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Introduction     I     II     III     IV     V

Eugene (Gladstone) O'Neill  Papers

Finding aid created by Diana Burnham
Copyright © 1998 by The New York Public Library.

Shelf Location



Acquired by gift and purchase from various sources. The bulk of the material the letters, poems and snapshots sent to Beatrice Ashe Maher, were purchased from her in 1969. Other important items were part of the acquisition of the American Play Company Archives in 1966. Individual source information is given whenever possible.


Access to the collection is to qualified scholars and researchers through the Office of Special Collections, Room 316.

Preferred Citation

(Identification of item), Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, The New York Public Library

Scope and Content

This is a synthetic collection that includes manuscripts, letters and photographs, as well as manuscripts and letters relating to the author. A significant part of the collection consists of 60 letters, 13 poems and seven snapshots that were the property of the recipient, Mrs. Beatrice Ashe Maher of New London, Connecticut. The letters were written between 1914 and 1915 with one exception that dates from July, 1916. During this period, O’Neill was taking a playwriting course at Harvard with Professor George Pierce Baker and Thirst and Other One-Act Plays, his first book, was being published. O’Neill met Miss Ashe in 1914 when she was not quite 18 and he was 25. The contents of the letters ranges from discussions of the author’s work to personal hopes, ambitions and health. The poems are mostly love poems to her.

Other important material comes from the archives of the American Play Company and consists of 44 pieces, including typescripts (some with manuscript corrections), memorandum and legal documents (predominantly contracts and rights) that were created in the regular course of business. In certain cases, the typescript may be the only known copies of various texts.


Series I Manuscripts

Series II Manuscripts relating to Eugene O’Neill

Series III Outgoing correspondence

Series IV Correspondence relating to Eugene O’Neill

Series V Photographs


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