Joseph Jefferson: Dean of the American Theatre
by Arthur Bloom

ISBN-10: 0-913720-55-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-913720-55-4
Hardcover, 528 pages, 6 x 9"
30 black-and-white illustrations, bibliography, index
$35.00
Finalist, George Freedley Memorial Award 

This is the first in-depth biography of Joseph Jefferson, one of the foremost of an old and distinguished family of English and American actors. Born in 1829, Jefferson became one of the most beloved actors in America and probably the most successful. His career spans the growth of the theatre from resident stock companies featuring touring stars to "combination" companies (what we would call road shows). Jefferson played in virtually every American city; and although he proved himself a skilled actor in more than a hundred roles, he was particularly famous for his characterization of Rip Van Winkle. A painter of merit and member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, he succeeded Edwin Booth as president of The Players in New York City and hence was the acknowledged head of American actors. Having been on the stage for seventy-one years, Jefferson died on Shakespeare's birthday in 1905. Drawing on a stunning amount of research, Arthur Bloom reassesses a life packed with bravura and romance. The result is an extraordinary, vibrant biography of a fascinating and celebrated actor.


A graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale University, Arthur Bloom has served as an academic administrator at Loyola University, Chicago; Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles; and Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He and his wife have two daughters and live in Chalfont, Pennsylvania.

Acclaim for Joseph Jefferson: Dean of the American Theatre

Robert Gottlieb, "Who Was the Most Famous of All?" in The New York Review of Books