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.