New York: Meyer Bros. & Co. & The Theatre Magazine Co., 1901-1925. Hardcover. Inscribed by Noel Coward, this is an almost unobtainable run of this high quality magazine, which provides extensive coverage of performers and productions on the New York stage in the early 20th Century. It also gives a window into the cultural landscape, particularly fashion, opera, vaudeville and early motion pictures. Each issue includes superb colored images for front cover portraits of leading players (usually actresses) of the day as well as color back cover ads. It is a photo-rich publication.
This copy inscribed by Noel [Coward] to Thomas Quinn Curtis. It is inscribed on the ffep of Volume 1; "To Tom Curtis for his prenatal Memories. Noel. [Coward?] 73". Thomas Curtiss was the theater critic for the International Herald Tribune and other newspapers, based in Paris for over 50 years. The signature is not identical to earlier Coward signatures, but this would be a late signature, shortly before his death in March 1973. Certainly, the two would have known each other, considering their involvement in the theater and the cultural scene at the time.
OCLC: 5589695 describes the publication as monthly from 1901 to 1917, starting with [Vol. 1], no. 3 (May 1901). OCLC: 558986926 describes the series to 1931. It was first published as "Our Players' Gallery", published in 2 issues as Vol. 1, no. 1 (Oct. 1900)-vol. 2, no. 1 (Jan.-Feb. 1901) as OCLC: 10991846. These are not present in this bound edition, but this copy does include "Our Players' Gallery" Edition de Luxe," published by Meyer Bros. & Co in 1901, 32pp with "Over 100 Portraits of Stage Celebrities." This is NOT located in OCLC, title page loose.) Each volume contains an index, Vol. 1 also indexes the "Our Players' Gallery".
The exquisite front and back covers are works of art. Although listed as "photographs", they are printed on rag paper in 12 colors and more resemble luminous paintings. Some of the artists include Ira S. Hill, Otto Sarony & Arnold Genthe. The advertisements are often for cigarettes and flash cars.
42 volumes, small folio. Numbers 1 & 2 published as "Our Players' Gallery, Edition de Luxe", bound in but loose, at the rear of Volume 1, as called for in the index. The early years contained in one volume with 12 issues of between 16-34pp & b&w covers, progressing to two volumes per year, each with six monthly issues of approximately 34pp and 20pp of adverts with chromolithographed front & back covers and chromolithographed portraits. The covers and sometimes internal pages are printed on rag paper in full color; the interior pages are printed on glossier paper stock in black & white. Uniformly bound in publishers green decorated buckram with art nouveau border on front board. Some spines a little bit browned but boards otherwise clean. Inscription on the front inside board of volume one (inside hinge paper somewhat cracked) otherwise all bindings very firm.
An advertisement for the magazine in Life Magazine in 1907 indicates the tremendous cost of the magazine. It quotes the 1901-02-03-04-05-06-07 volume for $25, $18, $15, $10, $6, $5 & $7 respectively, "A Book for Your Parlor Table, 12 color plates, 1,500 engravings... The Handsomest Magazine Published, The most sumptuously illustrated the most splendidly printed, full of anecdotes, reminiscences and stories of stage-life." (Life, Vol. 50). We have to agree with that description. Very good overall. Item #22271