The bibliographies housed on the Louise Brooks Society website have been compiled by Thomas Gladysz, Director of the LBS. They are one of the organization’s most valuable assets, and are the product of thousands of hours of research, as well as considerable expense.
These bibliographies are the result of pouring over periodical indexes and film reference works, picking through books and magazine, scrolling through microfilm in libraries both near and far, and scouring and sometimes subscribing to online databases and digital archives. As well, I have purchased a number of scarce books, acquired a few roles of microfilm, and visited more than three dozen libraries scattered across California and the United States, as well as the Cinémathèque Francaise in Paris. All this has been done in an attempt to document “all things Brooksie.”
It is the intention of these bibliographies to cite all significant written material about Louise Brooks. Along with articles and books about the actress, these bibliographies also cite significant material not mentioning Brooks relating to her life, stage appearances, and films. The majority of searched material dates from the 1920s and 1930s.
The “search pattern” followed in pursuit of material began with the places most important to Brooks’ story — Kansas, New York City, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Chicago, and Rochester, New York. I have also tracked Brooks’ dance and stage appearances, and gathered any and all relevant material. Additionally, I have also surveyed key newspapers from the two-dozen largest American cities of the 1920s, and hoping to represent the perspective of every state and region, I looked at newspapers from a few dozen other key urban areas. Brooks’ fame crossed borders, and so did my research. As I was able, I search through periodicals from Canada and Latin America, Europe, Russia, Asia, Australia and parts of the Pacific Rim, and South Africa.
Based in San Francisco, the LBS has depended a great deal on it’s local library, the San Francisco Public Library. Though not a research library, its has proved itself an excellent resource. I have systematically gone though the library’s film, history and reference sections, various periodicals on microfilm, and special collections. Just as importantly, through the library I have also placed hundreds of inter-library loan requests.
The bibliographies would not have been possible without the help of others. Special thanks to the San Francisco Public Library – especially Ron Romano and the staff of the SFPL inter-library loan department. Through the ILL program, I was able to borrow microfilm (and in some cases, bound copies) of otherwise hard-to-obtain vintage newspapers, magazines and books. I placed my first ILL request in 2001, and have been hooked on research ever since. The following institutions have been especially generous in loaning material: the Library of Congress, Kansas State Historical Society, New York State Library, State Library of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin Historical Society, Minnesota Historical Society, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (formerly the Illinois State Historical Library), State Library of Louisiana, Indiana State Library, and the National Library of Canada. Dozens of other university libraries, historical societies, and public libraries also loaned microfilm.** My thanks to each of these institutions, especially the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research, and the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.
I have, as opportunity has allowed, visited a number of libraries and archives around the country. Perhaps the most valuable source of citations gathered in-person were from the New York Public Library and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (at Lincoln Center), each of which I visited on a few occasions. I also visited the Museum of the City of New York, and the George Eastman House and Rochester Public Library in Rochester, New York. I spent two days at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. In Illinois, I visited the Chicago Public Library, as well as the impressive library at the University of Chicago. In Ohio, I spent a couple of days at the Ohio Historical Society, Columbus Metropolitan Library, and Ohio State University. And in Michigan, I scoured the Library of Michigan (in Lansing), the special collections at Michigan State University (in East Lansing), the University of Michigan Library (in Ann Arbor), as well as the Detroit Public Library and suburban Royal Oak Public Library. My thanks to the helpful staff at each of these institutions, some of whom took time to aid me in my research.
California is home to Hollywood, as well as many excellent libraries and archives. In southern California, I have made four trips apiece to the Los Angeles Public Library and the resource rich Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Each yielded dozens of citations. Dan Strehl, senior librarian at the Hollywood Branch Public Library, was helpful in my visit to that special branch library. I also spent a day at the libraries at UCLA and the USC (University of Southern California — my thanks to the very helpful Ned Comstock). Each of these institutions also loaned microfilm and books on a number of occasions.
I made more than a dozen trips to the California State Library in Sacramento in order to explore its considerable collection of California newspapers on microfilm. I also visited the Sacramento Public Library and library at the University of California, Davis. Elsewhere in northern California, I paid multiple visits to the area’s university libraries — including those at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley — as well as those at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, Sonoma State University, and California State University – East Bay. Each held a piece to the puzzle.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, I have made a point to visit just about every public library which held any publication of interest. Local and regional publications often reveal surprising material. Thus, I visited the public libraries in Oakland, Berkeley and San Jose, as well as those in Petaluma, Palo Alto, Sausalito, and elsewhere. Other institutions at which I spent time include the Performing Arts Library and Museum in San Francisco, and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Thanks to Nancy Goldman, head of the PFA, who was gracious and helpful during my visits. Material found at each of these institutions made important contributions to the bibliographies.
When I haven’t been able to borrow material or visit a library or archive, I have turned to letters and emails in an attempt to track down elusive citations. My sincere thanks to more than a dozen out-of-state librarians, proxy researchers, and genealogists who answered my correspondence and assisted with my research.
Acknowledgement must go to Barry Paris, whose pioneering efforts sowed the seeds of this work. Gianluca Chiovelli of Italy generously provided numerous European references. Amanda Howard of Wichita hunted down articles from various Kansas newspapers. Tector Gripengren, a Swedish fan, sent a number of rare clippings — some of which were found in the national film archive of Sweden. Jean-Louis Cocriamont of Belgium, Fabrice Vaillant of France, and Meredith Lawrence of England also provided citations and articles. Members of the LBS and other Louise Brooks fans in from around the world likewise provided citations, or better yet, copies of both vintage and contemporary articles. My sincere thanks to each of these contributors. My gratitude also to Christy Pascoe, who has helped with the search on a number of occasions.
Your help is needed. More material can still be found. If you would like to contribute to this bibliographic project and help find newspaper and magazine articles, please follow this link.
* Among the many other lending institutions were the State Historical Society of Missouri, State Historical Society of Iowa, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Nebraska State Historical Society, Emory University, Eastern Kentucky University, and the University of Illinois, University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, University of Kansas, and University of North Carolina.