Sheldon Christian archive from 1922-1935
Date Published: 1922-1935
Binding: No binding & hard cover
Sheldon Christian archives. 1922-1935. Approximately 1,800 pp. These extensive archives contain manuscripts and typescripts of Christian’s plays, short stories, news stories, poems, correspondence, diary entries, and ephemera. Much of the material concerns Christian’s academic life at Tufts College, his literary pursuits, his editorship of the Tuftonian (1930-1) and the Beacon (Trinidad, British West Indies), his correspondence with publishers about the publication of his works, his romantic attachments, YMCA materials, church correspondence, and many pieces of miscellaneous ephemera including drawings, photos, and programs. There is also some secondary source material about Christian. With the archives are five books edited or written by him.
Sheldon Christian (1907-1997), often called “Tubby” by his friends, was an American playwright, a poet, a local historian of New England, a minister, and a printer of ephemera. Born in Jutland, Denmark on 1 January 1907 when his parents were on vacation, Christian was raised in Philadelphia and Somerville, Mass. There were seven children in his family. His father, a partner of Christian & Sweger dealing in lumber and millwork, died in 1914. In his teenage years he worked at various office jobs. As early as December 1922, Christian submitted manuscripts to publishers. In the early 1930s, he graduated from Tufts College with degrees in English and religion. He settled in Brunswick, Maine and married Dr. Cora E. Barden (1901-1976), an osteopathic physician, on 6 March 1934. He served as a pastor of the First Universalist Church until 1945. He died on 17 March 1997.
Suggestions for plays, outlines, ms., 6 pp., and ts., 6 pp.
“Destruction: A Play in One Act”, ts., 7 pp.
“Synopsis of One-Act Play: The Night Before Christmas”, ts., 5 pp.
“The Night Before Christmas”, ts. with holograph corrections, 9 pp.
“Two Bummers from Boston: A Play in One Act”, ts. with holograph corrections, 10 pp., [May 1928].
“All the World’s a Stage: A Farcical Comedy in One Act”, ts., 33 pp., and 2 carbon ts., 33 pp., with holograph corrections. The latter is “Copyright 1932 Carra-Christian, Publishers”. Also “All the World’s a Stage: A One-Act Farce-Comedy”, ts., 24 pp.
“Of Two Who Fell at Gettysburg: A Fantasy in One Act”, carbon ts., 13 pp.; later version entitled “Slaves”, ts., 9 pp., notes on the versos of leaveas.
“The Everlasting Presence: A Modern Christmas Miracle Play”, carbon ts. with holograph corrections, 17 pp.
“The Portrait: A Pantomime in One Act”, ts., 12 pp. Also “The Portrait: A Semi-Pantomime in One Act”, carbon carbon ts., 12 pp., verso of leaves with ts. of “All the World’s a Stage”.
Visvantara: A One-Act Play in Three Scenes”, ts. (“old – since revised”), 12 pp. (verso of leaves with ts. of “All the World’s a Stage”), ts., 16, 1 (verso has ts. about contributors to the Tuftonian), pp., carbon ts. (“old version”), 16 pp., carbon ts. (“old – since revised”), 16 pp., 2 carbon ts. (“master copy”), 19 pp. each. Holograph corrections throughout.
“The Swan Song”, ts., 6 pp.
“Rapport”, 10 drafts in ts., carbon ts., and ms., 26 June 1933, varied pagination, approximately 46 pp. This poem was published under the title The Beautiful Spear (1937).
“A Poet Leaves Orders for His Funeral”, ms. and ts., multiple drafts, 17 pp.
“Live unto Yourself”, ms., 1 p.
Drafts of other poems, “Hymn to Peace”, “Spiritropism”, “Parade”, “Over the waves of the billowing sea”, etc., ms. and ts., 10 pp.
Suggestions or outlines for stories (“Allegory”, “The Quality of Mercy”, “The story of a pirate....”, “Holgar”, “Love My Dog”, “Hygiene Notes”, etc.), ts., 25 pp. “Art or Craft?”, ms., 1 p.
“A young ape-like creature stole....”, ts., 4 pp.
“Luigino, My Imaginary Friend”, ts., 3,  pp.
“The Angelic Annunciation of Joseph”, ts. with holograph corrections, 2 pp.
“The Annunciation to Mary”, ts. with holograph corrections, 2 pp. Versos have a poem entitled “Ecstasy” and an agreement between Carra-Christian and Sidney W. Van Sheck for Van Sheck to produce 16 line drawings to be used in Thirty Years of Tufts Verse, 12 May 1931.
“Dagmar and I were alone in his room.....”, ts., 2 pp.
“Jottings from My Journal” by Roderick Roon (Christian’s pseudonym), ts. with holograph corrections, 8 pp.
“The Upstart”, ts., 2 pp.
“It was the day of the boy’s funeral in Japan....”, carbon ts., 2 pp. published in the Tuftonian, June 1930.
“Strong Kites from Weak Wood”, ts. with holograph corrections, 4 pp.
“`Pickie’ Passes”, ts., 2 pp, 1931.
News stories and personal statements:
“Covering a Game by Phone”, carbon ts, 1 p.
Commentary on the life and death of Anthony Thomas Massello, ts., 5 pp.
News clippings pertaining to “Community Characters” (Henry Stetson, 5 December 1935) and “The Church” by the Churchman, 18 and April 1935. 5 clippings from the Brunswick Record.
“Some of the Things I Believe”, carbon ts., 4 pp.
“Fears”, ts., 1 p., 9 December 1930.
“Latin Notes”, ts., 3 pp.
“One might find many faults....:, ts., 2 pp.
Ts. and ms. combination, 1927-9, 1931, approximately 260 pp. Many of the versos have drafts of poems, plays, and stories. Christian’s diary entries are detailed in nature. “I am mad with ambition—ambition to achieve something”, he writes on 27 November 1927. He discusses literary projects, meetings friends, romances, interaction with professors and students, including President John Cousens, the poet John A. Holmes, and his good friend and collaborator, Lawrence Carra (who later distinguished himself as a professor of drama at Carnegie Mellon University and a director of theater and television).
Approximately 1,000 incoming and outgoing letters with many enclosures, 1922-33. Christian’s earliest letters in these archives are exchanges with publishers, in particular a story entitled “Only a Kid”. In 1924 he corresponded with the Young Men Christian’s Association. In 1927 he was accepted as a student as Tufts College. By 1930 he was editor of the university’s student magazine, the Tuftonian. Much of his correspondence is with contributors to the magazine and editing Thirty Years of Tufts Verse. He continued his academic studies, participation in organizations and drama clubs, and literary ventures, frequently writing to journals and publishers. In 1931 when he was the American editor of the Beacon, the first literary magazine based in Trinidad, he exchanged many letters with the magazine’s chief editor, Albert Gomes, a Trinidadian unionist, politician, and writer. Lawrence Carra remained a constant correspondent. There is also extensive correspondence with Christian’s mother, girl friends, acquaintances, professors, church-related societies and schools, and people in society and politics.
Approximately 25 documents: poems written by others, program for the senior banquet of Class of 1931, brochures of the thirty-fifth Older Boys’ Conference (5-7 December 1924), etc.
Thirty Years of Tufts Verse: An Anthology. Cambridge, Mass.: Carra-Christian, 1931.
Illustrated with woodcuts by S.W. Jirousek Van Sheck; tipped-in frontispiece. Orange paper boards, with black cloth spine and paper label on front. Covers somewhat faded and spotted, little worn at corners, otherwise very good.
The Unbeautiful Spear, a Poem. Brunswick, Maine: Carra-Christian, Publishers, 1937. Wrappers, wire-stitched. Very good except for a slight tear on the front cover and two small spots on the back. Foreword by John Haynes Holmes, frontispiece of Christ behind barbed wire by S.W. Jirousek Van Sheck.
Poems about Maine. New York: Henry Harrison, 1940. Red cloth boards with gilt lettering, good dust jacket (stain on rear panel, spine panel sunned white with small chip at top).
Our Lady’s Tumbler, a Modern Miracle Play: Based on the Medieval Legend of the Same Name. [Portland, Maine]: Anthoensen Press, December 1948. 325 copies printed. Light blue paper wrapper. A play along the lines of a “Middle Age” religious play centered on the Blessed Virgin. Very good clean copy.
The Road Again Taken. Select Poems. Brunswick, Maine: The Pejepscot Press, 1978.
Foreword by Prof. Richard N. Coffin. Inscribed on front free endpaper by author. Gold-star pattern red paper boards, black cloth spine, price-clipped dust jacket. Very good.
Archive on consignment with LDRB