Welcome to Thanhouser Films: An Encyclopedia and History


Author's Acknowledgments and Credits .


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made available stills and information from its reference library. Included were many photographs from the holdings of Mignon Anderson, a large file on Thanhouser actor William Russell, and other data. Gillian Anderson, of the Library of Congress, discussed musical accompaniment to Thanhouser films in several conversations with the author.

Hugh Berberich, of Iona College, New Rochelle, coordinated "Thanhouser Night," a retrospective film program conducted by the author at Iona College on October 7, 1988. Bebe Bergsten lent copies of Reel Life and helped in other ways. Tom B'hend made suggestions concerning source material for information on Edwin Thanhouser's early career. Bob Birchard lent a number of important photographs from his collection, copy edited certain sections of the manuscript, and helped in other ways. His encyclopedic knowledge of film making during the Thanhouser era proved invaluable to the author. Mary B. Bowling, of the Edison National Historic Site, West Orange, New Jersey, furnished information from the Edison and Patents Company files relating to Thanhouser, including reports of a detective sent by Edison in 1910 to spy on the Thanhouser Company. Eileen Bowser, of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, provided information from that institution's holdings, arranged screenings, lent films, and helped in several other important ways. Stephani Boyd copyread portions of the manuscript and made suggestions for information sources. Amelia Braca, whose maiden name was Amelia Mazzullo, was an extra at the Thanhouser studio c.1911-1914, and in 1988 she shared her reminiscences with the author. Alan Brock provided biographical information concerning Maude Fealy, Mignon Anderson, and others. Kevin Brownlow made many helpful suggestions and corresponded frequently concerning various fine points and technical aspects. Dominick Bruzzese lent several dozen photographs from his remarkable collection of New Rochelle memorabilia, including stills and other items from the estate of Thanhouser actor William Noel.

Ruth Martin Cameron, who as an infant appeared in Thanhouser films, circa 1913, lent several photographs and shared reminiscences provided by her father, a studio employee. James Card, of The International Film League, gave encouragement and enthusiasm. Kate Cenedella, daughter of Madeleine Fairbanks, furnished information concerning the Fairbanks twins. Villa Clarkson corresponded with me concerning Thanhouser research. Aaron Cohen supplied biographical information concerning Taku Takagi. Donald Collins, Jr. lent a scrapbook of Ardice Blanchard, a New Rochelle resident who in 1914 and 1915 compiled it on Thanhouser personalities and took some candid photographs around the Thanhouser studio. He also supplied information concerning Florence LaBadie. James J. Coleman, Jr. (doing business as Films by Huey) provided information concerning Grace DeCarlton, in the form of filmed interviews with her circa 1979-1983 and typescript notes concerning her life. Madelyn Cook, of Jaxdex, searched through many Jacksonville periodicals of the 1915-1916 era in the successful quest for Thanhouser information from the time the company maintained a studio in that city. This included material from the two daily newspapers published in Jacksonville, The Times-Union and The Florida Metropolis. In addition, she investigated records in St. Augustine, of filming in that city in early 1912. Donald Crafton, director of the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research, provided suggestions. Robert Cushman, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, made arrangements for the copying of certain photographs in the Academy's archives.

Barbara Davis helped with research in the New Rochelle area and made several suggestions. The Davis Funeral Home, New Rochelle, provided data. Henry R. Davis provided biographical information concerning certain players, particularly with regard to their later lives. Bill Deane, senior research associate of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York, gave information about players from the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Giants who were featured in Thanhouser films in 1911 and 1913 (The Baseball Bug and The Final Game). Mariette DiChristina helped with publicity for the project during the research stages and furnished many useful ideas and sources of information. Chet Dowling provided information. Billy H. Doyle furnished life dates for many of the Thanhouser players, corrected data the author had located elsewhere, and provided information on roles played; his contributions were of incalculable value. During the course of the research leading to the present work, he exchanged dozens of letters with the author. Thomas R. DuBuque, D.D.S. corresponded concerning Milwaukee theatres. Joseph R. DuciBella, of the Theatre Historical Society of America, furnished information on the Bush Temple Theatre, Chicago. Geraldine Duclow, curator of the Theatre Collection at the Free Library, Philadelphia, provided valuable information. Doug Duigan contributed photographs taken in New Rochelle.

Harland H. Eastman lent a photograph of a theatre from his book, Sanford and Springvale, Maine: A Backward Glance. Grace Eline, sister of Marie Eline (the Thanhouser Kid) and a Thanhouser player in her early career, furnished recollections of her experiences at the studio and of the people who worked there. Caroline Tuck Ellis shared her recollections of the 1913 studio fire, which she saw as a child.

Thomas F. Fanelli, of New Rochelle, gave suggestions for information sources. Nora FitzGerald did research for the author at the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, New York City. Tony Fletcher, of The Cinema Museum, London, furnished copies of Thanhouser advertising, film reviews, and synopses published in England and did much research involving British release dates of Thanhouser films. Bill Fraser contributed a newspaper article concerning the 1914 fire at the Oaksmere School, New Rochelle. Marienne French, of the Jacksonville Public Library, provided information concerning Thanhouser's operations in that Southern city. The late Tom Fulbright provided much useful data in connection with the Thanhouser biographies and filmographies. Kathy Helgesen Fuller read the manuscript, made valuable suggestions, and helped in other ways over a period of years.

Louise Gehman, of the Wolfeboro, New Hampshire Public Library, assisted with interlibrary loans of microfilmed material. Georgetown University provided access to the Martin Quigley papers, the Terry Ramsaye papers, and other collections preserved in their archives. Samuel A. Gill, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, provided much information concerning Thanhouser's studio in Jacksonville, lent photographs which were once the property of Mignon Anderson, made available various stills from the Academy's archives, and helped in many other valuable ways. Irvin Glazer made suggestions concerning sources for research information. Eve Golden corresponded concerning Florence LaBadie, and helped in several other ways. Ralph E. Graham, M.D. provided much information and lent over 100 stills and photographs from his extensive collection, many of which were selected for use in the present work; earlier, this material had been the property of Carl Louis Gregory, the Thanhouser cameraman. Margaret Gray was a cornerstone for the project and engaged in research in the Robinson Locke Collection in the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, and in other institutions in the New York City area, as well as as at Harvard, Georgetown University, and other locations. In the process she unearthed and evaluated much valuable information concerning the biographies of Thanhouser personalities and located early film reviews and articles in periodicals. Her intuition in tracking down significant leads never ceased to delight the author. H.E. Guthrie provided a copy of a Thanhouser film.

Dr. Gerald Hamm reviewed an early draft of the biographical section of the work and made suggestions. (Margaret Lincoln Hansel): Correspondence from Margaret (Peggy) Lincoln Hansel, daughter of Thanhouser director Howell Hansel, is preserved in the Robinson Locke Collection at the New York Public Library and is reprinted (in the biographical section of the present work, under the entry for Howell Hansel) with the consent of that institution; neither the NYPL nor the the publisher has the address of Ms. Hansel or her heirs, and efforts to locate same have been unsuccessful. Keith A. Hardison, superintendent of Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis, corresponded concerning Sea View, the childhood home of Gertrude Homan. Carol Harris, curator of the Florida Collection at the Jacksonville Public Library, made helpful suggestions. The Harvard University Library made available the material in the Thayer Collection. Tom Hoctor, New Rochelle city historian, shared recollections of Thanhouser and its players, including his boyhood memories of the 1913 studio fire and his conversations over the years with William Noel. Frank Holland located many Thanhouser reviews, synopses, and film schedules in British trade magazines. Dr. Jan-Christopher Horak, of the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, provided important information. Grace Houghton, of the Vestal Press, assisted with obtaining information from the Library of the State University of New York, Binghamton. She also made many valuable suggestions concerning the manuscript and its final translation into print and CD-ROM format.

Thomas A. Johnson supplied certain information concerning Thanhouser's activities in England.

Melissa Klein, New Rochelle Standard-Star, helped with publicity concerning gathering research information. Linda Kowall provided many valuable suggestions and put the author in contact with several important reference sources. In addition, she checked many facts and figures and provided much encouragement while research was being conducted. Her enthusiasm for motion picture history research is unmatched. Her copyreading of the manuscript resulted in numerous corrections and changes. Richard Koszarski, curator of the American Museum of the Moving Image, New York, made available photographs from the Lawrence Williams Collection and other information in the archives of his institution, reviewed the historical narrative section of the present work, and helped in other ways. Kristine Krueger, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, searched that institution's files for data on various Thanhouser personalities.

Charles Leach, of Longview, Washington, provided information concerning Marie Eline. Thierry Lefebvre supplied information concerning distribution companies, French film titles, and release dates of Thanhouser films in France. Joan Lehman made valuable suggestions. Margaret D. Lemke reviewed and edited certain parts of the manuscript. The Library of Congress lent films, provided copies of 1910-1911 advertisements from The Moving Picture World, and helped in many other ways. Robin Little, of Films in Review, helped to publicize the quest for historical information concerning the Thanhouser firm. Janet Lorenz, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, assisted with information. Katharine Loughney, of the Library of Congress, assisted with the author's viewing of Thanhouser films in the collection of that institution and helped him obtain duplicate copies of certain subjects. Gunnar Lundquist corresponded concerning various technical details. He also reviewed sections of an early draft of the biographical section of the manuscript.

Nancy MacDougal, of Metropolitan State College, Denver, provided biographical information concerning Dr. James M. Perkins and Robert Ruble. Dr. Richard MacMaster provided biographical information concerning Charles J. Hite and his family. Jean MacNichol spent many hours searching the combined collections of the University of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin State Historical Society, and the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theatre Research for information pertaining to Thanhouser. Ron Magliozzi, of the Film Study Center, The Museum of Modern Art, provided copies of important documents from the institution's archives. Deborah Marrone, of the Georgetown University, provided help with research in the collections there. Caroline Merena translated items from the French language. Harold L. Miller, reference archivist for the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, provided suggestions concerning research sources. Jon Miller, of Newark, Delaware, provided text and research for certain entries pertaining to the histories of classic works of fiction, given in the present work under the heading "Background of the Scenario." Jonathan Miller, California film historian, assisted Ralph E. Graham, M.D. with the attribution of photographs which were once the property of Carl Louis Gregory. The Milwaukee Public Library provided information concerning Edwin Thanhouser's years in that city and a photograph of the Academy of Music. Rick Moody provided copies of articles in The New Rochelle Pioneer, The New Rochelle Paragraph, city directories, and other periodicals, and helped with obtaining information in the New Rochelle area. He expended untold hours of effort and was among the most important contributors to the Thanhouser research project. John Muccigrosso found information in early issues of The New Rochelle Pioneer.

D.L. Nelson provided biographical information concerning Nellie Parker Spaulding. The New Rochelle Public Library, New Rochelle, New York, provided copies of obituaries and other newspaper articles as well as microfilms of early periodicals. The New York Public Library Theatre Collection at Lincoln Center yielded many important articles, clippings, and periodicals. Toby Norris provided a photograph of the Savoy Theatre, Jacksonville, Florida.

Gil O'Gara provided a photograph of Helen Badgley. Muriel Ostriche, who was with Thanhouser during the 1913-1915 years and who was the subject of a book by the present author, Muriel Ostriche: Princess of Silent Films, assisted in many ways and shared recollections of her days at the Thanhouser studio and of the other players there.

Pego Paar, granddaughter of Edwin Thanhouser, lent information from Edwin Thanhouser's personal scrapbooks and photograph albums and helped in many other ways. Federico Peña, mayor of Denver, Colorado, assisted with research concerning the visit of Thanhouser players to the office of one of his predecessors in 1914. Michael Phenicie provided copies of stills and other photographs. Attilio Perri, owner in 1988 of C.P. Auto Painting, Inc., 320 Main Street, New Rochelle, location of the Thanhouser "Glass Palace" studio circa 1913-1917, kindly allowed the author to inspect and photograph the premises. Mignon Anderson Porteé, born Mignon Anderson Jones (after the Thanhouser actress), daughter of Thanhouser employee and actor Glen Jones, shared reminiscences of her father. Lloyd Predmore provided the guest register for the Caudebec Inn, which contained entries for Thanhouserites in 1912. Ruby Predmore suggested information sources concerning Cuddebackville, New York history.

James Rankin corresponded about Milwaukee theatres. Ginger Rapsus suggested several sources for information. Brenda Resnick, first deputy clerk to Andrew J. Spano (county clerk of Westchester County, New York), provided information pertaining to legal filings. Howard H. Robinson, Jr. provided information concerning his parents: Pere Amelia Benz, who worked as a wardrobe mistress for Thanhouser, and Howard H. Robinson, who was a cameraman. Samuel Rubin, of Classic Images, helped publicize the search for research information about the Thanhouser firm and lent a reference book. Mary T. Russo, curator of broadsides, the John Hay Library, Brown University, provided a turn-of-the-century broadside issued by Edwin Thanhouser for the Academy Theatre in Milwaukee.

Sanborn Map Company, Pelham, New York, furnished maps of New Rochelle from the Thanhouser era. Elias Savada, of the American Film Institute, provided a listing of Thanhouser films known to survive today, lent a microfilm copy of The Moving Picture News file for the year 1910, and made many helpful suggestions concerning research sources. Mary E. Scheet, only child of Marie Eline (the Thanhouser Kid), provided family photographs, clippings, recollections of family traditions, and other information concerning Marie Eline, her aunt Grace Eline, and her grandmother (also named Grace). This archive contributed immeasurably to the present work. Nicholas Scheetz, manuscript librarian at Georgetown University, provided help with research in the collections there. Colleen Seger, of Green Hills Memorial Gardens, Inc., furnished information concerning Marie Eline. Marjorie Sha, of the New Rochelle Public Library, assisted with the inter-library loan of materials. David Shepard suggested sources of information. Joan Thanhouser Sherman, granddaughter of Edwin Thanhouser, lent information from family scrapbooks and albums and furnished many recollections concerning Edwin Thanhouser and the Thanhouser family. The value of her help cannot be measured. Lisa Simons transcribed numerous filmography entries and copyread the manuscript. Charles Silver, of the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, arranged for the screening of Thanhouser films held by that institution. Anthony Slide provided many valuable research suggestions and leads. Information in his files was shared, including data pertaining to Mignon Anderson, the Thanhouser family, and others. I am honored that he consented to copyread the manuscript and write a foreword to the work. Bryan Smith furnished important information about actress Florence LaBadie, and corresponded concerning other aspects of the project. Andrew J. Spano, Westchester County Clerk, provided copies of the incorporation papers of the Thanhouser Company and the Thanhouser Film Corporation. Rick Spector lent information from his files. Paul Spehr, of the Library of Congress, provided information from that institution's holdings, arranged screenings of Thanhouser films, and helped in many other ways. The Standard-Star, New Rochelle's modern newspaper, publicized the project, and from this the author derived several important sources for information. The State Library of Florida, Tallahassee, provided on interlibrary loan microfilms of The Florida Times-Union, The Sunday Times-Union, and The Florida Metropolitan. William T. Stewart, author of International Film Necrology, provided certain biographical data from death certificates. Dorothy L. Swerdlove, curator of The Billy Rose Theatre Collection, the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center, furnished assistance with research in that collection. Hugh W. Swofford provided copies of several programs and handbills of the Academy Theatre, Milwaukee.

Edwin W. (Ned) Thanhouser, grandson of Edwin Thanhouser, gave access to family records and enthusiastically supported the project. In addition, he assisted with the tracking down of surviving prints of Thanhouser films in America and Europe. He also helped greatly with CD-ROM technology. Lisa Treat provided a 1916 newspaper clipping. Marvin Tuchyner helped with the making of printing negatives directly from original photographs.

Walter C. Van Buren corresponded concerning Thanhouser history.

Edward Wagenknecht copyread the manuscript, provided certain historical information, and made many valuable suggestions. Marc Wanamaker and his Bison Archives provided historical information. Judy Wentzell furnished articles and clippings relating to Grace DeCarlton. Kenneth Wertz of Triaxon, Binghamton, NY, produced many printing negatives directly from original photographs, thereby eliminating intermediate prints and negatives, which insured great clarity. The Westchester County Historical Society assisted with information from its files. P. Westervoorde, of the Nederland Filmmuseum, Amsterdam, provided information concerning that institution's holdings of Thanhouser films. Larry Widen provided information concerning Milwaukee theatres and searched in the Milwaukee Public Library and elsewhere for contemporary articles relevant to Edwin Thanhouser's management of the Academy of Music. He also shared his manuscript on the history of the Mutual Film Corporation. Clark Wilkinson provided photographs and information concerning Harry Benham and his family, with whom he was acquainted in years past. Robert M. Wilson provided an enlargement of a photograph. Christine Wiltanger did extensive research at the New York Public Library and elsewhere over a long period of time; information obtained included clipping files for Thanhouser players and reviews in publications not readily available elsewhere, including the New York Morning Telegraph. Wallace Worsley, son of Thanhouser actress Julia Taylor, shared his recollections, recalled the family tradition of his having played in a Thanhouser film as an infant, and lent photographs and documents.



The following people in the author's company, Bowers and Merena Galleries, Inc., of Wolfeboro, NH, helped with the project: Liz Arlin did research in early trade publications and also copyread sections of the filmography. Judy Bouchard did much of the layout. Jean Dolan and Roberta French did an extensive amount of typesetting. Margaret Graf over a period of years did much of the typesetting for the present work and helped with cross-referencing data. Linda Heilig did typesetting. Lee Lillejedahl supervised much of the production end of the project through the typesetting and copyediting stage, and helped in many ways. Annette Thomas did typesetting. Cathy Dumont photographically copied many of the illustrations used. Raymond N. Merena, co-owner of the firm, supported the project in many ways. Without his cooperation and enthusiasm the book would not exist. Mary K. Valley, secretary to the author, assisted with correspondence, telephone calls, research, coordination, and typesetting. William Winter did layout and proofreading.


Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.