Date Published: 1909 to 1941
Booth Tarkington was an American novelist, dramatist, and Pulitzer Prize winner. During the 1910s and 1920s, he was considered America’s greatest living author. He is one of only three novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once, along with William Faulkner and John Updike.
The collection consists of 24 items dating from 1909 to 1941, specifically 3 letters, 1 signed page, 5 photos, 2 books, and 13 ephemera (2 pieces of sheet music, 7 programs and playbills, 2 lobby cards, and 2 post cards). One of the playbills prints letters of appreciation from Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt to Alexandra Carlisle, an English actress and suffragist who settled in the United States.
3 Letters (1 Autographed Letter Signed (ALS) and 2 Typed Letters Signed (TLS):
• ALS to [Mark Sullivan], n.d., pp. 9-10 only, political tone (“I don’t `take any stock’ in our present Governor Hanly…. No real Roman was quite button-nosed.”
• TLS to Edward H. Bierstadt, 19 April 1919, giving authorization to use Mr. Walker’s dramatization of “Seventeen”.
• TLS to Harold A. Fendler, 22 June 1932, re “Mr. Nigh’s quit-claim… relations between Barrymore and Mr. Nigh will probably always remain a mystery to me….”
1 Signed page. Unnumbered signed limitation statement (247 copies) taken from a book.
5 B&w photos:
• Photo still from film Gentle Julia, Fox Film Corp., 1936;
• “Booth Tarkington on his 70th Birthday”, with Captain Blyn Montgomery, 31 July 1939,
• Acme; Tarkington with Karen Van Ryn of the Garrick Players, 25 July and 6 August 1940, on the occasion of his 71st birthday;
• “Writing Autobiography”, seated at a writing desk, 16-17 February 1941;
• Tarkington with a cigarette, Underwood & Underwood, circa 1941, reference on verso to the publication of The Heritage of Hatcher Ide;
• The Flirt (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1913), first English edition, red cloth in slightly chipped jacket; the front endpapers have the former owner’s name written in pencil, a slip from John Bull (English journal), and Tarkington’s signature on a piece of paper.
• Gentle Julia. (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922). Brown cloth in chipped jacket, boards rubbed and discolored. Card, signed “Your truly | Booth Tarkington”, pasted on the front free endpaper.
• 2 pieces of sheet music: Peter Worthington and Max Kortlander, The Flirt (“Whose Heart Are You Breaking To-Night?”) (New York: Joe Mittenthal, 1922), novelty foxtrot theme inspired by Tarkington’s The Flirt, color cover detached; Edgar Wilson and Walter Donaldson, Cameo Kirby (“Romance” (New York: Donaldson-Douglas & Gumble, 1929).
• 7 Programs and playbills: Astor Theatre, New York, “The Man from Home”, co-authored with Harry Leon Wilson, 15 March 1909; Belasco Theatre, Washington, D.C., “The Man from Home”, co-authored with Harry Leon Wilson, 15 May 1911; Texas Grand Theatre, “Country Cousin”, co-authored with Julian Street, 16-19 January [1918?], prints letters of appreciation from Woodrow Wilson (29 August 1917) and Theodore Roosevelt to Alexandra Carlisle who performed in the play; The Strong Theatre, Burlington, Vermont, “Seventeen”, 22 February 1917; Frazee Theatre, West of Broadway, “Tweedles”, co-authored with Harry Leon Wilson, week beginning 22 October 1923; The Vanderbilt Theatre, East of Broadway, New York, Arthur Goodrich, “The Plutocrat”, based on Tarkington’s novel, 17 March 1930; Springfield High School, “Clarence”, 20 May 1938 (4 pieces of ephemera); Shubert Theatre, Boston, “Seventeen”, [194?].
• 2 large lobby cards of Cameo Kirby, a 1923 American silent drama film directed by John Ford which starred John Gilbert and Gertrude Olmstead and featured Jean Arthur in her onscreen debut. It was Ford's first film. Minor chips at the corners.
• Photo postcard of Dustin Farnum in Tarkington and Harry Leon Wilson’s play, “Cameo Kirby”, post-marked September 1909.
• Post card advertising the publication of Seventeen on 10 March .
Collection on consignment with LDRB.