Louise Brooks
The actress in the late 1920s.

splash  Welcome to the Louise Brooks Society, the largest & most popular website devoted to any silent film star. The Louise Brooks Society (or LBS) is both a “virtual fan club”, as well as an online archive — a place on the information superhighway where individuals can learn about the life and times of this Jazz Age icon.

The Louise Brooks Society was established in 1995 as a gathering place for like-minded individuals from around the world. At last count, the more than 1500 members of the LBS hail from 50 countries on six continents. They include film buffs and movie industry professionals, as well as other interested individuals from all walks of life. To date, more than 3,000,000 visitors have passed through this site. Logs show that individuals have visited the LBS from nearly 100 different countries from across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Pacific. The goal of the LBS is to promote a greater awareness of the life and films of Louise Brooks. It is hoped that those who visit these pages and share an interest in the actress will join in furthering the cause. Please consider signing-up for the mailing list, joining the LBS as a contributing member, or visiting the Help Wanted page.

The Louise Brooks Society was founded by Thomas Gladysz; the website is written, designed and maintained by Gladysz with the assistance of Christy Pascoe. Content original to this site is © Thomas Gladysz / Louise Brooks Society.

MISSION STATEMENT

The Louise Brooks Society is devoted to the appreciation and promotion of the life and films of Louise Brooks. The mission of the society is to honor the actress by stimulating interest in her life, films and writings, as well as her place in 20th century culture; by fostering and coordinating research; by serving as a repository for relevant material; and by advocating for the preservation and restoration of her films and other material.

The purpose of the LBS website is to promote interest in the actress by offering membership in a society; by serving as a focal point for related activities; by disseminating accurate information including scholarly texts and bibliographies; and by offering individuals a variety of materials to aid in their appreciation of the actress. Above all, the LBS encourages the viewing of Brooks’ surviving films, and the fellowship of her admirers.

Future projects include the publication of new material about the actress (in the form of books and e-books), as well as the ongoing development of this website, its blog, and RadioLulu. The LBS also hopes to raise funds toward the restoration and release of an unavailable Brooks’ film, and toward gaining her a star in Hollywood. Other projects are on the drawing board.

SHORT HISTORY OF THE LBS

Since first becoming interested / fascinated / obsessed with Louise Brooks, I have always appreciated meeting others who shared my enthusiasm for this singular silent film star. Early on, I searched for some kind of fan club — but found none. Over time, it occurred to me that I might form a group. The idea of starting the Louise Brooks Society coincided with my growing interest in computing. That was in the mid-1990s. And that’s when I realized there would be no better way of forming a fan club than over the internet. A fan club (in the traditional sense), would be a way to share information and “meet” other like-minded individuals. Thus, enabled by the world wide web and email, the Louise Brooks Society was born.

The Louise Brooks Society website was launched in the summer of 1995. Since then, the LBS has become one of the leading websites devoted to any film star — silent or sound. It has also received considerable media attention. In 1996, USA Today named the LBS a “Hot Site”, noting “Silent-film buffs can get a taste of how a fan club from yesteryear plays on the Web.The Louise Brooks Society site includes interviews, trivia and photos. It also draws an international audience.” Early on, the LBS was also mentioned in the San Francisco Chronicle, a Canadian ‘zine, Stained Pages, and an Australian newspaper, the Melbourne Age. The first feature about the LBS, “Fan Site Sparks Biopic,” appeared on the Wired magazine website in 1998. In 2000, Jack Garner of the Gannett News Service wrote an article, “All you want to know about movies, online”, in which he stated the Louise Brooks Society is “A fine example of a fan page, a thoughtful, artful site devoted to the life and times of a fabled silent movie legend.” That sentiment was echoed in 2002 in the Stuttgarter Zeitung, a German newspaper, which called the LBS an “vorbildlichen” (“exemplary”) website. Over the years, the site has also been written up in the London Times and New York Times.

The LBS has also been praised by Leonard Maltin on his Movie Crazy website, and by the late Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize winning film critic. Before his passing, Ebert told the LBS that used of the site while researching Pandora’s Box. The LBS was also pleased to receive email from various relatives of Brooks. They told the LBS they enjoyed surfing the website, and had learned much about their famous relation.

What is also pretty cool is that the LBS has been made suggested on-line reading for History 113, “Women and the American Experience,” a class taught at Assumption College in Massachusetts. Other classes at the junior high, high school, and college level have also made pages on the site suggested or required reading.

LBS HIGHLIGHTS

Here are highlights from the 20-plus year history of the Louise Brooks Society.

LBS Website: Launched in 1995, the LBS is a pioneering website that has proven itself the most comprehensive, popular and long-lasting site devoted to any silent film star. For its efforts, the LBS has received media attention in newspapers and magazines published around the world. In 2015, the LBS was singled out in Wild Bill Wellman: Hollywood Rebel, a biography of the celebrated director. An educational resource, the 200+ page website has drawn not only fans but teachers and students from across the United States.

Internet Presence: The long running LBS blog was started in June, 2002. It currently has more than 2300 posts and hundreds of readers and subscribers. Also adjunct to the website is RadioLulu, a silent film-themed online station streaming music of the 1920s, 1930s, and today. The station features some 430 tracks and nearly 24 hours of continuous programming. RadioLulu was launched in 2002, and has been rated a “favorite” more than 3000 times.

Advocacy: In 1998, inspired by the popularity of the LBS website, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) commissioned the Emmy nominated documentary
Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu. The part played by the LBS in bringing the documentary to television was acknowledged in the media by a TCM spokesman and the director of the documentary. Additionally, in 2000, following a grass-roots campaign, the LBS helped bring both the Barry Paris biography as well as the actress’ Lulu in Hollywood back into print through the University of Minnesota Press. The LBS is acknowledged in each edition.

Scholarship: The wealth of information found on the LBS is one of its primary achievements. Much of it, including the annotated filmography and extensive bibliographies, are the result of thousands of hours of research. As a result, the LBS has been cited in a number of books including Geheimnisvolle Tiefe G.W. Pabst (Austrian Film Archive, 1998), German Expressionist Films (Pocket Essentials, 2002), Photoplay Editions (McFarland, 2002), and Sirens & Sinners: A Visual History of Weimar Film 1918-1933 (Thames & Hudson, 2013).

Publications: In 2010, the LBS published the “Louise Brooks edition” of Margarete Bohme’s bestselling book which served as the basis for the film. Notably, it was the book’s first English-language publication in more than 100 years. Additionally, as the Director of the LBS, Thomas Gladysz has contributed material to reference works, written numerous online articles, and provided linear notes and audio commentary to a forthcoming DVD release.

Exhibits: In 2005, 2010, and 2011 the LBS mounted significant Louise Brooks and silent film-related exhibits at the San Francisco Public Library. Each was accompanied by a well attended public program which featured a lecture or presentation.

Events: Over the years, the LBS has co-sponsored a handful of events, including talks with author Barry Paris in 2000 and film historian Peter Cowie (Louise Brooks: Lulu Forever) in 2006. These events took place at various theaters and bookstores in the San Francisco Bay Area. The LBS has also co-sponsored or assisted with a handful of screenings. As the Director of the LBS, Thomas Gladysz has introduced Brooks’ films at the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Detroit Institute of Arts, and Action Cinema in Paris, France. He has also written program notes for Brooks’ films shown at festivals around the United States.

Promotion: Through its oft visited website, long-running blog, and active social media accounts, the LBS has promoted related books, DVD’s, articles, exhibits and events held all around the world.

The enthusiasm and generosity of Brooks’ many fans have contributed to the growth of this website. Individuals from around the globe have shared rare material. Others have performed research, translated articles, visited libraries and archives, or sent images and interesting information. The LBS acknowledges their efforts, and appreciates the emails and letters others have sent from across the United States and the world. Judging by these fans, Louise Brooks is truly an international star! Thank you one and all for your interest in Louise Brooks and the Louise Brooks Society.