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Celebrating 25 Years of Photoplay

Celebrating 25 Years of Photoplay

The Media History Digital Library is pleased to present a near-complete digital edition of 25 years of Photoplay — the most important fan magazine of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Scanned from the original color magazines, the MHDL's collection of Photoplay begins in 1914 and extends through 1940. The collection is open access, and each issue is searchable, and free to read and download.

Fan magazines documented the lives of movie stars, promoted their films and presented a generally rosy view of the motion picture industry. As Kevin Brownlow noted in The Parade's Gone By, "Photoplay had nothing in common with its present-day counterparts. It was a forthright, hard-hitting, well-balanced and highly entertaining publication, and it was a gold mine of information about the making of pictures." Photoplay was also filled with surprises, from Theodore Dreiser's profile of Mack Sennett to insightful coverage of Charlie Chaplin and articles by Errol Flynn.

Our digital edition of Photoplay is the cumulative result of three years of coordination and digitization — with 24 volumes going online just this month. Thank you to the collections that provided copies for scanning: Karl Thiede, Bruce Long, the Museum of Modern Art Library and the Pacific Film Archive Library and Film Study Center. Funders include Domitor, an anonymous donor (in memory of Carolyn Hauer), Richard Scheckman, and David Sorochty.

In the coming months, we look forward to delivering a wealth of early cinema publications, hundreds of books, and more broadcasting journals. We will also debut our new fulltext search platform. Thank you for everyone who has donated to us via the PayPal link on our homepage. Your contributions help support website hosting, scanning, and shipping. You keep us moving forward.


4 Responses

  1. vp19 says:

    You folks do a fine job, but there’s a slight problem with this Photoplay collection: Under 1940, the July-December issues are actually a repeat of July-December 1938. Hope that can be rectified.

    • Eric Hoyt says:

      Thank you for bringing this error to our attention. We just fixed the glitch. If you notice any other errors, please let us know. Thanks!

  2. vp19 says:

    Thanks for fixing it. This weekend, I wrote two entries pertaining to the new additions:


  3. allison shealy says:

    Hello….this is an AWESOME site!!! has brought me MANY hours of enjoyment! BUT…. one problem I have noticed is The select holdings of the PICTURES AND PICTUREGOERS magazine for the OCT-DEC 1915 Vol. 9 is missing and in its place is the 1924 select holdings. It is the same story for the 1916 Jan-Mar Volume 9, too. It is not there, but has the 1924 magazines instead. Thanks, I hope this can be corrected!!! Blessings!

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