Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks


Craig Morrison (Author)

Overview | Inside the Book

The latest title in the Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks series, Theaters offers a richly illustrated history of a revered cultural artifact and a technological challenge, following its progression from the eighteenth-century opera house to the modern movie multiplex.

This visual sourcebook traces the development of its colorful and varied forms as they developed in early America, on the western frontier, and in cities from coast to coast. The first comprehensive study of American theaters, it illustrates their wide range from raucous music halls to vaudeville, from circus to grand opera, from World's Fair to Coney island, from nickelodeon to glorious picture palace. Also featured are theaters for burlesque, theaters afloat, military theaters, Shakespearean theaters, summer theaters, theaters and African-Americans, and arenas (when a stage just won't do), enlivened by a cast of entrepreneurs and showmen who were the movers and shakers of our theatrical heritage.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • December 2005
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73108-8
  • 8.8 × 11.3 in / 384 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“It is spectacular! I have no doubt that it will be the standard reference book on this subject.” — Richard J. Sklenar, Executive Director, Theatre Historical Society of America, Inc.

“Featuring over 1,200 illustrations and the expertise of architect and historian Craig Morrison, Theaters belongs on your coffee table.” — Patriot News

“[A] sweeping look at its subject.” — Keith Runyon, Louisville Courier-Journal

“[A] richly illustrated history of a beloved cultural building type.” — Sources & Design

“[B]reathtaking in scope...Insightful and readable…a splendid book.” — Peter Wentworth, Charleston Post & Courier

Theaters, itself, should be listed on the National Historic Register in recognition of the service it provides urban historians and modelers!” — Roger C. Parker, O-Scale Trains Magazine

“[A] comprehensive, fascinating survey of the changing history and styles of theaters from early playhouses to modern movie houses…[A] powerful visual reference recommended for any serious theater enthusiast.” — California Bookwatch

“[N]o more thorough visual documentation of American theaters has ever been attempted.” — Francis Morrone, Wall Street Journal

“[S]plendidly illustrated… comprehensive… monumental work.” — Playbill

“[T]he ultimate picture book for anyone interested in historic American theatre buildings…[A] remarkable and engrossing collection of images…” — Peter Longman, Theatres Magazine

“[I]mpressive. . . . [T]he real value of this volume is the breadth of its visual scope...” — Steve Tompkins, RIBA Journal

“[A]n astonishing book…More thoroughly illustrated than any previous work on the subject… [T]he book supplements each illustration with essential facts…” — Hugh Hardy, Urban Design Review

“Rising to the top is Theaters… [A] beautifully illustrated history of American performance venues in all their colorful and varied forms” — Stephanie Peithman, Stage Directions Magazine

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