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Phillip Graneto Broadway Theater Collection

Dixey, Henry E., 1859-1943  Search this
Jefferson, Joseph, 1829-1905  Search this
Graneto, Phillip  Search this
1.1 Cubic feet (3 boxes, 1 folder)
Collection descriptions
Archival materials
Theater programs
A collection of late 19th and early 20th century theatre programs and theatre ephemera from Broadway and Off-Broadway Theatres in New York, New York.
Content Description:
A collection of late 19th and early 20th century Broadway and Off-Broadway (New York, New York) theatre programs and related ephemera collected by Phillip A. Graneto and assembled by Graneto for a prospective book project that was not completed. The cover of the programs are predominately in color. The inventory sheets in Series 4 contain Graneto's notes on each theatre represented. The ephemera consists of material on Henry E. Dixey, well-known actor in the late 19th early 20th century, broadsides from the Varieties Theatre in New Orleans, Louisiana, and other non-theatrical programs perhaps most notably from the 1926 Warner Brothers film production of Don Juan starring John Barrymore, the first motion picture to use the Vitaphone sound on disc recording for synchronized music and sound effects, but not spoken dialogue. There is one piece of sheet music from the play, Balieff's Chauve-Souris.
This collection is arranged into four series.

Series 1: Dixey, Henry E., actor, 1885-1937

Series 2: Varieties Theatre (New Orleans, Louisiana), 1868

Series 3: Oversize Motion Picture and Theater Programs, and Sheet Music, 1924-1929

Series 4: Broadway Theater Programs (New York, New York) 1919-1930, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Phillip A. Graneto is a theatrical designer and illustrator. Originally he collected the bulk of this material with the intention of writing and publishing a book on Broadway and Off Broadway theatres of New York, New York centering on the decade of the 1920s. Graneto began researching and writing, gathering programs from each of the then existing theatres, fleshing out their histories with notes about their productions, changes in names and purpose, and in some cases their ultimate demolition. He collected and assembled the theatre programs into four binders with accompanying notes. Ultimately the proposed book did not come to fruition.

Graneto writes about the 1920s New York theatre scene, "The decade of the 1920s was a period of wild speculation in many areas, and the audience for live theatre in the New York area was enormous. Building theatres seemed like a great way to make lots of money. And then, the bubble burst. When motion pictures learned to talk in 1927 show business moved to Hollywood, and took much of Broadway's glamour with it."

Graneto goes on to write, "The 1920s is a seminal decade in the history of American Entertainment. The names Ziegfeld, Belasco, Cohan, Barrymore, Jolson, Shubert, Brice, and Cantor written in white lights on Broadway's theatre marquees cast a unique spell over 20th century entertainment as it developed from the Stage to Radio, to Film and ultimately to Television. These beautiful little colored booklets are part of that story. These cherished mementos of great performances and special occasions have survived in cedar chests, chifferobes, and bookcases for nearly a hundred years because of the uniqueness of the performers and the plays, but also because the booklets are beautiful."

The programs from the decade of the 1920s, in many ways, represent the colorful, Bohemian, Jazz Age attitude of the United States before the Great Depression of the 1930s and the subsequent entry of the United States into World War II. A time when New York City was the cultural capital of the entire United States.


Letter, Keen, Cathy to Graneto, Phillip, undated (Archives Center control file AC1486) E-mail, Graneto, Phillip to Lintelman, Ryan, 2019 July 21 (Archives Center control file AC1486)
Donated by Phillip Graneto in December 2017 to the Division of Culture and the Arts (now the Division of Cultural and Community Life).
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Theater -- History -- 19th century  Search this
Theater -- 1910-1970  Search this
Theater -- 1920-1940  Search this
Theater programs -- 1880-1910
Theater programs -- 1910-1990
Phillip Graneto Broadway Theater Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.
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Phillip Graneto Broadway Theater Collection
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