater financial ledgers of Sam Harris, renowned Broadway producer

New York, 1924-1934

Folio. 300 pp. ruled ledger, mainly written on rectos only. A number of typed financial statements tipped in. Original reversed leather. Very good condition.

This massive manuscript ledger charts the fortunes of the shows of Sam Harris, the famed Broadway producer and theater owner, from 1924 through 1934.

The ledger provides statements of weekly gross receipts, expenses, and profit or loss for hundreds of Broadway shows, touring productions, and shows in New York, Boston, and Chicago where Harris owned or operated theaters.

Theaters covered include the fabled Music Box Theatre (constructed for Irving Berlin and Sam Harris in 1921), the Sam H. Harris Theatre, and the Cort Theatre. Many of these theaters had long running hits, while others provided an endless cycle of plays and performers. For example, the Bronx Opera House brought in a new show every week, including Harry Houdini in 1926, shortly before his tragic death.

Many of the productions covered here are still familiar including No, No, Nanette, Once in a Lifetime by Kaufman and Hart, The Jazz Singer, the Marx Brothers’ Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, and the Gershwins’ Of Thee I Sing (441 performances at the Music Box).

This manuscript provides an intimate window into the business affairs of a major Broadway producer at the height of his fame.

Provenance: Sam H. Harris.

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