Louise Brooks was much more than just a pretty face and a stylish symbol of the 1920s flappers, with their rebellious shorter skirts and bobbed haircuts. While her life began in small-town Kansas, she went on to do amazing work in silent films and in writing, not to mention her time on stage as a dancer. She left home at the age of 16 to pursue a different set of dreams, and ended up changing the world with her talent and personality.
Louise danced her way into the heart of the world when she took leading roles in silent movies, refusing to adhere to any standards imposed on her by others. At the top of her resume are dozens of silent and sound films, followed by some poor personal choices that included failed marriages and drinking problems. But through it all, she remained her own person, pursuing her dreams while she lived life the way she saw best.
The Gift of Writing
Brooks published her autobiography in 1982, titled Lulu in Hollywood, which includes eight personal essays that detail her life in Kansas, her time in New York as a Denishawn dancer (the youngest in the tour—alongside founder Ruth St. Denis, who later fired her from the troupe), Ziegfeld Follies dancer, and her friendships with the famous. This collection of her writings is a must for every Lulu fan, no matter how long you’ve adored her.
Other writings from Louise included “The Fundamentals of Good Ballroom Dancing” booklet, a vast collection of personal journals, and countless letters that have now been published in books. Her magazine articles were filled with wit and published in Sight & Sound and Focus on Film, to name a few.
Brooksie’s Work with Directors and Photographers
Brooks’ screen debut was directed by Herbert Brenon and titled The Street of Forgotten Men (1925); she also worked under the direction of Howard Hawks in A Girl in Every Port in 1928. That same year, her early sound film Beggars of Life was directed by William Wellman. At the age of 24, after starring in 21 films, Louise went to work with the German director G.W. Pabst, making Pandora’s Box and Diary of a Lost Girl.
While many professional photographs were taken of Louise Brooks over the course of her career, all have their own unique qualities while showcasing her natural beauty. Photographers who worked with her include Eugene Robert Richee, George Hommel, and Elmer Fryer.
Louise Brooks Memorabilia for Every Fan
For the most avid of fans, there is a wide range of Louise Brooks memorabilia that can be a part of their own collections. Handwritten, autographed letters are perhaps the most special, since they were penned with Brooks’s own hand; autographed posters, framed portraits, and original still photographs are one-of-a-kind, and many include a personal touch like a note or signature. Other treasured items include show programs, title cards, and movie posters that every Brooksie fan can appreciate.
Lulu in Books
In addition to rare items, Vintage Brooks has an offering of books written by and about Louise Brooks. They include:
• Dear Stinkpot: Letters from Louise Brooks (by Jan Wahl): Wahl, a poor graduate student and aspiring writer, corresponded with Brooks over the course of 20 years. Their friendship in letters is showcased here in a collection that celebrates a longstanding relationship.
• Lulu in Hollywood (by Louise Brooks): Brooksie herself takes us through her life in eight autobiographical essays covering her Kansas childhood, her days as a dancer, and her friendships with the famous. This personal glimpse into her private thoughts will leave you wanting more.
• Louise Brooks Biography: Lulu Forever (by Peter Cowie): Cowie is a film historian and the author of over a dozen books; he corresponded with Brooks for nearly 20 years. His reflections on their friendship and insight into her life is unique and personal.
Lulu in Film
Both Diary of a Lost Girl and Pandora’s Box: The Criterion Collection can be purchased in DVD format, giving viewers a fresh glimpse into the star’s talent and ability to mesmerize. Both of these films were directed by Pabst, who is considered to be one of the greatest directors of German cinema in his time.
Find Your Favorite Lulu Collectibles at Vintage Brooks
No matter what kind of Louise Brooks memorabilia you are looking for, Vintage Brooks has a wide selection of quality items you can add to your collection. Whether you are her biggest fan or just know someone who is, this is the place to discover those rare gems of print items, handwritten collectibles, and original pictures you can't find nowhere else. We are your place for all things Brooksie, and we invite you to stay and browse awhile.