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St. Louis: eOneill.com, 2014

“At the final curtain, there they still are trapped within each other by the past, each guilty and at the same time innocent, loving, pitying each other, and understanding and yet not understanding at all, forgiving but still doomed not to be able to forget.” — O’Neill on Long Day’s Journey

A beautiful hardcover copy of A Formidable Shadow is available from Lulu.com.


After many years of reading my grandfather's name and my mother's name in almost every account of the famous playwright, Eugene Gladstone O'Neill, and his wife, Agnes Boulton, I felt it appropriate to add to the information on the Boulton family.


Chapter I

My cousin Oona and I have a history going back to 1918 when an O'Neill and a Boulton married and began an unforgettable story.


Chapter II

Life on the Jersey shore was lively, with four exuberant daughters to keep both Ted and Cecil quite busy.


Chapter III

The Boulton girls were growing up in a time of social revolution.


Chapter IV

The other Boulton daughters were growing up one by one and going off to make new lives for themselves in the outside world.


Chapter V

It was 1917 and the Boulton family found itself scattered, all six of them in various locations, keeping up a steady stream of letters to each other.


Chapter VI

The four daughters kept a running communication with each other as well as with their mother and father, and lively letters flew back and forth.


Chapter VII

The World War ended and an armistice was signed. Soldiers were returning in large numbers and people were singing in the streets.


Chapter VIII

It was early February in 1920 and O’Neill was eager to hear how Beyond the Horizon would fare as it opened at the Morosco Theatre in New York.


Chapter IX

Spring, and once more the O’Neills went to the Cape to open Peaked Hill Bars.


Chapter X

Aggie and Gene were planning their annual trip to the Cape for the summer.


Chapter XI

In the late fall of 1925, Margery joined the family at Brook Farm to help Gene on the beginning of Lazarus Laughed.


Chapter XII

At the end of October, Margery moved into the Woodville Studio with her father and mother.


Chapter XIII

At a time just before the Great Depression in 1931, Agnes was living with the two children, Shane and Oona in The Old House in West Point Pleasant, New Jersey.


Chapter XIV

In 1934 my family and I moved from Connecticut to West Point Pleasant, New Jersey.


Chapter XV
Five and a half years younger than Shane, Oona blossomed when she had his company.


Chapter XVI

The year after Oona left, we had a frightening experience involving Jimmy Delaney who was living with Agnes in The Old House.


Chapter XVII

It was 1953, the year of Eugene O’Neill’s death, when Budgie, again, found herself clipping news stories to show the family.


Chapter XVIII

Down in New Jersey at The Old House, Aggie was very ill for a short time, and died at Thanksgiving on November 25, 1968.


Chapter XIX

Suddenly I became aware that so many of our family were gone. We were totally devastated with the shocking news of Shane's death.


Chapter XX

After a time, the penthouse in New York seemed to have served its purpose.


Chapter XXI

A few final reflections I feel important to add to this story as we pass through and come to an understanding of the impact felt by others in the family.

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