The J. Searle Dawley papers span the years 1907-1947 (bulk 1907-1923) and encompass 0.5 linear foot.
The collection consists of a small amount of production information, most notably four scripts for Edison
shorts from 1910 and 1911. There is a small amount of correspondence, notes for Dawley's memoirs,
clippings, time books, and a scrapbook of mostly unidentified photographs from Edison films.
James Searle Dawley was an American director, screenwriter, and actor active in film from 1907 to the
mid-1920s. He was hired by Edwin S. Porter in 1907 as a director for the Edison Company and he went on to
direct more than 200 Edison films, including FRANKENSTEIN (1910) and THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE
(1912). In 1912 Porter hired Dawley to direct features for the Famous Players Company. His first was TESS
OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1913), and he directed thirteen more before leaving Famous Players in 1913 to start
his own company, Dyreda. The company lasted for more than a year before it was bought out by Metro
Pictures. Dawley returned to Paramount, where he made such films as SNOW WHITE (1916) and UNCLE TOM'S
CABIN (1918). He left Paramount in 1918 to get married and freelanced for several years before joining
Fox Films in 1921. He directed two sound shorts for Lee Deforest, ABRAHAM LINCOLN and LOVE'S OLD SWEET
SONG, which were released in 1924. After retiring from films, Dawley tried various businesses before
working in radio from the end of the 1920s through the middle of the 1930s.
0.5 linear feet of papers.
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