INSCRIBED BY PLAYWRIGHT ROBERT MCLAUGHLIN’S TO HIS “VERY GOOD FRIEND AND CONFRÈRE,” CLEVELAND THEATER MOGUL JOSEPH LARONGE
MCLAUGHLIN, Robert H. The Eternal Magdalene. A Modern Play in Three Acts. New York and London: Samuel French, 1918. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter burgundy morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edge gilt, uncut. $300.
Early edition, presentation/association copy, of this three-act play about Mary Magdalene, inscribed across the entire front blank by the author to the man responsible for creating Cleveland’s thriving Playhouse Square theater district: “To Joseph Laronge, my very good friend and confrère, this volume is affectionately inscribed. Robert McLaughlin. July 12 1920.”
Adapted for the screen as a special feature in 1919 by Goldwyn Pictures, The Eternal Magdalene was Robert McLaughlin's most famous play and was first performed on Broadway in November of 1915. The play concerns a banker, Elijah Bradshaw, who is consumed by religious fervor. His piety is so absolute that it disrupts his relationship with his daughter. In the end, only a harrowing nightmare manages to show him the consequences of his withdrawal from the world. With frontispiece half-tone of Julia Arthur as Mary Magdalene. This copy is inscribed to Joseph Laronge and also bears his bookplate. Laronge was known as "father of the district" for turning upper Euclid Avenue in Cleveland into an area of theaters and shops. He partnered with Marcus Loew to build the Ohio and State Theatres, which were followed by numerous other theaters. Ultimately, the area, known as Playhouse Square, turned into a vibrant and thriving theater district.
A fine copy, with an interesting association.