Caroline Caffin's 1914 non-fiction book is one of the best primary sources available for the study of vaudeville. She writes about the main aspects of theater, including details on specific performers. Clearly, Caffin writes from a standpoint of admiring the art form, and wanting to contribute a positive review to the memory of vaudeville. This book is very heavily referenced by today's historians and commentators, because it is very informative. This resource was useful to me in many ways. On one level, it offered a lot of good objective data on variety shows. Caffin also offers a number of opinions, which helped me get a bearing on the sentiments of the time.


Caroline Caffin


Mitchell Kennerley




Caffin, Caroline. Vaudeville (New York: Mitchell Kennerley, 1914), accessed 12/6/10.




THE caterer of amusements has learned not only to supply the programme but also to stimulate the zest and eagerness with which it is anticipated. For this purpose he must spice his offering with novelty, more novelty and always novelty. Nowhere is this truer than in Vaudeville, for so rapid are the changes in the public appetite that the whole character of the entertainment may vary from one season to another. What is popular this year may vanish next, and no prophet can foretell the favorites of three years hence.

So in this book no attempt is made to cover the field of Vaudeville, for that field is as limitless as humanity itself. A few impressions which have projected themselves with more or less vividness upon the ever moving picture of public favorites during the last few years, is the utmost that I have attempted. Of the many whose "intent is all for our delight" I have spoken of only a few. And well I know that, even as I write, new faces, new motives, new achievements are pressing forward to take their places in the shifting panorama.

Original Format



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Caroline Caffin, “Vaudeville,” Inbetween Peoples, accessed September 24, 2020,