Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

John Aberth


This thesis examines a variety of themes and issues in the motion picture industry as evidenced in The Billboard (now called Billboard magazine) in the 1920s. The research details the publication's coverage of and reaction to a number of unfair trade practices, governmental censorship, and the development of sound technology in the motion picture industry in the latter half of the decade. The project contends that The Billboard was the voice of the small, independent theater owner. The thesis casts the trade publication's alliance with small business owners as a contrast to the big business, pro-consolidation climate of the period. The Billboard also is shown to be adamantly opposed to governmental intervention in the private sector. These were the views of the complex and idiosyncratic founder of the magazine, William H. Donaldson.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of History and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1999 Michael K. Chapman.