Brentano’s Contemporary Drama Series

Brentano’s (New York, US; London, UK)
Series dates: 1924-1937
Size: 5.25″ x 7.75″

Revised 6/12/2023

Little, Brown & Co. issued a series named the Contemporary Drama Series from 1917 to 1931 with titles like The Contemporary Drama of Ireland, The Contemporary Drama of England, etc. This likely led to Brentano’s similarly named series, with all titles issued in 1924 (and reprints until 1937) appending the publisher’s name to the series. Coward-McCann revived the series name for their Contemporary Drama Series issued between 1960-1965.

Brentano’s Contemporary Drama Series was intended to be more than a one-off group of six titles issued it’s first year, but no more titles appear. The advertisement (left) is from the Theatre Arts Monthly (April 1924) and suggests a new group of titles would be issued yearly. The price was $1 per volume.

A list of the six titles is below, with initial and reprint years. Four titles don’t seem to be reprinted. One is reprinted twice. Sun-Up is reprinted five times, the last in 1937. A review of all six titles appeared in the Theatre Arts Monthly, July 1924.

Tarnish, by Gilbert Emery (1924)
Chains, by Jules Eckert Goodman (1924)
Sun-Up by Lula Vollmer (1924, 1926, 1928, 1931, 1937)
Casanova, by Lorenzo de Azertis (1924)
Aren’t We All, by Frederick Lonsdale (1924, 1925)
Children of the Moon, by Martin Flavin (1924)

The series title below is Aren’t We All by Frederick Lonsdale.

The six series titles share a common jacket and book design (I’ve only seen 1924 editions). The jackets are common to the series and printed on yellow paper with the title, author, and publisher on the spine. The series name is at the top of the front of the jacket, followed by the title name, an illustration of a stage (common to all copies), author, and publisher. The front jacket flap advertises Brentano’s “Important Spring Fiction” with pricing

Additional published plays fill the back jacket flap, with prices. The back of the jacket blurbs the series and lists the six titles.

The books are bound in heavy cardboard covers, also yellow in color and mimicking the dust jackets (minus the publisher name and location at the bottom of the front cover).

Blank endpapers:

The half-title page:

The title page includes the series name:

The copyright page includes the copyright to Brentano’s, the year of publication (1924), and a statement that the author reserves professional and amateur stage rights to his or her play. “Printed in the United States of America.”