[Np]: American Theatre Wing War Service, Inc., [nd. but ca. 1942]. 56pp. Quarto. Stiff printed wrappers. Light smudging to wrappers, but near fine. Item #WRCLIT76655
First edition. A comprehensive manual for the organization and running of the Washington DC version of the Canteen, adapted from the manual for the NYC Canteen by Harvey Delano. The Stage Door Canteen was started and directed by The American Theatre Wing at the beginning of WWII. Its purpose was to provide a safe, free place where soldiers, Marines, sailors and merchant seamen could come, relax, socialize and dance with young women volunteers. Often entertainment was provided by top entertainers of the day who volunteered their services. Canteens were located in New York, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Cleveland, San Francisco and other major cities in the U.S., and toward the end of the war in London and Paris. The Canteens were closed shortly after the war ended, but in the three and a half years of their operation, the Stage Door Canteens had an enormous influence on popular culture, inspiring a weekly radio show on the Columbia Network and a 1943 motion picture, both called "Stage Door Canteen" and produced in association with the American Theatre Wing. These, along with Irving Berlin's hugely popular war song "I Left My Heart at the Stage Door Canteen," help the Canteen's legacy live on today. According to several accounts, all of the records for all of the Canteens were stored in a garage which subsequently burned to the ground. As a consequence, material such as this item take on extra significance. No copies are recorded in OCLC, although there is a copy at Yale and a copy now in British Canteen archive in the UK (one of two copies we sold in 2014).