Special Collections & Archives Blog

Thanhouser Theater Posters from the C. H. New Collection

Monday, December 5, 2011 11:42 am

The Cat's Paw poster- version 3

The Mohammedan's Conspiracy poster

I recently brought a group of old theater posters, which are about one hundred years old, out of the flat files they’d been stored in. These posters are part of the Clarence Herbert New Collection (http://wakespace.lib.wfu.edu/xmlui/handle/10339/28053). I knew we had these posters, but had not seen them or handled them. I was prompted to look at them because the processing of the Clarence Herbert New Collection is almost complete and these posters were about the only part I had not examined for preservation needs.

The Mohammedan's Conspiracy poster-version 2

There were six posters: all were very large in two, three or six panels. The posters advertised films from 1913-1914 which were based on the writings of Clarence Herbert New. Mr. New was a prolific writer, editor, novelist and adventurer. Adventure, which was an actual part of his young adult life, became part and parcel of his writings (both as subject matter and in an actual magazine entitled: Adventure). New wrote for a few publications, now largely forgotten which were entitled: The Red Book and The Blue Book as well as Advenure (which employed novelist Sinclair Lewis). New had a number of pseudonyms, and he wrote stories which had titles such as: “The Hatching of a Pirate” (1919) and “A Great Ruby Disappears” (1921). This same man lost an arm to a bear in New York City’s Central Park Zoo, was shipwrecked (twice) and often made the adventure of his early life the source of his later writings. This collection was largely processed by ZSR Archivists Audra Yun and Rebecca Peterson. The collection is visually rich and is full of New’s photographs, scrapbooks from his vacations to places like Lake Pennesseewassee (near Norway,Maine).

The Cat's Paw poster
The Thanhouser Film Corporation made films from 1910-1918. It is still in business, operated by the grandson of it’s founder as a film preservation company.

The posters are large affairs which I guess would have been applied to walls in New York City. Each poster is made up of several panels, which when joined together make a poster ranging in size from about 3′ x 4′ to 4′ x 6′. The colors are incredible and rich especially since these are almost 100 years old, being printed in 1913 and 1914.

The Cat's Paw poster- version 2

I will be doing some very minor repairs on these posters using heat-set tissue. They are in great condition and only have some minor tears and a few holes. It is one of the joys of preservation work to be able to handle and repair these visually stunning (and possibly politically incorrect) materials.

The Mohammedan's Conspiracy poster-version 3

Comments

  1. These are really gorgeous posters! I wonder if there are archival copies of the actual films anywhere?

  2. Yes! Thanhouser sells many of their films here:
    http://www.thanhouser.org/videos.htm

  3. Thanks, Craig. We are dangerously close to having this collection completely processed!

  4. Dear Craig,

    I just found your post regarding the Thanhouser posters in the CH New Collection…absolutely amazing!

    I have been chasing Thanhouser films and ephemera for 25+ years and never heard about this collection…thank you so much for posting about this.

    Please visit http://www.thanhouser.org/poster_gallery.htm to see images of 26 other Thanhouser posters I have found and/or collected.

    Craig, I am hoping that I can obtain high-resolution images of these posters to add to the growing body of company materials.

    All the best, and thanks for the wonderful Christmas present!

    Ned Thanhouser, President
    Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc.
    http://www.thanhouser.org


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