Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Dreiser mss. IV, 1894-1951, consist of correspondence, photographs, drafts and notes for articles and stories, and printed material by and about author Theodore Dreiser, 1871-1945. The collection also contains printed material on politics, social conditions, and crime, and there are some miscellaneous items.

Dreiser was born the twelfth of thirteen children in Terre Haute, IN and attended Indiana University in Bloomington briefly before dropping out in 1890. He married Sara White in 1898, and they separated in 1909 although never formally divorced. Dreiser became a renowned author of literary naturalism (other American writers in the movement included Jack London, Edith Wharton, Frank Norris, and Stephen Crane). His best known novels are Sister Carrie (although a commercial failure at the time in 1900), Jeannie Gerhardt (1911), and An American Tragedy (1925). Politically, Dreiser was involved in socialist causes and wrote a non-fiction book, Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928), based on his experiences visiting the Soviet Union. He did not officially join the American Communist Party until shortly before his death in 1945.

Correspondents include: Mme. Chiang Mei-ling; Henry Louis Mencken; Dudley Nichols.

The manuscripts of articles and stories by Theodore Dreiser are: "An Address All to Electrons, Protrons, Neutrons, Deutrons, Quantums"; "Art"; "As the Hart Panteth After the Roe"; "Backward Asiatics"; "Challenge to the Creative Man"; "Come All Ye Who Are Weary and Heavy Laden"; "Cyrelle's Mother had the quiet unassuming manner of a gentle soul."; [Economy of America]; "England"; "The Fairy"; "Intellectual Unemployment"; "Let the Dead Bury the Dead"; "Life's Little Ironies"; "The Lost Father"; "The Man Who Changed the World, or Men Who Saved the World"; "The Man Who Wanted to be a Poet"; "My Idea of a Balanced Issue Would Be"; Notes; Notes for a Story; Popular Periodicals; Possible Story Plot; "The Problem of the Artist in the Present Day"; Short Stories; "The Stoic" (including drafts of chapters 38, 67, 76, 81, 83, 87, 88, 89, and 90, the publisher's introduction, a synopsis of the novel, a list of persons, places, business firms, etc., and summaries of five characters); "Transubstantiation"; "Why Capitalists Praise Democracy"; [World War II].

Also included are four galleys with holographic corrections of Theodore Dreiser's Today (February 7, 1934).

An inventory and a finding aid are available.

Purchase. Robert Wian III, Glendale, California. 1966

Collection size: 60 items

Related manuscripts: Dreiser mss. III, Dreiser mss.

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.