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Joke Books and Humor Publications, 1897-1947

Finding Aid

Prepared by Edith Serkownek, September 12, 2005
2 record storage boxes, 2 cubic feet, 11th floor


Historical Note

This material was collected and compiled by Special Collections to reflect a type of genre publishing popular in the early decades of 20th century.

Many of the joke books, magazines, plays and sketches in this collection draw directly from the popular vaudeville and burlesque theater acts of the day. Reference to vaudeville are frequently used in the title and promotion of these publications. As noted in the Library of Congress' American Memory Project, forms of popular theater such as vaudeville drew "upon themes relevant to everyday life: immigration, ethnicity, gender roles, urban life, industrialization, temperance, women's suffrage, technology and social problems." Books dedicated to the topic of automobiles, "hash house" restaurants and traveling salesmen may be found in this collection.

Racial and ethnic humor are also common subjects in these publications. Humorous, but generally negative theatrical depictions of African-Americans can be traced back to the 19th century development and popularity of minstrel shows in the U.S. Such shows originally featured white performers dressed in blackface portraying stock African-American characters. While the original format of the minstrel show disappeared by the turn-of-the-century, elements of it were transferred to other forms of popular theater and are reflected in several publications in the collection. With million of immigrants arriving on American shores in the late 19th and early 20th century, ethnic humor served as an obvious and extremely popular topic for writers and performers. I. & M. Ottenheimer which published many joke books of this type, often in small 4"x5" formats, sold them through venues such as Woolworth's, "by the carload."

The Joke Books and Humor Publications Collection gives the researcher insight into the styles and topics of humor of the early 20th century and their popular publishing formats.

Sources


Scope and Content

This collection consists of joke books, humor magazines, humorous scripts for plays and sketches, and instructions for light amateur theatrics. Materials date from 1897-1947 and are arranged by publisher and series. Series are arranged by the publisher's numeric system. If no numeric system is present, series are arranged alphabetically by author's last name when present, or title.

 


Description of Series


Box 1

Folder -- Contents

The Arthur Wesbrook Company

  1. New Hebrew Jokes. The Arthur Westbrook Company. [no date] [missing cover]
  2. New Vaudeville Jokes. The Arthur Westbrook Company. [no date] [missing back cover]

Banner Play Bureau, Inc., Banner Plays Play Best

  1. Carter, Leslie H. C.O.D.: A Talking Act for Two Men. Banner Plays Play Best. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1929.
  2. Carter, Leslie H. Sees-All Knows-All: A Burlesque Mind Reading Act for Three Characters. Banner Plays Play Best. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1929.

Banner Play Bureau, Inc., Playhouse Specialties

  1. Brown, Shirley. Counted Out. Playhouse Specialties. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1932.
  2. Kaser, Arthur Leroy. Everybody On Deck. Playhouse Specialties. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1932.

Banner Play Bureau, Inc., Vaudeville What-Nots

  1. Carter, Leslie H. Vaudeville What-Nots [no number]. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1929. [missing cover]
  2. Carter, Leslie H. Vaudeville What-Nots Number Four. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. [no date]
  3. Carter, Leslie H. Vaudeville What-Nots Number 5. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1947.
  4. Carter, Leslie H. Vaudeville What-Nots Second Series. Banner Play Bureau, Inc. 1931.

Clown Publishing Co.

  1. The Clown. vol. 1, no. 8. Clown Publishing Co. July, 1933

Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers, Recitations and Dialogues

  1. [B]arton's Comic Recitations. Recitations and Dialogues. Dick & Fitzgerald Publishers. [no date] [missing cover and title page]

The Dramatic Publishing Company

  1. Four More Plays for Two People. The Dramatic Publishing Company. 1937.
  2. Four Plays for Two People. The Dramatic Publishing Company. 1935.

Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation

  1. Clive, Selby, compiler. Chuckles. Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation. 1934.
  2. Clive, Selby, compiler. Chuckles. Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation. 1934.
  3. Kaser, Arthur LeRoy. The Home Town Revue. Fitzgerald Publishing Corporation. 1934.

Guy F. Humphreys

  1. Humphreys, Guy F., ed. Hi-Jinks, vol. 1, no. 10, Guy F. Humphreys. March, 1926. [missing cover]

I. & M. Ottenheimer, The Gem Library

  1. New Irish Yarns No. 1. The Gem Library No. 1. I. & M. Ottenheimer.1912.
  2. Irish Jokes and Witty Sayings No. 2. The Gem Library No. 2. I. &  M. Ottenheimer. 1914.
  3. New Dutch Jokes No. 3. The Gem Library No. 3. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1914.
  4. New Red-Hot Jokes. The Gem Library No. 11. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  5. New Drummer's Yarns No. 21. The Gem Library No. 21. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1913.
  6. New Book of Monologues No. 23. The Gem Library No. 23. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1913.
  7. New After-Dinner Stories No. 25. The Gem Library No. 25. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1914.
  8. Choice Variety Jokes No. 34. The Gem Library No. 34. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  9. A New Crop Irish Jokes No. 35. The Gem Library No. 35. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  10. New Coon Jokes No. 44. The Gem Library No. 44. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1916.
  11. Just For Fun Good Time Jokes No. 45. The Gem Library No. 45. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1915.
  12. All New Prize Jokes No. 46. The Gem Library No. 46. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1915.
  13. Button Busters Jolly Jokes No. 49. The Gem Library No. 49. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1915.

I. & M. Ottenheimer, "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books

  1. Ott, Moe, ed. New Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 1. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  2. Ott, Irv, ed. New Black Face Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 2. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1907.
  3. Lewis, Jack, ed. New Irish Joke Book No. 1. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 3. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  4. Ott, Irv, ed. New Dutch Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 4. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1907.
  5. Ott, Irv, ed. New Hebrew Joke Book No. 1. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 5. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1907.
  6. Ott, Irv, ed. New Book of After-Dinner Stories. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 8. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  7. Ott, Irv, ed. New Vaudeville Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh"   New Joke Books No. 9. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  8. Ott, Moe, ed. New Book of Monologues. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 10. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  9. Ott, Moe, ed. New Book of Monologues. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 10. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908. [missing cover]
  10. Ott, Irv, ed. New Combination Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 11. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  11. Ott, Irv, ed. Prize Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke  Books No. 12. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1907
  12. Ott, Irv, ed. New Tramp Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 14. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1907.
  13. Ott, Irv. ed. New Rube Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 15. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  14. Ott, Irv. ed. New Clown Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 16. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  15. Ott, Irv. ed. New Book of Epitaphs and Comic Poetry. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 17. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1907.
  16. Ott, Moe, ed. New Black Face and Minstrel Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 19. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.
  17. Ott, Irv, ed. New Italian Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 20. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1909.
  18. New Train Tales. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 24. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1911.
  19. Ott, Irv, ed. New Actors' Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 25. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  20. James the Chauffer, compiler. Automobile Jokes, Jests and Joshes. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 28. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date].
  21. Ott, Irv. The New Red Hot Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 29. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1912.
  22. James, Edgar. Hash House Jokes. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 32. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1917.
  23. James, Edgar. Wine, Woman and Song Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 35. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  24. James the Chauffer. Ford Jokes and Stories. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 37. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  25. Ott, Irv, ed. Modern Jokes and Monologues. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 38. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  26. Burlesque Joke Book. "It Is to Laugh" New Joke Books No. 40. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]

I. & M. Ottenheimer [unknown series]

  1. Lowe, Paul E. ed. Hot Stuff Joke Book. [unknown series]. No. 46. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  2. Lowe, Paul E. ed. The Live Wire Joke Book. [unknown series]. No. 47. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  3. Ott, Lester B., ed. You Tell 'Em Funny Sayings. [unknown series]. No. 50. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  4. Matthews, E.C. and others. Cowboy Jokes and Yarns. [unknown series]. No. 51. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1922.
  5. Charlie Chaplin's Chatter and Funny Sayings. [unknown series]. No. 52. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  6. Ha--Ha Jokes! [unknown series]. No. 53. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1926.
  7. New Book of Hearty Laughs and Latest Jokes. [unknown series]. No. 56. I. & M. Ottenheimer. [no date]
  8. Many Laughs.[unknown series]. No. 58. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1927.
  9. Here We Are--Let's Laugh. [unknown series]. No. 59. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1927.
  10. Laugh and Be Merry. [unknown series]. No. 60. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1927.
  11. Hundreds of Laughs and Good Jokes. [unknown series]. No. 63. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1929.
  12. Lively Jokes Never Heard Before. [unknown series]. No. 64. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1929.
  13. Best-Ever Joke Book. [unknown series]. No. 65. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1929.

Box 2

Folder -- Contents

I. & M. Ottenheimer [untitled series]

  1. New Hebrew Jokes and Monologues by the Best Jokers. [untitled series]. No. 8. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1905.
  2. New Vaudeville Joke Book. [untitled series]. No. 13. I. & M.   Ottenheimer. 1906.
  3. Ott, Irv. New Italian Joke Book. [untitled series]. No. 19. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1909.
  4. James the Chauffeur. Automobile Jokes and Stories. [untitled series]. No. 22. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1913.
  5. One Thousand Laughs from Vaudeville. [untitled series]. No. 23. I. & M. Ottenheimer. 1908.

James J. Coghlan, Coghlan's Jester

  1. Coghlan's Jester No. 2. James J. Coghlan. [1922] [missing cover and title page]
  2. Coghlan's Jester No. 2. James J. Coghlan. 1922.
  3. Coghlan's Jester No. 3. James J. Coghlan. 1925. [missing cover]
  4. Coghlan's Jester No. 3. James J. Coghlan. 1925.

James J. Coghlan [no identified series]

  1. Coghlan's Comedy Sketches. James J. Coghlan. 1926.
  2. Coghlan's Green Room. James J. Coghlan. 1928.
  3. Coghlan's Professional Monologues. James J. Coghlan. 1927.

Laughs and Chuckles Publishing Co., Laughs and Chuckles

  1. Laughs and Chuckles, vol. 1, no. 10. Laughs and Chuckles Publishing Company. October 1924.
  2. Laughs and Chuckles, vol. 2, no. 1. Laughs and Chuckles Publishing Company. February 1925.

Longmans, Green & Co., Longman's Play Series

  1. Cohen, Octavus Roy. Come Seven: A Negro Farce-Comedy in Three Acts. Longman's Play Series, Players' Prompt Book. Longmans, Green & Co. 1927.

Max Stein Pub. House

  1. Comic Readings and Popular Recitations. Max Stein Pub. House. [no date]

Samuel French Ltd., French's Acting Edition

  1. Charleton Basil, Elton, George and Campion, Cyril. Green Room Rags. French's Acting Edition. No. 29. Samuel French Ltd. 1925.
  2. Jeans, Ronald. "One Dam' Sketch After Another". French's Acting Edition. No. 843. Samuel French Ltd. 1928.
  3. Jeans, Ronald. Charlot Revue Sketches. French's Acting Edition. No. 1049. Samuel French Ltd. 1925.
  4. Jeans, Ronald. Vignettes from Vaudeville. French's Acting Edition. No. 1287. Samuel French Ltd. 1924.
  5. Lester, Alfred. The Scene Shifter's Lament. French's Acting Edition. No. 2599. Samuel French Ltd. 1921.

Samuel French, Inc., French's Musical Library

  1. George, Charles. Rosalie Runs Riot: A Musical Comedy. French's Musical Library. Samuel French, Inc. 1932.
  2. Kusell, Daniel. The Gingham Girl: A Musical Comedy in Three Acts. French's Musical Library. Samuel French, Inc. 1922


Samuel French, French's Standard Library Edition

  1. DuSouchet, H.A. The Man from Mexico: A Farcical Comedy in Three Acts. French's Standard Library Edition. Samuel French. 1897.
  2. Hughes, Rupert. Excuse Me: A Farce-Comedy in Three Acts. French's Standard Library Edition. Samuel French. 1934.
  3. MacHugh, Augustin. Officer 666: A Melodramatic Farce in Three Acts. French's Standard Library Edition. Samuel French. 1917.

Samuel French [no identified series]

  1. Eldridge, Press. How to Get Up a Minstrel Show. Samuel French. 1911.
  2. Levis, Marjorie Rice. Revue Sketches. Samuel French. 1931.
  3. Kaufman, George S. The Still Alarm: A Play In One Act. Samuel French.  1930.
  4. Miller, Norman H., compiler. Turns Without Encores: Modern Blackouts. Samuel French. 1935.

The Sharlee Company

  1. Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The Sharlee Company. [no date]

Shrewesbury Publishing Co., The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Enterainment Books

  1. Case, Carleton B. Ford Smiles: All the Best Current Jokes About a Rattling Good Car. The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury Publishing Co. 1917.
  2. Case, Carleton B. Some Irish Smiles: A Collection of Real Irish Jokes. The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury Publishing Co. 1926.
  3. Case, Carleton B. The Sunny Side of Life: Current Humor Gathered from Many Sources. The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury   Publishing Co. 1916.
  4. Case, Carleton B., compiler. Vaudeville Wit: Latest Crossfire Conversations, Gags, Repartee, Retorts and Monologues from the American Vaudeville Stage. The Shrewesbury Series of Popular Entertainment Books. Shrewesbury Publishing Co. 1927.

Standard Cigar Co.

  1. 100 More Major Moments. Standard Cigar Co. [no date]

True, The Man's Magazine

  1. Gags for Guys: A Bonus Boolet of Belly Boffs. True, The Man's Magazine. [no date]

T. S. Denison & Company, Denison's Comedy Sketches

  1. Jones, Ellis O. Troubles of a Hotel Clerk: A Vaudeville Sketch. Denison's Comedy Sketches. T. S. Denison & Company. 1929.

T. S. Denison & Company, Denison's Musical Comedies and Reviews

  1. Johnson, Frederick G. The Footlight Revue: A Colorful Contrivance in Five Flashes. Denison's Musical Comedies and Revues. T. S. Denison & Company. 1922.
  2. Johnson, Frederick G. The Fun Revue: A Musical Grouch Cure in Five Treatments. Denison's Musical Comedies and Revues. T. S. Denison & Company. 1921.
  3. Johnson, Larry E. The Hurry-Up Bride: A One-Act Musical Comedy. Denison's Musical Comedies and Revues. T. S. Denison & Company. 1923.

T. S. Denison & Company, Minstrel First Parts

  1. Lawrence, John E. Denison's Ladies Minstrel First Part: A Complete Routine for the Circle. Minstrel First Parts. T. S. Denison & Company. 1929.

T. S. Denison & Company [no identified series]

  1. Hacker, Fred A. and Eames Prescott W. How to Put On an Amateur Circus. T. S. Denison & Company. 1923.
  2. Kaser, Arthur LeRoy. Talking Acts for Two: A Book of Sketches for Two Players. T. S. Denison & Company. 1927.

Walter H. Baker & Co./Walter H. Baker Company

  1. Beach, Lewis. Let's Get Married: A Farce-Comedy in Three Acts. Walter H. Baker & Co. 1916.
  2. Kaser, Arthur LeRoy. The Burnt Cork Entertainer: Blackface Sketches and Monologues for the Amateur or Professional Stage. Walter H. Baker Company. 1923.
  3. Morley, Ward. Domestic Dialogues: A Group of Seventeen Mr. and Mrs. Sketches. Walter H. Baker Company. 1930.
  4. Newton, Harry L. Vaudevillainies: A Series of "Acts" Against the Public Peace and Decorum. Walter H. Baker & Co. 1915.

Wm. McNally, McNally's Bulletin

  1. McNally's Bulletin. Wm. McNally. [no date] [missing cover and title page]
  2. McNally's Bulletin No. 5. Wm. McNally. 1919.
  3. McNally's Bulletin No. 9. Wm. McNally. 1923. [missing cover]
  4. McNally's Bulletin No. 11. Wm. McNally. 1925.
  5. McNally's Bulletin No. 11. Wm. McNally. 1925.
  6. McNally's Bulletin No. 12. Wm. McNally. 1926. [missing cover]

Unknown publishers

  1. "Double Exposure" as Presented at "Gridiron Dinner" [unknown publisher] [no date]
  2. Gardner, Brudder. Brudder Gardners Stump Speeches and Comic Lectures. [unknown publisher] [no date]