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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Robert Ardrey Papers 1928-1974

© 2008 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Ardrey, Robert. Papers

Dates:

1928-1974

Size:

10.5 linear feet (17 boxes)

Repository:

Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.

Abstract:

Robert Ardrey (1908-1980) Anthropologist and screenwriter. Contains personal and business correspondence; typescripts of papers Ardrey wrote as a student at the University of Chicago; manuscripts of plays, screenplays, novels, and short stories; writings and personal papers of his sons; the correspondence of Helen Johnson/Ardrey; newspaper clippings and reviews; and photographs. Correspondents include Thornton Wilder, Sinclair Lewis, and Clifford Odets

Information on Use

Access

Series IX contains records that are restricted until 2054. The remainder of the collection is open for research.

Citation

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Robert Ardrey. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Robert Ardrey was born in Chicago Illinois on the 16 October 1908, to Robert Leslie Ardrey and Marie Haswell. He attended the University of Chicago between 1927 and 1930, where he studied in the Natural and Social Science department, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa. Thornton Wilder became a mentor to Ardrey at the university, and encouraged him to pursue writing.

Robert Ardrey began his professional writing career as a playwright, writing such plays as Star-Spangled (1936), Casey Jones (1938), Thunder Rock (1939) and Jeb (1946). In 1940 he wrote his first screenplay, They Knew What They Wanted, and subsequently wrote a number of films including: The Green Years (1946); The Three Musketeers (1948); Madame Bovary (1949) and Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1962). In 1966 he was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay for Khartoum. He also wrote two novels: World’s Beginning (1944); and Brotherhood of Fear (1952).

From the beginning of the 1960s, Ardrey wrote a series of nonfiction books in the field of paleoanthropology in which he argued that aggression was a key feature of man’s evolution. His books, which were both popular and controversial, included: African Genesis (1961); The Territorial Imperative (1966); The Social Contract (1970); and The Hunting Hypothesis (1976).

Throughout his life, Ardrey received a number of awards including: the Sergel Drama Prize in 1935; a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1937; The Sidney Howard Memorial Prize in 1940; and a Wilkie Brothers grant for anthropology in 1963.

Robert Ardrey was married to Helen Johnson between 1938 and 1960, and they had two sons, Ross and Daniel. In 1960 he married the South African stage actress Berdine Grunewald, who later illustrated his books.

Scope Note

The Ardrey Papers contain personal and business correspondence; typescripts of papers Ardrey wrote as a student at the University of Chicago; manuscripts of plays, screenplays, novels, and short stories; writings and personal papers of his sons; the correspondence of Helen Johnson/Ardrey; newspaper clippings and reviews; and photographs. Correspondents include Thornton Wilder, Sinclair Lewis, and Clifford Odets. It contains material from the period 1928-1974.

The Ardrey papers have been organized into eight series: Series I, Correspondence; Series II, Typescripts of Work; Series III, Published Work; Series IV, Publicity and Reviews; Series V, Records Relating to Robert Ardrey’s Family; Series VI, Photographs; Series VII, Oversized and Audiovisual Material; Series VIII, Restricted Material.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/spcl/select.html

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Correspondence

This series contains correspondence from the period 1928-1975. It has been divided into three subseries: Subseries 1, Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson/Ardrey; Subseries 2, Personal Correspondence; and Subseries 3, Business Correspondence. Within each subseries the material has been arranged, when possible, in chronological order.

Subseries 1: Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson/Ardrey

Box 1   Folder 1

Undated and June, 1930. see also Oversized Series, Box 16.

Box 1   Folder 2

July 1930

Box 1   Folder 3

August 1930, See also Oversized Series Box 16.

Box 1   Folder 4

September 1930

Box 1   Folder 5

November 28, 1930-December 31, 1930

Box 1   Folder 6

January 1931

Box 1   Folder 7

February 1931

Box 1   Folder 8

March-April 1931. See also Oversized Series Box 16.

Box 1   Folder 9

May-June, 1931

Box 1   Folder 10

July-August 1931

Box 1   Folder 11

September-October 1931

Box 1   Folder 12

November-December 1931

Box 1   Folder 13

January-February 1932

Box 1   Folder 14

March 1932

Box 1   Folder 15

April 1932

Box 2   Folder 1

May-June 1932. See also Oversized Series Box 16.

Box 2   Folder 2

July-September 1932

Box 2   Folder 3

October-December 1932

Box 2   Folder 4

January-March 1933

Box 2   Folder 5

April-June 1933

Box 2   Folder 6

July-September 1933

Box 2   Folder 7

October-November 1933

Box 2   Folder 8

December 1933

Box 2   Folder 9

January 1934

Box 2   Folder 10

February 1934

Box 2   Folder 11

March-April 1934

Box 2   Folder 12

May-June 1934

Box 2   Folder 13

July 1934. See also Oversized Series Box 16

Box 2   Folder 14

August-September 1934

Box 2   Folder 15

October-November 1934

Box 2   Folder 16

December 1934

Box 2   Folder 17

January-February 1935

Box 2   Folder 18

March 1935

Box 2   Folder 19

April-June 1935

Box 3   Folder 1

July 1935

Box 3   Folder 2

August 1935

Box 3   Folder 3

September 1935

Box 3   Folder 4

October 1935

Box 3   Folder 5

November 1935

Box 3   Folder 6

December 1935

Box 3   Folder 7

January 1936

Box 3   Folder 8

February 1936

Box 3   Folder 9

March 1936

Box 3   Folder 10

April 1936

Box 3   Folder 11

May 1936

Box 3   Folder 12

June-July 1936

Box 3   Folder 13

August-September 1936

Box 3   Folder 14

October-November 1936

Box 3   Folder 15

December 1936

Box 4   Folder 1

January-February 1937

Box 4   Folder 2

March-April 1937

Box 4   Folder 3

May-June 1937

Box 4   Folder 4

July 1937

Box 4   Folder 5

August 1937

Box 4   Folder 6

September 1937

Box 4   Folder 7

October 1937

Box 4   Folder 8

November-December 1937

Box 4   Folder 9

January 1938. See also Oversized Series Box 16.

Box 4   Folder 10

February 1938

Box 4   Folder 11

March 1938

Box 4   Folder 12

April 1938

Box 4   Folder 13

May 1938

Box 4   Folder 14

June 1938

Box 5   Folder 1

July - December 1938.

Box 5   Folder 2

1939-1941.

Box 5   Folder 3

1942.

Box 5   Folder 4

1944.

Box 5   Folder 5

1945.

Box 5   Folder 6

1947-1955 (includes first African trip).

Box 5   Folder 7

1956 (includes Argentina trip).

Box 5   Folder 8

1957 (Austria, Africa).

Box 5   Folder 9

1958. plus one photo of Robert in Hollywood.

Box 5   Folder 10

1958-1959. Includes some correspondence from Helen Johnson to Robert Ardrey.

Box 5   Folder 11

1974-1975

Box 5   Folder 12

Correspondence between Robert and Helen Ardrey and their lawyers, 1967-1972.

Subseries 2: Personal Correspondence

Box 5   Folder 13

Ardrey Correspondence with Isabel and Thornton Wilder, 1934-1969. See also Oversized Series, Box 16.

Box 5   Folder 14

Family Correspondence, 1952-53.

Box 5   Folder 15

Family Correspondence, 1954, 1956

Box 5   Folder 16

Family Correspondence, 1957.

Box 5   Folder 17

Family Correspondence, 1958 - 1959.

Box 5   Folder 18

Family Correspondence, 1960

Box 5   Folder 19

Family Correspondence, 1961

Box 5   Folder 20

Family Correspondence, 1962, 1966, 1967

Box 5   Folder 21

Undated Family Correspondence

Box 6   Folder 1

General Correspondence, includes some photos and clippings, n.d.

Box 6   Folder 2

General Correspondence, 1942-1972.

Box 6   Folder 3

General Correspondence, 1930-1944.

Box 6   Folder 4

General Correspondence, n.d.

Subseries 3: Business Correspondence

Box 6   Folder 5

1930-1949

Box 6   Folder 6

1943-1946 (World’s Beginning and "Thunder Rock")

Box 6   Folder 7

1948-1953

Box 6   Folder 8

1954

Box 6   Folder 9

1955-1956

Box 6   Folder 10

Notes, receipts and letters from Argentina Trip 1956. See also Oversized Series, Box 16.

Series II: Typescripts of Work

This series contains material from the period 1934 to 1944. It includes coursework from the University of Chicago, radio scripts, short stories, screenplays, plays and novels. It also includes some general notes, plot sketches and clippings.

Box 6   Folder 11

Work for 1934 course in Radio Script Writing.

  • "Gold Can Burn", 9p.
  • Untitled, simple narrative, 6p.
  • Untitled, simple narrative, 7p.
Box 6   Folder 12

"Casey Jones", c.1936, 150p.

Box 6   Folder 13

Play "How to Get Tough About It'' 1937, 155 p.

Box 6   Folder 14

Play "Thunder Rock'' (also Tower of Light) 1939, 118 p.

Box 6   Folder 15

Play "Sing Me No Lullaby'' 1941, 118 p.

Box 6   Folder 16

Play "House on Fire'' (Star Spangled) n.d., 121 p.

Box 6   Folder 17

Play "Strangerman's Bay'' n.d., 86 p.

Box 7   Folder 1

Novel "Swans by Moonlight'' n.d. 300 p.

Box 7   Folder 2

Short Works

  • "White Wolf", 15p.
  • "Anywhere Express", 15p.
  • "Back Water", 20p.
  • "Westbound", 5p.
  • "Rung Out, Ye Bells", 11p.
  • "Lightning Without Thunder", 10p.
  • Untitled MS "Alexander MacKenzie", 3p.
Box 7   Folder 3

Untitled Manuscripts, n.d.

Box 7   Folder 4

Student Themes, University of Chicago

  • English 132 (5 items), n.d.
  • English 141 (1 item), n.d.
  • English 205 (37 items), n.d.
Box 7   Folder 5

Student Themes, University of Chicago

  • English 211 (3 items), spring 1930)
  • English 248 (1 item), n.d.
  • Unidentified themes (6 items), n.d.
  • Radio script writing theme (1 item), March 1934.
Box 7   Folder 6

Short Stories

  • "afternoon at the zoo", 10 p.
  • "Backwater" 20p.
  • "A Brighter Moment", 11p.
  • "Lightning without Thunder", 10p.
Box 7   Folder 7

Short Stories

  • "No Sale,'' 15 pages
  • "Now We Like Dust Storms,'' 19 pages
  • "Retreat,'' 17 pages
  • "Souvenir,'' 13 pages
Box 7   Folder 8

Short Stories

  • "The Stars We Have" 11p.
  • "To Evening" 14p.
  • "Westbound" 5p.
  • Untitled, 12p.
Box 7   Folder 9

Play "House on Fire" ("Star Spangled"), George Abbott version.

Box 7   Folder 10

"House on Fire" ("Star Spangled"), second version.

Box 7   Folder 11

Play "Death of an Indian" 1938, Act I, first version.

Box 7   Folder 12

"Death of an Indian", Act I second version.

Box 8   Folder 1

"Death of an Indian", Act II, second version.

Box 8   Folder 2

"Death of an Indian, Act III, second version.

Box 8   Folder 3

Play "Thunder Rock", 1939, Act I

Box 8   Folder 4

"Thunder Rock", Act II

Box 8   Folder 5

"Thunder Rock", Act III

Box 8   Folder 6

Play [A Political Satire]

Box 8   Folder 7

Play "Dutchman Station".

Box 8   Folder 8

Plays and Excerpts

  • "A Place Called Freedom'' (with Howard Fast), 11 pages
  • "The Adventurers,'' 13 pages
  • "My Friends and I,'' 10 pages
  • Untitled, 15 pages
Box 8   Folder 9

Screenplay, "The First Coed" 1944 with Elick Moll.

Box 8   Folder 10

Screenplay, "The Great Fog".

Box 8   Folder 11

Musical Comedy, "The Umpire’s Daughter", 1943 with William Roos

Box 8   Folder 12

The Umpires Daughter.

Box 8   Folder 13

Novel, The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), 1943, pp.1-60.

Box 8   Folder 14

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), pp. 61-120

Box 9   Folder 1

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), pp. 121-180

Box 9   Folder 2

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), pp. 181-240

Box 9   Folder 3

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), pp. 241-300

Box 9   Folder 4

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), pp. 301-365

Box 9   Folder 5

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), Revisions, pp. 7-165

Box 9   Folder 6

The Commonwealth (Worlds Beginning), Revisions, pp. 168-351

Box 9   Folder 7

Novel, The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 1-60

Box 9   Folder 8

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 61-120

Box 9   Folder 9

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 121-180

Box 9   Folder 10

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 181-240

Box 9   Folder 11

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 241-300

Box 9   Folder 12

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 301-360

Box 9   Folder 13

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 361-420

Box 9   Folder 14

The Castaways (Brotherhood of Fear), pp. 421-498

Box 9   Folder 15

Novel. Swans by Moonlight, pp. 1-60

Box 10   Folder 1

Swans by Moonlight, pp. 61-120

Box 10   Folder 2

Swans by Moonlight, pp. 121-180

Box 10   Folder 3

Swans by Moonlight, pp. 181-240

Box 10   Folder 4

Swans by Moonlight, pp. 241-300

Box 10   Folder 5

Screenplay, They Knew What They Wanted, May 15 1940, pp.1-29.

Box 10   Folder 6

Screenplay, They Knew What They Wanted, May 15 1940, pp.30-59.

Box 10   Folder 7

Screenplay, They Knew What They Wanted, May 15 1940, pp.60-89.

Box 10   Folder 8

Screenplay, They Knew What They Wanted, May 15 1940, pp.90-119.

Box 10   Folder 9

Screenplay, They Knew What They Wanted, May 15 1940, pp.120-145.

Box 10   Folder 10

Fragments and general writings, 1943 and undated

Box 10   Folder 11

Plot Sketches:

  • "A Tale from Bohemia''
  • "Murder at Mardi Gras''
  • "Internationale''
  • "The Lions of Venice''
  • See also Oversized Series, Box 16.
Box 10   Folder 12

General notes, 1937 and n.d.

Box 10   Folder 13

General notes, 1966-1973.

Box 10   Folder 14

General Notes and clippings, 1943-1968.

Box 10   Folder 15

Clippings, 1968-1972.

Box 10   Folder 16

Materials from DoAll company, 1959-1962,

Series III: Published Work

Box 10   Folder 17

Articles by Robert Ardrey, 1930-1972. See also Oversized Series, Box 16.

Series IV: Publicity and Reviews

This series includes publicity for and reviews of Ardrey’s work. It includes clippings of reviews, articles referring to Ardrey and his work, some photographs and some correspondence from the period 1936-1976. It is arranged according to subject matter.

Box 10   Folder 18

Star Spangled.

Box 10   Folder 19

Casey Jones.

Box 10   Folder 20

How to Get Tough About It.

Box 11   Folder 1

Thunder Rock, American Perfomances.

Box 11   Folder 2

Thunder Rock, British Performances.

Box 11   Folder 3

Thunder Rock, Berlin Performances.

Box 11   Folder 4

Thunder Rock, Czech Performances.

Box 11   Folder 5

They Knew What They Wanted.

Box 11   Folder 6

World’s Beginning, American and British Reviews.

Box 11   Folder 7

Brotherhood of Fear, American Reviews.

Box 11   Folder 8

Brotherhood of Fear, British Reviews.

Box 11   Folder 9

Sing Me No Lullaby.

Box 11   Folder 10

General Clippings

Box 11   Folder 11

Reviews of Robert Ardrey, The Social Contract.

Box 11   Folder 12

Reviews of Robert Ardrey, The Territorial Imperative

Box 11   Folder 13

Reviews of The Hunting Hypothesis

Box 11   Folder 14

Reviews of Robert Ardrey’s work, general.

Box 11   Folder 15

Articles referencing Robert Ardrey.

Box 11   Folder 16

in Oversized series Box 16, Publicity Book for Khartoum.

Box 12   Folder 1

General Articles and clippings referring to Robert Ardrey. See also Oversized Series, Box 16.

Series V: Records Relating to Robert Ardrey’s Family

This series contains material relating to Robert Ardrey’s immediate family. It is divded into two subseries: Subseries 1: records relating to Helen Johnson/Ardrey; and Subseries 2: records relating to Ross and Daniel Ardrey. The first subseries consists primarily of Helen Johnson/Ardrey’s correspondence, from the period 1928-1978. The second subseries consists of correspondence, published and unpublished work by Ross and Daniel Ardrey, from the period 1953-1973.

Subseries 1: Records Relating to Helen Johnson/Ardrey

Box 12    Folder 2

Correspondence between Helen Johnson and her parents, June 1928

Box 12    Folder 3

Correspondence between Helen Johnson and her parents, July 1928.

Box 12    Folder 4

Correspondence between Helen Johnson and her parents, August 1928

Box 12    Folder 5

Correspondence between Helen Johnson and her parents, September-October 1928. Includes some travel mementos.

Box 12    Folder 6

Helen Johnson, Correspondence, 1930-1938.

Box 12    Folder 7

Helen Johnson Ardrey, Correspondence, 1957-1969.

Box 12    Folder 8

Helen Johnson, Correspondence with Grace and Harold Yotter, and Joan Yotter Ardrey, 1966-1967.

Box 12    Folder 9

Helen Johnson Ardrey Correspondence-re deposit of Papers at UCLA, 1964

Box 12    Folder 10

Helen Johnson Ardrey Correspondence-re works of art on loan, 1961-1970

Box 12    Folder 11

Helen Johnson Ardrey Correspondence, General, 1964-1970 and undated.

Box 12    Folder 12

Helen Johnson Ardrey Correspondence with Isabel Wilder, 1960-1970.

Box 12    Folder 13

Helen Johnson Ardrey Correspondence with Daniel Ardrey, 1964-1966.

Box 12    Folder 14

Isabel Wilder to Helen Ardrey, 1972-1973.

Box 12    Folder 15

Helen Johnson, Correspondence with Emmet Lavery, Elia Kazan and Ossie Davis, 1965-1968.

Box 12    Folder 16

Helen Johnson, General Correspondence, 1964 and undated.

Box 12    Folder 17

Helen Johnson Ardrey Correspondence with Daniel and Linda Ardrey and Ross and Kathleen Ardrey, 1974-1976.

Box 13   Folder 1

Helen Johnson Ardrey, Correspondence with lawyers, 1974-1975.

Box 13   Folder 2

Helen Johnson Ardrey, Correspondence with Esther Collins, 1975-1976.

Box 13   Folder 3

Helen Johnson Correspondence with Isabel Wilder, 1971-1976.

Box 13   Folder 4

Helen Johnson Ardrey correspondence with Isabel Wilder, Linda Ardrey, Esther Collins and Alexa Payan, 1970-1978.

Box 13   Folder 5

Helen Johnson Ardrey, General Correspondence, 1958-1972, and undated.

Subseries 2: Records Relating to Ross and Daniel Ardrey

Box 13   Folder 6

Articles by Daniel Ardrey

Box 13   Folder 7

Letters and school work by Ross and Dan Ardrey, 1953-1955 and undated.

Box 13   Folder 8

Dan Ardrey, correspondence 1959.

Box 13   Folder 9

Dan Ardrey, correspondence, 1960-1962.

Box 13   Folder 10

Dan Ardrey, correspondence, 1963-1964.

Box 13   Folder 11

Dan Ardrey, correspondence, 1965.

Box 13   Folder 12

Dan Ardrey, correspondence, 1966-1967.

Box 13   Folder 13

Dan Ardrey, clipping.

Box 13   Folder 14

Dan Ardrey, correspondence, 1968-1972.

Box 13   Folder 15

Dan Ardrey, correspondence, 1972-1974.

Box 13   Folder 16

Ross Ardrey, correspondence, 1958-1959.

Box 13   Folder 17

Ross Ardrey, correspondence, 1960-1961.

Box 13   Folder 18

Ross Ardrey, correspondence, 1962-1965.

Box 13   Folder 19

Ross Ardrey, correspondence, 1966-1968.

Box 13   Folder 20

Ross Ardrey, correspondence, 1969-1973.

Box 13   Folder 21

Daniel Ardrey, English 1b workbook, September 1959-April 1960.

Box 13   Folder 22

Daniel Ardrey, I Am Around Me, collected poems, July-October 1967.

Box 14   Folder 1

Daniel Ardrey, Before and After, typescript, 1970.

Box 14   Folder 2

International School of Geneva, Ecolint 1924-1964, with prizewinning poetry by Dan Ardrey.

Box 14   Folder 3

Dan Ardrey, ‘New Light on the Bushmen’, News/Check, Vol.4, no.22, May 6 1966.

Box 14   Folder 4

Ross J. Ardrey, "Salary and Benefit Survey", Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle, Seattle, Washington, October 1973.

Series VI: Photographs

Box 14   Folder 5

Photos of Robert Ardrey.

Box 14   Folder 6

Photos from the Hurricane.

Box 14   Folder 7

General Photos.

Box 14   Folder 8

General Photos.

Box 14   Folder 9

Transparencies.

Series VII: Oversized and Audiovisual Material

Box 15

"The Stevenson Story", film, 16mm

Box 16   Folder 1

Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson. From Box 1, Folder 1.

Box 16   Folder 2

Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson. From Box 1, Folder 3.

Box 16   Folder 3

Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson. From Box 1, Folder 8.

Box 16   Folder 4

Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson. From Box 2, Folder 1.

Box 16   Folder 5

Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson. From Box 2, Folder 13

Box 16   Folder 6

Correspondence from Robert Ardrey to Helen Johnson. From Box 4, Folder 9.

Box 16   Folder 7

Ardrey Correspondence with Isabel and Thornton Wilder. From Box 5, Folder 13.

Box 16   Folder 8

Map of Buenos Aires. From Box 6, Folder 10.

Box 16   Folder 9

Map of Venice. From Box 10, Folder 11.

Box 16   Folder 10

Articles by Robert Ardrey. From Box 10, Folder 16.

Box 16   Folder 11

Publicity Book for Khartoum. From Box 11.

Box 16   Folder 12

Posters for 4th annual USA film festival. From Box 12, Folder 1.

Series VIII: Financial Material

Box 17   Folder 1

Brokerage Accounts

Box 17   Folder 2

Account Book, 1938-1944

Box 17   Folder 3

Account Book, 1945-1947.

Box 17   Folder 4

Royalty Statements.

Box 17   Folder 5

Royalty Statements, 1947-1958.

Box 17   Folder 6

Accounts, Returns, Tax Return.

Series IX: Restricted Material

Box 17   Folder 7

Children's medical records

Box 17   Folder 8-11

Children's educational records