The Ziegfeld Follies series, which ran almost annually from 1907 through 1931, is remembered primarily for showgirls, extravagant production values, and its producer, Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. In this dissertation, I argue that the prestige the Ziegfeld Follies are remembered as having was the direct result of economic and social forces as much, if not more so, than the artistic genius of a man or the on-stage uniqueness of the Follies. These economic and social forces included, but were not limited to, career opportunities open to Ziegfeld; the battle between the Theatrical Trust (the Syndicate) and the Shubert brothers; the prosperity of the Syndicate in general and its need to have a high-profile financially-successful hit in its flagship theatre; the business success of vaudeville's United Booking Office; the economics and social status of summer roof garden shows; the structure and calendar of vaudeville; the structure and calendar of the legitimate theatre industry; the business environment that kept upwardly mobile businessmen---members of the professional managerial class---in the city during the week while their wives and children "summered" away from the city and the automobiles and public transportation that made such commuting possible; the explosion in popular magazines; the revenue-generating necessities of a magazine dedicated to reporting on the New York theatre scene; and the burgeoning advertising and marketing environment.; These factors share at least equal footing with the beauty of the Ziegfeld chorus and the opulence of the Follies' production values in securing Ziegfeld's reputation and status within the prevailing cultural hierarchy, even if the pretty details were what was publicized then and all that is remembered now. Indeed, the relationship between the economic factors surrounding the production of the Follies and the cultural status of those productions was intertwined and complicated, and, furthermore, this relationship had---and still has---everything to do with class. Ultimately this dissertation argues that the mystical positioning of Ziegfeld in American theatre history is tied to the rise and concerns of the professional managerial class, and through our roles as academics, theatre historians are implicated in that positioning.