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University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Napier Wilt Papers 1899-1975

© 2009 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary

Title:

Wilt, Napier. Papers

Dates:

1899-1975

Size:

9.25 linear feet (19 boxes)

Repository:

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

Abstract:

Napier Wilt (1896-1975), theatre scholar, was an alumnus and faculty member of the University of Chicago's Department of English. He was heavily involved in research into American literature and especially the history of theatrical performances in Chicago theaters during the late nineteenth century. He also served as the Dean of the Division of the Humanities at the University of Chicago. This collection consists of 9.25 linear feet of material from 1899-1975, documenting Wilt's research, course materials, correspondence, and personal life. Dr. Wilt's research notes and drafts of indexes make up the majority of this collection, including his type-written and hand-written notes from his personal research and newspaper consultation. The rest of the collection is primarily comprised of his course materials and copies of student papers.

Information on Use

Access

Series VI contains student grades and evaluations of student papers. This material is restricted for 80 years.

The rest of the collection is open for research, with no restrictions.

Citation

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

Biographical Note

Born to John and Susie (Napier) Wilt on December 20, 1895 in Hillsboro, Indiana, Napier Wilt attended Indiana University, where he earned an A.B. in 1917. He then came to the University of Chicago, where he earned an M.A. in 1921 and completed a Ph.D. in 1923. His area of interest was American literature, with a focus on American drama and humor. His dissertation for the University was a day-by-day history of the Chicago Theatre, entitled, "The History of the two Rice Theaters in Chicago from 1847 to 1857." After seving in World War II, he became a professor of English at University of Chicago. From 1951 until his retirement in 1962 he was Dean of the Humanities. During the 1950's he helped fund a visiting writers program to bring in American's great writers to Chicago to inspire students in writing programs and offer critiques of student works. He wrote extensively on the history of Chicago theaters, compiling a massive index on the history of Chicago theatrical productions during the nineteenth century, as well as editing several books, including "Some American Humorists." Wilt was also involved in a controversial university takeover of the Chicago Review, and installed a faculty board to watch over the journal's financial operations.

Scope Note

This collection documents Napier Wilt's research into the history of Chicago theatrical productions, his teaching work, his associations with colleagues, and his personal life. It spans the years 1899-1975 and is arranged into six series.

Series I: Chicago Theater History, contains Wilt's work on the history of Chicago theatrical productions during the nineteenth century. This includes a large amount of Wilt's handwritten and typewritten notes on newspaper articles, books, and reviews. There are several drafts of different indexes that Wilt compiled, including a play index, theater index, star index, and author index. These indexes relate to a larger aggregation of performance data, known as the Chicago Drama Performances Index. This series has been arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Series II: Course Materials, contains Wilt's course materials, including calendars, notebooks, class notes, and copies of student papers. The notebooks relate mainly to Wilt's English classes in American literature in the early twentieth century. There are also extensive copies of student papers for his various classes in the Humanities. This series has been arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Series III: Publications, contains publications by Wilt and others. This includes articles, published versions of Wilt's convocation addresses, and draft chapters of China's Black Chamber by Herbert O. Yardley and Carl Grabo, and an article on Herman Melville. This series has been arranged alphabetically.

Series IV: Correspondence, contains incoming and outgoing material. The bulk of this series is made up of Wilt's correspondence with Kenneth Faulkner, a close friend, during World War I. Also included is correspondence with Ambrose Bierce. his series has been arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Series V: Biographical and Personal, contains some personal materials related to Wilt's final will and death. This includes correspondence with a lawyer over Wilt's final will, as well as condolence letters to William McCollum after the death of Napier Wilt in 1975. This series has been arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Series VI: Restricted, contains graded student papers for Dr. Wilt's courses. This series has been arranged alphabetically.

Related Resources

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

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

Chicago Drama Performances. Index

Subject Headings

INVENTORY

Series I: Chicago Theater History

Box 1   Folder 1

1855-1878, chronological index, 1839-1856, original draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 2

1855-1878, chronological index, 1856-1864, original draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 3

1855-1878, chronological index, 1856-1859, first copy, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 4

1855-1878, chronological index, 1860-1870, first copy, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 5

1855-1878, chronological index, 1856-1864, second copy, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 6

1855-1878, chronological index, 1865-1871, second copy, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 7

1855-1878, chronological index, 1865-1871, third copy, circa 1938-1941

Box 1   Folder 8

1855-1878, chronological index, references and correspondence, 1937-1938

Box 2   Folder 1

"A History of the Chicago Theaters – 1837-1937," pages 1-175, draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 2   Folder 2

"A History of the Chicago Theaters – 1837-1937," pages 176-374; A-585-A-634, draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 2   Folder 3

"A History of the Chicago Theaters – 1837-1937," pages 375-536, draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 2   Folder 4

"A History of the Chicago Theaters," pages 1-39; 53-86; A-635-A-643, draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 2   Folder 5

"A History of the Chicago Theaters," pages 26-139; 170-216; 250-271; 366-369, draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 2   Folder 6

Alphabetical list of Chicago theaters, circa 1938-1941

Box 2   Folder 7

"Annals of the Theatre," notes and draft of first pages, 1938

Box 2   Folder 8

Author's index, alphabetical, final draft, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 1

Author's index, carbon copies, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 2

Author's index, carbon copies, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 3

Catherine Sturtevant, chronological outline, handwritten notes, circa 1931

Box 3   Folder 4

Chronological list, 1839-1857, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 5

Chronological list, 1858-1868, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 6

Chronological play and actors list, 1839-1858, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 7

Chronological play and actors list, 1859-1867, circa 1938-1941

Box 3   Folder 8

Chronological play and theaters list, 1858-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 1

Notes on the Arlington Hall, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 2

Notes on the Arlington Minstrel Hall, circa 1941

Box 4   Folder 3

Notes on the Arlington Minstrel Hall, schedule and journal notes, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 4

Notes on the Chicago Theater, 1839-1847, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 5

Notes on the Chicago Theater, history and newspaper articles, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 6

Notes on the Chicago Theater, typewritten, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 7

Notes on the Chicago Theater, circa 1941

Box 4   Folder 8

Notes on Chicago theaters, handwritten and typed, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 9

Notes on Chicago theaters, lists and descriptions, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 10

Notes on Chicago theaters, miscellaneous, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 11

Notes on Chicago theaters, plays, 1839-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 4   Folder 12

Notes on Chicago theaters, plays, 1842-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 5   Folder 1

Notes on Chicago theaters, plays, 1847-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 5   Folder 2

Notes on Chicago theaters, plays, 1855-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 5   Folder 3

Notes on Chicago theaters, plays, 1868, circa 1938-1941

Box 5   Folder 4

Notes on Chicago theaters and New York theaters, circa 1940

Box 5   Folder 5

Notes on the Colonel Wood's Museum," circa 1941

Box 5   Folder 6

Notes on Crosby's Opera House, 1865-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 5   Folder 7

Notes on Dansk Theater, programs and information, 1920-1935

Box 5   Folder 8

Notes on Dearborn Theatre, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 1

Notes on Globe Theatre, 1870-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 2

Notes, handwritten, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 3

Notes, handwritten, 1856-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 4

Notes, handwritten and typed, 1868-1870, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 5

Notes, handwritten notes and edits on chronology, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 6

Notes on history of theaters and newspaper articles, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 7

Notes on the Kingsbury Music Hall, notes, circa 1941

Box 6   Folder 8

Notes on McVickers Theater, 1857-1858, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 9

Notes on Minstrel Hall, 1858-1859, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 10

Notes on National Theatre and People's Theatre, 1842-1847, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 11

Notes from newspapers, 1846-1868, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 12

Notes on newspaper articles about theaters, 1856-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 6   Folder 13

Notes on newspaper consultation, 1864-1873, 1938

Box 7   Folder 1

Notes on newspaper consultation, chronology, 1938

Box 7   Folder 2

Notes on theater productions, circa 1938-1941

Box 7   Folder 3

Notes on reviews, part one, circa 1938-1941

Box 7   Folder 4

Notes on reviews, part two, 1839-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 1

Notes on reviews, part three, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 2

Notes on reviews, part four, 1851-1917, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 3

Notes on the Sauganash Hotel, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 4

Notes on The Varieties Theatre, 1862-1867, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 5

Notes on the Western Museum, 1844-1847, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 6

Notes to be checked against play indexes and actor lists, circa 1938-1941

Box 8   Folder 7

Play index, A-H, undated

Box 9   Folder 1

Play index, I-M, circa 1938-1941

Box 9   Folder 2

Play index, N-R, circa 1938-1941

Box 9   Folder 3

Play index, S-T, circa 1938-1941

Box 9   Folder 4

Play index, U-Z, circa 1938-1941

Box 9   Folder 5

Play index, A-G, circa 1938-1941

Box 9   Folder 6

Play index, H-M, circa 1938-1941

Box 9   Folder 7

Play index, N-R, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 1

Play index, S-Z, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 2

Play index, A-D, final list, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 3

Play index, E-H, final list, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 4

Play index, carbon copies, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 5

Play type index, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 6

Star and author index, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 7

Star index, 1838-1871, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 8

Star index, alphabetical, A-C, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 9

Star index, alphabetical, C-J, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 10

Star index corrections, circa 1938-1941

Box 10   Folder 11

Star index errata, A-W, circa 1938-1941

Series II: Course Materials

Box 11   Folder 1

Examination booklets, circa 1938-1941

Box 11   Folder 2

Examination booklets and passages, circa 1938-1941

Box 11   Folder 3

Notebooks, handwritten, three, 1938

Box 11   Folder 4

Notebooks, handwritten, two, undated

Box 12   Folder 1

Notebooks, handwritten, three, undated

Box 12   Folder 2

Notebooks, handwritten, six, undated

Box 12   Folder 3

Notebooks, handwritten, two, and examination booklets, undated

Box 12   Folder 4

Notes, bibliographies, English 396, American Literature 1919-1925, undated

Box 13   Folder 1

Notes, bibliographies, English 396, American Literature 1926-1929, undated

Box 13   Folder 2

Notes, handwritten, undated

Box 13   Folder 3

Notes, in-class discussion, undated

Box 13   Folder 4

Student papers, undated

Box 13   Folder 5

Student papers, 1937-1949

Box 13   Folder 6

Student papers, 1941-1972

Box 13   Folder 7

Student papers, 1946-1947

Box 13   Folder 8

Student papers, "Attitudes of Seventeenth Century New England Annalists toward the Indians," by William P. Randel, undated

Box 14   Folder 1

Student papers, "Chapter Two of Dissertation – English Critical Conceptions of the Poet," by Jason C. Grant, Jr., undated

Box 14   Folder 2

Student papers, "The Confidence-Man His Masquerade," by Louise E. Acker, undated

Box 14   Folder 3

Student papers, "A Consideration of the Blank Verse of Percy Bysshe Shelley," by Robert B. Ogle, English 353, undated

Box 14   Folder 4

Student papers, "Critical Comment on 'Yillah and Hautia' by H.P. Miller," by Marie Killheffer, English 363, 1937

Box 14   Folder 5

Student papers, "Dictionary Catalogue of the Short Stories About New England Published in the Atlantic Monthly from 1857-1895," by Sylvia Chace, 1933

Box 14   Folder 6

Student papers, dissertation, "Henry James – A Critic of Nineteenth Century America," by Louise Roberts, 1946

Box 14   Folder 7

Student papers, dissertation, "The Prefaces of Henry James," by Darilyn Winifred Bock, 1972

Box 14   Folder 8

Student papers, English 372 and English 387, 1947-1948

Box 15   Folder 1

Student papers, English 372 and English 387, class notes, 1947-1954

Box 15   Folder 2

Student papers, "The Face of Ambiguity – A Study of Confidence Men in American Literature Before 1900," by Gary Engle, undated

Box 15   Folder 3

Student papers, "The Family – An Experience in Democratic Living," by Margaret Snapp, English 281, undated

Box 15   Folder 4

Student papers, "Local Color in the Stories of Cable, King, and Stuart and other Short Fiction in Louisiana, 1867-1900," by Russell B. Parks, 1933

Box 15   Folder 5

Student papers, "The Magazine Story of the Southwest 1869-1900," by Luella Ruth Culbertson, English 211, undated

Box 15   Folder 6

Student papers, "Melville and the Writing of Mardi," by W.B. Moffett, English 363, undated

Box 15   Folder 7

Student papers, "Melville's Attitude toward Democracy as Revealed in Mardi," undated

Box 15   Folder 8

Student papers, "New York State in Periodical Fiction, 1867-1900," by Dorothy Richardson, English 211, 1933

Box 15   Folder 9

Student papers, "On the Beach at Night," undated

Box 15   Folder 10

Student papers, "Part I – Expatriate America, 1919-1933," undated

Box 15   Folder 11

Student papers, "Primitivism and Anti-Primitivism in Certain Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Writings Concerning New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey," by Alice J. Russell, English 270, undated

Box 15   Folder 12

Student papers, "Primitivism in Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina from 1606-1740," by Hugh Sebastian, English 270, 1933

Box 15   Folder 13

Student papers, "Quentin Anderson's Interpretation of The Wings of the Dove," Marilyn Lyde, undated

Box 15   Folder 14

Student papers, "The Relationship of the Main Characters in Melville's Redburn, Typee, Omoo, and White-Jacket," by G.A. Korntheuer, English 378, 1947

Box 15   Folder 15

Student papers, "The Religion of Matthew Arnold," undated

Box 15   Folder 16

Student papers, "Review of Hemingway's Work During the Nineteen-Twenties and A Review of The Smart Set, 1920-1921," by Walter E. Puckett, 1953

Box 15   Folder 17

Student papers, "A Review of 'Mardi' by Melville," by Emily B. Garrett, English 363, 1937

Box 15   Folder 18

Student papers, "Shelleyan Morality – A Study of Opinions to the Twentieth Century," by James Light, undated

Box 15   Folder 19

Student papers, "A Study of the Prose Fiction of Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin Appearing in the Leading American Periodicals from 1865 to 1900," thesis by James K. Ray, 1933

Box 15   Folder 20

Student papers, "Thomas Wolfe," by Edith Calstein, English 305, 1946

Box 16   Folder 1

Student papers, "Time Held Me Green and Dying," by John Stuart Williams, 1955

Box 16   Folder 2

Student papers, "The Use of Symbolism in Melville's Earlier Novels, With Special Consideration of Redburn," undated

Box 16   Folder 3

Student papers, "Whitman's America," by Julia White, English 380, 1946

Box 16   Folder 4

Student thesis, partial copy, undated

Series III: Publications

Box 16   Folder 5

"China's Black Chamber," by Herbert O. Yardley and Carl Grabo, chapters 1-18, draft, 1938

Box 16   Folder 6

"China's Black Chamber," by Herbert O. Yardley and Carl Grabo, chapters 19-21, drafts, 1938

Box 16   Folder 7

Convocation addresses and publications, 1927-1962

Box 16   Folder 8

"Herman Melville's Gedankengut," by Dr. K.H. Sundermann, copy, undated

Box 16   Folder 9

Publications, articles and addresses, 1938-1958

Box 16   Folder 10

Writers' Project and Sponsors' Contributions records, 1940

Series IV: Correspondence

Box 16   Folder 11

1929-1975

Box 16   Folder 12

Bierce, Ambrose, 1899-1905

Box 17   Folder 1

Faulkner, Kenneth, 1914-1918

Box 17   Folder 2

Faulkner, Kenneth, 1917-1974

Series V: Biographical and Personal

Box 17   Folder 3

Condolence letters to William McCollum on the death of Napier Wilt, 1975

Box 17   Folder 4

Convocations and rewards for Napier Wilt, 1955-1974

Box 17   Folder 5

Correspondence about and draft of Napier Wilt's final will, 1955

Box 17   Folder 6

Correspondence, Charles Good to Catherine Sturtevant, on theater premieres and shows, 1930-1932

Series VI: Restricted

Box 18   Folder 1

Student papers, circa 1920s-1940s

Box 18   Folder 2

Student papers, 1925-1946

Box 18   Folder 3

Student papers, 1936-1941

Box 18   Folder 4

Student papers, 1940-1946

Box 18   Folder 5

Student papers, 1946-1956

Box 19   Folder 1

Student papers, "A Comparative Study of the Critical Viewpoints of Matthew Arnold and Thomas Stearns Eliot," by Edith Stover, English 357, circa 1943-1946

Box 19   Folder 2

Student papers, "John Steinbeck – His Technique in Some of His Fictional Works," by Catherine W. Davis, English 305, 1946

Box 19   Folder 3

Student papers, "Memories of Joan," by Philip A. Davis, English 282, 1946

Box 19   Folder 4

Student papers, "Percy Bysshe Shelley's 'Ode to the West Wind'," by B.L. Foyer, English 352A, circa 1943-1946

Box 19   Folder 5

Student papers, "The Relation Between Shelley and Keats," by Flora Bramson, English 353, 1943

Box 19   Folder 6

Student papers, "A Technical Study of the Novels of Gwen Bristow with Special Emphasis upon Tomorrow is Forever," by Henry C. Grant, English 305, 1946

Box 19   Folder 7

Student papers, "William Faulkner," by John Breckshot, circa 1943-1946