University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Elwyn A. Barron Papers 1877-1921

© 2010 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Barron, Elwyn A. Papers




30 linear feet (60 boxes)


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


Elwyn A. Barron (1855-1929) was a drama critic and playwright working in Chicago between 1877 and 1895. The Elwyn A. Barron Papers contain correspondence, memorabilia, dramatic criticism, and drafts of plays, novels, and poetry.

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Barron, Elwyn A. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Elwyn Alfred Barron was born in Lima, New York, in 1855. Educated at Robert College in Tennessee between 1868 and 1872, Barron worked at the Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1877. Until 1895 he was a drama critic and editorialist for this newspaper, which served as the primary source of news for the Midwestern and Western business community during this period. His work brought him into the orbit of many renowned American actors of the period; out of this experience he published an admiring biography of the actor Lawrence Barrett in 1889. In 1884, Barron married Harriet Lee Bird.

Barron also wrote plays, novels and poetry, including Robin Hood and Rosalind (1883, with A.S. Burt), A Moral Crime (1885, with fellow Chicago journalist Morgan Bates) and The Viking (1888). Barron's work was dramatic and favored historical settings. He was comfortable with both comedy and tragedy: Robin Hood and Rosalind, termed "a perfect piece of work," by one reviewer, closed with a wedding chorus, while The Viking, set in what Lawrence Barrett called "the weird and mystical North," ended somewhat less happily.

After leaving Chicago, Barron lived in Paris and London. There he collaborated with the English playwright Wilson Barrett; together they published the novel In Old New York in 1900. Between 1900 and 1916 Barron copyrighted 11 dramatic works. His romantic drama A Mountain Pink, again with Morgan Bates, was staged in Chicago in 1900. He also published Manders: A Tale of Paris (1899, 1900) and Marcel Levignet (1906).

From 1907 Barron lived and wrote in New York City. He died in 1929.

Scope Note

The Elwyn A. Barron Papers are organized into two series:

Series I: Personal, contains correspondence and memorabilia, spaning 1885-1921.

Series II: Writings, contains criticism, plays, novels, and poetry written by Barron and others. These include clippings of reviews written by Barron while working for the Chicago Inter-Ocean, and drafts and printed copies of his non-critical writing. Material is largely undated but appears to span 1877-1921.

Related Resources

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Subject Headings


Series I: Correspondence and Personal

This series contains correspondence and memorabilia. Material spans 1885-1921.

Box 1   Folder 1

Calendar, 1885

Box 1   Folder 2

Cartoon, undated

Box 1   Folder 3

Correspondence, Wilson Barrett, 1891

Box 1   Folder 4

Correspondence, "Lily," 1920

Box 1   Folder 5

Correspondence, Harriet Lee Bird, 1921

Box 1   Folder 6

Correspondence, Unidentified, 1921

Box 1   Folder 7

Correspondence, Charles Scribner and Sons, undated

Box 1   Folder 8

Memorial, Joseph Hodges Choate, 1917

Series II: Writings

This series contains criticism, plays, novels, and poetry written by Barron and others. It is divided into five subseries:

Subseries 1: Criticism, contains clippings of editorials and reviews Barron wrote for the Chicago Inter-Ocean and other newspapers between 1877 and 1895. It includes criticism written by others and reviews of Barron's own plays. Material is organized by actor, playwright, and genre, as arranged by Barron.

Subseries 2: Plays, contains drafts of plays written by Barron and two published copies of The Viking. Much of the material is undated; it appears to date from the 1880s and 1890s. Material is organized by title.

Subseries 3: Novels, contains drafts of novels written by Barron. These are incomplete and undated. Material is arranged by title.

Subseries 4: Poetry, contains drafts of poems written by Barron. It includes clippings of published poems. All but one poem is undated. Material is organized by title.

Subseries 5: Writings by Others, contains copies of poetry and short works written by others. Material is undated and organized by author.

Subseries 1: Criticism

Box    Folder 9

Mary Anderson

Box    Folder 10

Wilson Barrett, Boucicciault, E.H. Sothern

Box    Folder 11

Bernhardt, Coquelin-Hading, Elenora Duse

Box    Folder 12

Fanny Davenport, Langtry, Mrs. Potter, Daly Company

Box    Folder 13

Florence Jefferson, Irving Terry

Box    Folder 14

James Wainwright, Helen Modjeska

Box    Folder 15

Julia Marlowe, Carter

Box    Folder 16

Margaret Mather, Jannescheck, Miln, Wyndham Company, the Kendals

Box    Folder 17

John McCullough, Slaving, Clara Morris, Rhea

Box    Folder 18

Palmer Company, Halliard

Box 2   Folder 1

Rosina Vokes

Box 2   Folder 2

Miscellaneous actors, burlesques and farces

Box 2   Folder 3

Lyceum Company, "Die Muenchener," Possart, Steele MacKaye

Box 2   Folder 4

Dramatic essays, John Drew, W.H. Crane, Morris, Goodwin, Sol Smith Russell

Box 2   Folder 5

Sunday leaders, new plays

Box 2   Folder 6

The Viking

Box 2   Folder 7


Box 2   Folder 8


Box 2   Folder 9

Contributions to the New York Mirror, Intercepted Letters, miscellaneous criticism

Box 2   Folder 10

Editorials, distinguished men

Box 2   Folder 11

Scraps in verse and prose

Box 2   Folder 12

Editorials, miscellaneous topics

Box 2   Folder 13


Box 2   Folder 14


Box 3   Folder 1

New plays

Box 3   Folder 2


Box 3   Folder 3


Box 3   Folder 4

A Moral Crime

Box 3   Folder 5

Foreign productions

Box 3   Folder 6

John McCullough

Box 3   Folder 7

General criticism

Subseries 2: Plays

Box 4   Folder 1

The Duke's Wife, undated

Box 4   Folder 2

The King's Mate, undated

Box 4   Folder 3

A Moral Crime, synopsis, with Morgan Bates, circa 1885

Box 4   Folder 4

Playing the Game, undated

Box 4   Folder 5

Robin Hood and Rosalind: A Comedy in Two Acts, with A.S. Burt, circa 1883

Box 4   Folder 6

Triangles, undated

Box 4   Folder 7


Box 4   Folder 8

Unidentified, Act II

Box 4   Folder 9

Unidentified, Act II and III

Box 4   Folder 10-11

The Viking, 1888

Box 5   Folder 1

The Viking, Act II

Box 5   Folder 2

The Viking, Act III

Box 5   Folder 3

The Viking, Act IV

  • Folder4: The Viking, p. 20
Box 5   Folder 5

When Bess Was Queen, circa 1894

Subseries 3: Novels

Box 5   Folder 6

The Applebee Family

Box 5   Folder 7

A Brat O' Darkness

Box 5   Folder 8

In The Dusk of the Old South

Box 5   Folder 9-10

A Soul's Adventure

Box 6   Folder 1

Tu N'es Plus Rien?

Subseries 4: Poetry

Box 6   Folder 2

"An Appreciation"

Box 6   Folder 3

"Art vs. Artichokes"

Box 6   Folder 4

"The Bow Carver"

Box 6   Folder 5

"The Builder"

Box 6   Folder 6

"Chrono to Cotytto"

Box 6   Folder 7

"The Failure"

Box 6   Folder 8

"For a Box of Smokes"

Box 6   Folder 9

"Fortune's Lord"

Box 6   Folder 10

"The Harbinger"

Box 6   Folder 11

"In Re the Day's Beneficence"

Box 6   Folder 12

"The Legend of Tululah"

Box 6   Folder 13

"On Receiving a Casket of Tea," 1921

Box 6   Folder 14


Box 6   Folder 15

"Our Boys in the War"

Box 6   Folder 16

"Pietro Loquilor"

Box 6   Folder 17

"The Rueful Fate of Tommy Brown"

Box 6   Folder 18

"The Show-me Choice"

Box 6   Folder 19

"Stone Mountain Memorial"

Box 6   Folder 20

"The Two Messengers"

Box 6   Folder 21

Printed poems, circa 1890s

Box 6   Folder 22

Untitled drafts

Subseries 5: Writings by Others

Box 6   Folder 23

Jefferson, C.E., "The Cause of the War," undated

Box 6   Folder 24

Macbeth and Conway, The Great Fright, dust jacket, undated

Box 6   Folder 25

"A Short Tale of a Pursuit in Tracing the History of a Rubens," undated

Box 6   Folder 26

Wobern, Raynal, poems