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Collection Variety Stage Sound Recordings and Motion Pictures

About this Collection

The 61 motion pictures in the Variety Stage Sound Recordings and Motion Pictures include animal acts, burlesque, dance, comic sketches, dramatic excerpts, dramatic sketches, physical culture acts, and tableaus. The films represented date from copyrights of 1897 to 1920; the majority are drawn from the Library's extensive Paper Print Collection. The remaining films were produced by Hans A. Spanuth in Chicago from 1919 to 1920 for the series "Spanuth's Original Vod-A-Vil Movies." These motion pictures present a rare animated record of vaudeville acts from the turn of the century. Although not actually filmed on a theatrical stage, they sought to recreate the atmosphere of a theater performance by showing the types of vaudeville acts and performers that were popular at the time.

The ten sound recordings were selected from vintage Edison phonograph Diamond Discs released from 1913-1927. These recordings feature comic skits, popular music and songs—including well-known favorites from the Civil War and World War I—and a dramatic monologue.

These selections are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these movies and sound recordings, which may contain content offensive to users.