Robert Baral was a free-lance writer and sometime publicist. The collection consists of photographs, clippings, programs, and correspondence relating to Ziegfeld, the Ziegfeld Follies, and the revue era. With its roots in the late nineteenth century Europe, the revue has been defined as a form of light entertainment that consisted of topical sketches, comedy, music and dance, which was loosely held together by a theme. In America, the revue evolved full of spectacular effects under the inspired direction of Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr., who was often imitated but never surpassed.
Biographical/historical: Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1905, Robert Baral was a freelance writer-journalist, and occasionally, a publicist centering his activities mainly in New York. In addition to contributing to Variety, he wrote two books, one of which, Revue, prompted him to begin a collection of miscellaneous materials relating to Florenz Ziegfeld and the revue era in American theater. He lived and worked from his apartment in the New York Athletic Club for many years. He died in 1980.
Content: The Robert Baral Papers covers an entire era in American theater on the revue form of theatrical entertainment from the turn of the century to the 1930s. There are copious clipping files on Florenz Ziegfeld, his productions of the Ziegfeld Follies, the Ziegfeld girls and notable performers, and artwork (caricatures and drawings). Baral also collected numerous photographs from this era, many of which appeared in his book, Revue. Of special note are some designs from the French-Russian designer Erté.
Part of his collection consists of personal and professional papers dealing with his own life as a journalist and writer, such as correspondence with publishers, colleagues, and others; royalty statements; his military service; his residence at the New York Athletic Club, and his family in Indiana.