This auction was announced on the Bonhams website and in the Clyde Fitch Report last week.
The archive belonged to the American Play Company, or Century Play Company, an organization that dealt with play production and licensing from 1914 into the early 1960s. According to the Bonhams website, the archive includes “correspondence, contracts, company records, and theatrical scripts covering the first two quarters of the 20th century.”
The American Play Company was formed in 1914 from a merger between the French Society of Authors, a production company and playwrights’ agency run by Elizabeth Marbury, and entertainment solicitors Selwyn and Co.
A second merger took place in 1950 with the Century Play Company, another agency run by James Thatcher and Thomas F. Kane, with previous ties to the Shubert Organization.
The last major recorded event in the company’s history is its purchase in the early 1960s by James Abend, a former stevedore who advocated the rights of deceased authors’ inheritors to their property in a notable Supreme Court case, Stewart vs. Abend.
— Thomas Peter