THE BEST PLAYS OF 1899-1977: 61 Volumes

New York: Dodd, Mead, 1920-1977. Hardcover. Various printings, many are first editions. An unbroken run of the series hailed in 1967 as "the oldest continuous record of theatrical activity on Broadway and environs". Mantle founded the series at the request of editors from Small, Maynard in Boston, who were looking for an analogue to their existing Best American Short Stories yearbook. He retained the editorship for 27 years, overlapping his work as a daily critic for the New York Daily News from 1922 until 1943. As yearbook editor, Mantle established the practice not only of selecting and redacting the ten "best" plays of every season but also providing what Joseph Wood Krutch lauded as a record "astonishing in its completeness" and analogous to those in other specialist fields but previously nonexistent for theatre. Each volume lists, "in the order of their first nights, every New York theatrical production for the year - with its cast, its run, and a brief synopsis of the plot. Moreover, all of this is indexed and supplemented by various other compendia of information (Dorothy Chansky, Burns Mantle and the American Theatregoing Public, Theatre History Studies, Volume 31). This set of 61 octavos includes the two supplementary volumes (1899-1909 and 1909-1919) and the 1899-1950 index. Original cloth bindings. All volumes are in dust jackets, including 12 plain paper wrappers and one glassine wrapper. A very good set overall, with some general shelfwear, tape reinforcement to the verso of a few dust jackets, and a bit of minor toning. Very good / Very good. Item #73854

Price: $1,500.00