Story Bibliography
Pennsylvania Show Business Bibliography
Further Reading

Alger, William R. Life of Edwin Forrest. Ayer Co Pub, 1976.

Bindas, Kenneth J., ed.. America's Musical Pulse, Popular Music in Twentieth-Century Society. Westport: Praeger, 1992.

A collection of essays discussing the relationship between popular music and politics, class, economics, race, gender, and social relationships.

Butko, Brian and Rebecca Shiffer. "Moonbeams and B-Movies: The Rise and Fall of the Drive-In Theater.." Pennsylvania Heritage 20:3 (1994): 16-23.

A brief, illustrated history of drive-in movie theaters in Pennsylvania.

Carlyon, David. Dan Rice: The Most Famous Man You've Never Heard Of . New York: Public Affairs Press, 2001.

David Nichols,, ed.. The Cambridge History of American Music . New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Dye, William S. "Pennsylvania Verses the Theater in the Eighteenth Century." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 55 (July 1931): 352-57.

Eckhardt, Joseph P. The King of Movies: Film Pioneer Siegmund Lubin. Madison/Teaneck/London: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997.

Emerson, Ken. Doo-Dah: Stephen Foster and American Popular Music . New York: De Capo Press, 1998.

Gilbert, Douglas. American Vaudeville: Its Life and Times . New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1940.

An older work, but with multiple references the history of vaudeville in Pennsylvania.

Glazer, Irvin R. Philadelphia Theaters: A Pictorial Architectural History. New York: Athenaeum of Philadelphia; Dover Publications, 1994.

A lavishly illustrated brief history of Philadelphia theaters and motion picture palaces.

Gomery, Douglas. Shared Pleasures: a History of Movie Presentation in the United States. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992.

Greiner, Tyler. A History of Professional Entertainment at the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, Pennsylvania: 1852-1930. Penn State Univ., 1977.

Master's Thesis

Grupenhoff, Richard. The Black Valentino: The Stage and Screen Career of Lorenzo Tucker. New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 1988.

The biography of Philadelphian Lorenzo Tucker, who starred in movies of the pioneering African-American filmmaker Oscar Michaux.

Hardy, Charles. Philadelphia All the Time: Sounds of the Quaker City, 1896-1947. Rydal, PA: Spinning Disc Productions, 1992.

This brief history of the first half century of the American recording industry written from a Philadelphia perspective includes twenty-one recordings from 1896 to 1946.

Hazen, Margaret and Robert Hazen. The Music Men: An Illustrated History of Brass Bands in America, 1800-1920 . Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987.

A terrific, illustrated history of American brass bands, with lots on Pennsylvania, including a chapter on the Harmony Band of Old Economy Village.

Holden, Alfred. "Pennsylvania‘s Musical Publishers: Fueling a Nation’s Fervor." Pennsylvania Heritage 14:3 (1988): 16-23.

Jackson, John A. American Bandstand, Dick Clark and the Making of a Rock ‘n’ Roll Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Lanza, Damon and Bob Dolfi. Be My Love, A Celebration of Mario Lanza . Chicago, Illinois: Bonus Books, Inc., 1999.

LoMonaco, Martha Schmoyer. Every Week a Broadway Review: The Tamiment Playhouse, 1921-1960. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.

A history of Monroe County's Tamiment Playhouse, a famous training ground for comedians, playwrights, and actors, including Neil Simon, Jerome Robbins, Imogene Coca, Danny Kaye, and Woody Allen, which also sent two of its summer stock productions to Broadway.

Moody, Richard. Edwin Forrest, first star of the American stage. New York: Knopf, 1960.

Moy, James S. "Entertainments at John B. Ricketts's Circus, 1793-1800.." Educational Theatre Journal 30 (May 1978): 186-202.

The first detailed history of America's first circus.

Musser, Charles. High-Class Moving Pictures: Lyman H. Howe and the Forgotten Era of Traveling Exhibition, 1880-1920. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.

Musser, Charles. Before the Nickelodeon: Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Nathans, Heather S. "Forging a Powerful Engine: Building Theaters and Elites in Post-Revolutionary Boston and Philadelphia.." Pennsylvania History 66(Supplement) (1999): 113-143.

Looks at the fierce ideological disagreements between the supporters and opponents of "theatrical entertainments" in the early republic, and how attitudes towards show business reflected differing visions of the New Nation.

Oberholtzer, Ellis Paxson. The Morals of the Movie. Philadelphia: The Penn Publishing Co., 1922.

One of the early studies of the impact of the new motion picture industry upon American morals by the first secretary of the Pennsylvania Board of Motion Picture Censors.

Rankin, Hugh F. The Theater in Colonial America.. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960.

This entertaining history places Philadelphia's early theater history into a broader colonial context, and is filled with wonderful detail on early performers, performances, and Pennsylvanians, opposition to and support of the performing arts.

Robinson, David. From Peep Show to Palace: The Birth of American Film. New York: Columbia University Press,, 1996.

Includes history of early nickelodeons in Pennsylvania

Sanjek, Russell, and David Sanjek. Pennies from Heaven, The American Popular Music Business in the Twentieth Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Da Capo Press, 1996 (updated). A comprehensive introduction to the business of American popular music in the twentieth century.

Saylor, Richard C. "Banned in Pennsylvania." Pennsylvania Heritage 25:3 (Summer 1999).

A brief history of the Pennsylvania Board of Motion Picture Censors, which approved, edited, or rejected all films shown in Pennsylvania from 1915 until 1956.

Saylor, Richard C. "Dr. Ellis Paxson Oberholtzer and the Early Years of the Pennsylvania State Board of Censors." Film History 16:2 (2004): 142-162.

A history of the nation's first state censorship board that focuses on its early years of operation.

Stepanian, Laurie Anne. "Harry Davis, Theatrical Entrepreneur, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1893-1927." . Columbia: University of Missouri,, 1988.

To date the only in-depth study of the man often believed to have opened the nation's first nickelodeon. (Ph.D. Dissertation)

Warner Sperling, Cass and others. Hollywood Be Thy Name: The Warner Brothers Story. Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1998.

Wilson, Francis. Joseph Jefferson: Reminiscences of a Fellow Player. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1906.

A delightful biography of Joseph Jefferson, America's favorite comic actor of the late nineteenth century, including entertaining stories about Edwin Forest and traveling across Pennsylvania before the arrival of the railroad.

Web Guide

American Memory, "American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920."

Vaudeville may have disappeared as a popular venue long ago, but it remains alive, through the Library of Congress's holdings, on this site filled with playbills, programs, sound recordings, film clips, scripts, photographs and memorabilia from a once vibrant art.

American Theater History

A collection of books and articles on American theater history selected by Questia librarians, which includes a great deal of material on the history of theater in Pennsylvania

Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia

This website on the history of radio and television broadcasting in Philadelphia includes video and audio clips from early radio and television broadcasts, photographs, biographies, and articles.

Circus Historical Society, "Circus History Library."

Broad range of materials on the history of the circus in America, including biographies, bibliographies, newspaper excerpts, and old journals.


A full-service tribute to the art of silent films, this site features a sweeping timeline, biographies of cinema's pioneers, and easy-to-understand guides to the movies" many early technologies.

Internet Broadway Database

This invaluable resource for looking up all things Broadway provides an easy search system for a wide range of information about virtually every performer, playwright, composer and play to ever light the Great White Way.

James A. Michener Art Museum,

The home page of the James A. Michener Art Museum in New Hope offers marvelously comprehensive links to the many writers, artists and performers who called Bucks County home.

PBS, "Broadway the American Musical"

This PBS website has a broad range of materials, including histories of hit shows, a guide for teachers, and biographies of Pennsylvanians Gene Kelly, Ethel Waters, and others.

Songwriters Hall of Fame

Includes biographies, discographies, photographs, and related materials of early American, Tin Pan Alley, and rock & roll songwriters, plus Pennsylvanians such as Stephen Foster, James Bland, Joe Burke, Jay Livingston, Jim Croce, and others.

The Internet Movie Database

The largest movie database on the web, this comprehensive site offers performers" complete film and TV credits; writer, producer, and director filmographies; and extensive cast and crew lists for virtually every movie ever made. The site includes hundreds of Pennsylvania actors, directors, producers, writers and other people associated with the American motion picture industry.

The Old Corral, "Tom Mix"

An illustrated biography of Tom Mix on a website devoted to the history of B-Movie Westerner.

Back to Top