Article ID: CBB261294103

The Informational Economy of Vaudeville and the Business of American Entertainment (Autumn 2021)


In the early twentieth century, vaudeville was the most popular theatrical form in the United States. Operating before the rise of mechanically reproduced entertainment, its centralized booking offices moved tens of thousands of performers across hundreds of stages to an audience of millions. Designed to gather and analyze data about both audiences and performers, these offices created a complex informational economy that defined the genre—an internal market that sought to transform culture into a commodity. By reconstructing the concrete details of these business practices, it is possible to develop a new understanding of both the success of the vaudeville industry and its influence on the evolution of American mass culture.

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Article editors (Autumn 2021) Editor's Note: Special Issue on the Entertainment Industry. Business History Review. unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Zakim, Michael
Davis, Joshua Clark
Jennifer A. Delton
Bishara, Fahad Ahmad
Cristina Stanca-Mustea
Dara Orenstein
Business History Review
Railroad History
The University of Chicago Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
University of North Carolina Press
University of Chicago Press
UCL Press
Princeton University Press
Business history
Entertainment industry
Motion pictures; cinema; movies
Mass media and culture
Kolko, Gabriel
De Forest, Lee
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
Progressive Era (1890s-1920s)
18th century
United States
Indian Ocean
National Association of Manufacturers
Walt Disney Company

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