Finding Aid to the Robert Allerton Parker Papers, 1927-1970

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This finding aid has been filmed for the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States (Chadwyck-Healey Inc.)


Arts and Humanities --Performing Arts --Theater Arts and Humanities --Literature --Criticism and Theory

Finding Aid to the Robert Allerton Parker Papers, 1927-1970

Collection number: BANC MSS 71/235 z

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1971
Encoded by:
Charlotte Gerstein
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Robert Allerton Parker Papers,
Date (inclusive): 1927-1970
Collection Number: BANC MSS 71/235 z
Creator: Parker, Robert Allerton
Extent: Number of containers: 2 boxes, 4 cartons, 1 oversize folder
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Abstract: Correspondence, mainly about his writing; mss., with related materials, of his biographies; articles and book reviews by him relating to art and the theater; mss. of film scenarios and plays; unfinished ms. on the theater in America; unpublished novel based on the Donner Party; notes; and subject files.
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Robert Allerton Parker Papers, BANC MSS 71/235 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Materials Cataloged Separately

  • Books, written by Parker, which came with the collection, have been removed for separate cataloging.
  • Photographs have been transferred to the Portrait Collection of The Bancroft Library.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The collection was given to The Bancroft Library by Parker's widow, Mrs. Robert Allerton Parker, on May 13, 1971.

Biographical Sketch

Robert Allerton Parker (1888-1970), American journalist, editor, biographer and critic, born and raised in Alameda, California, and a graduate of the University of California in 1909, was to reside most of his life in New York. From associate editor of Current Opinion (1914-1920), Parker turned to writing and editing for magazines of art - Arts & Decoration, The Arts, and The International Studio. He undertook several biographies -that of John Humphreys Noyes, founder of the Oneida Community of Perfectionists, A Yankee Saint (1935); Father Divine, The Incredible Messiah (1937); and a study of the Quaker family, the Logan Pearsall Smiths, in The Transatlantic Smiths (1959).
Parker was instrumental in the publication in 1944 of Dr. Gladys I. Wade's book, Thomas Traherne, for which he compiled an exhaustive bibliography. He also wrote an introduction to Ananda Coomaraswamy's essays, Am I My Brother's Keeper?, published in 1947, in an attempt to obtain the Nobel Prize for the Indian mystic.
His interest in the history of the American West led to a much reworked unpublished novel, Ox Train, based on the experiences of the Donner Party. At the time of his death, in 1970, Parker was working on a history of the theater in America, with special attention to vaudeville and to the theater in San Francisco.

Scope and Content

The papers include correspondence with authors of note, mainly commenting on or relating to his writings; manuscripts and related materials for his published biographies, and for his translation of Louis Ferdinand Céline's Mea Culpa (1937), as well as manuscripts of some of his unpublished work; book reviews by him; manuscripts of plays and film scenarios; tear sheets of many articles relating mainly to art; outlines and portions of unfinished works dealing with the theater in America; and extensive notes and subject files on the theater and other subjects. The Key to Arrangement which follows describes the collection in greater detail.

Key to Arrangement

Box 1

Letters written by Robert Allerton Parker, 1940-1961.

Scope and Content Note

Typed drafts, carbon copies and holograph. These contain autobiographical information, and often relate to the biographies he was writing.
Boxes 1-2

Letters written to Parker

Additional Note

Arranged alphabetically by name of person or organization. A miscellany of single letters is in Box 1; the rest of the letters in Box 2.
They comment in general on his work or contain information on the subjects of his biographies.
A partial list of correspondents follows the Key to Arrangement.
carton Cartons 1-3

Writings by Parker

Carton 1

The Incredible Messiah

Scope and Content Note

Newspaper clippings concerning Father Divine; book reviews.

Mea Culpa

Scope and Content Note

Material relating to Destouches (Céline), including clippings, The Monstrous Giant Céline by Milton Hindus, etc.; reviews of the book, which Robert Allerton Parker translated from the French.

Thomas Traherne

Scope and Content Note

Notes for book by Gladys I. Wade, for which Parker prepared a selected bibliography.

The Transatlantic Smiths

Scope and Content Note

Incomplete draft; revised typescript; editorial revisions; reviews.

How to Write

Scope and Content Note

Notes and clippings; unpublished manuscript.

A Yankee Saint

Scope and Content Note

Notes and materials for the book; book reviews.
Carton 2

Ox Train

Scope and Content Note

Notes and preface; manuscript, with revisions. Unpublished novel based on the Donner Party, with alternate titles, Wagon Train, Undiscovered Country, This Is My Body.
Carton 3

Book reviews by Parker


Outlines for proposed books or articles

Scope and Content Note

Hunger-famine; The Magic of Line; Night Life; Orpheus in Paris; Pacific Panorama; Portraits in Prose

Film scenarios

Scope and Content Note

Cairo; The Donner Party; Fifty-second Street; Hortense; Light in Newgate; Oasis; Song of My Life; Tusitala or Teller of Tales


Scope and Content Note

Fragments of two plays; 5050; The Lost Leader (Act 2 only); The Three Strangers

Articles, many relating to art

Scope and Content Note

"Actors of Songs;" (photocopy) "Alfred Stevens: The Beau Sabreur...;" "Antonio Moro ...;" article on tabernacle belonging to Noël Sullivan, with photograph; "Be Kind to Things" (Draft, complete?); "Caf' Con' and Cabaret;" "Copy Cat" (Clippings of his column); "Creating a New Europe;" "The Drawings of George Seurat;" "Drawings of the Musée Bonnat at Bayonne," with photographs of the drawings; "Emma Ciardi" (translation of article by Paul Léautaud, with photographs of Emma Ciardi's paintings); "Engravings of the Quattrocento;" "Gabriel de St. Aubin and his Brothers;" "The Genius of Jacques Callot;" "The Ladies and Mr. Henry James;" "The Little Portraits of Corneille de Lyon;" "The Masters on Modern Art;" "The Miracle of Poussin's Drawings;" "Modernity and the Drawings of Claude;" "Notes on Drawings at the Fogg Museum;" "Old Masters of the Upper Rhine;" "A Petit-Maitre of the Eighteenth Century;" "A Poet of Old Paris Walls;" "Receptivity or Discovery?" "The Revaluation of Lucas Cranach;" "Samuel Butler: The Art Student and Art Critic;" "Sidelights on the James Family;" "Such Pulp as Dreams Are Made On;" "Too Late in London." Some of these are manuscripts, but for the most part they are tear sheets of the printed articles.

Incomplete articles on art


The Audience

Scope and Content Note

Drafts, notes, outlines; introduction, chapter 1, and fragments of manuscript, an unfinished book Parker was working on at the time of his death.
See also notes and drafts on the Vaudeville Orpheum in Ctn. 4.


Original finding aid refers to Ctn. 5.

Revolution in Amusement

Scope and Content Note

Outline and portions of the manuscript. The subject material ties in with that of The Audience.
See also material in Ctn. 4.


Original finding aid refers to Ctn. 5.

Fragments of MSS

Carton 4

Notes kept by Parker in daybooks, 1947-1963 (9 v.)


Notes on variety shows and the theatre

Physical Description: (3 notebooks)

Miscellaneous subject files including clippings, notes, etc.


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers




Balzac's Comédie Humaine












Henry James


Las Vegas








Mass observation


Edweard Muybridge








Shadow plays










Vaudeville - Orpheum

Additional Note

The Orpheum triumvirate, Martin Beck, Maude Allan, Sarah Bernhardt, Lily Langtree, performers and acts
folder Oversize folder

Vogue magazine layout

Scope and Content Note

Re The Transatlantic Smiths

Partial List of Correspondents


A-Z Miscellany


Adlard, John


Letter, Dec. 25, 1961


Arensberg, Walter Conrad, 1878-


Letter, June 1, 1942


Barton, Bruce, 1886-


Letter, Jan. 20, 1936


Benét, William Rose, 1886-


Letter, Jan. 14, 1939


Bernays, Edward L., 1891-


Letter, Jan. 29, 1943


Borsodi, Ralph, 1888-


Letter, Sept. 28, 1943


Boston. Museum of Fine Arts


Letter, Apr. 23, 1945, by G. H. Edgell


Botterell, D. R.


Letter, June 8, [1959?]

Scope and Content Note

Re her recollections of members of the Smith family.

Buck, Pearl (Sydenstricker), 1892-


Letter, Oct. 31, 1944


Burrow, Trigant, 1875-


Letter, Feb. 23, 1938


Cantwell, Robert Emmett, 1908-


Letter, Nov. 16, 1935


Derleth, August William, 1909-


Letter, Mar. 23, 1943


Desroches, Henri Charles


Letter, Oct. 9, 1957


De Voto, Bernard Augustine, 1897-


Letter, [1935]


Dobell, Percy John


Letter, May 4, 1940


Doubleday, Doran and Company


Letter, Nov. 23, 1943, by Le Baron R. Barker


Dreiser, Theodore, 1871-1945


Letter, Nov. 1, 1938


Duke University. Press


Letter, Feb. 12, 1941, by F. C. Brown


Eaton, Gai


Letter, July 6, 1949


Edgerton, Franklin, 1885-


Letter, May 8, 1945


Ellis, Havelock, 1859-1939


Letter, Dec. 13, 1935


Field, Oliver Peter, 1897-


Letter, Nov. 4, 1950


Fitt, Frank


Letter, Aug. 13, 1959

Scope and Content Note

Re Oxford Religious Movement, Bertrand Russell, etc.

Flexner, James Thomas, 1908-


Letter, Apr. 5, 1959


Fremantle, Anne (Jackson), 1909-


Letter, May 13, n.y.


Friends of Emma Goldman


Letter, Apr. 5, 1940, by John Haynes Holmes


Gathorne-Hardy, Robert 1902-


Letter, May 25, 1959

Scope and Content Note

Re Logan P. Smith

Hall, Adelaide Brooks (Mrs. Robert C. Hall)


Letter, Aug. 22, 1956

Scope and Content Note

Re Smith family

Hare, Constance (Mrs. Montgomery Hare)


Letter, Sept. 15, [1959]

Scope and Content Note

Re her recollections of Henry James, B. Berenson, et al.

Harvard University. Press


Letter, Feb. 14, 1941, by Dumas Malone


Heard, Gerald, 1889-


Letter, Apr. 22, 1937


Hindus, Milton


Letter, Apr. 20, 1947


Hough, Graham Goulden, 1908-


Letter, May 21, 1949


Houghton Mifflin Company


Letter, June 26, 1944, by Paul Brooks


Huxley, Aldous Leonard, 1894-1963


Letter, July 26, 1937


Johnson, Alvin Saunders, 1874-


Letter, Nov. 1, 1935


Kerenskii, Aleksandr Fedorovich, 1881-


Letter, Nov. 9, 1943


Knepper, Olga Chekhova




Kummer, George Nicholas


Letter, Mar. 30, 1966


Lancaster, Henry Carrington, 1882-


Letter, Jan. 6, 1941


Lanham, Edwin Moultrie, 1904-


Letter, Dec. 3, 1935


Lloyd, John William


Letter, Apr. 10, 1936


Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1952


Letter, n.d.


Macdonald, Allan Houston, 1901-1951


Letter, Nov. 23, 1935


Markevitch, Igor


Letter, Aug. 9, 1956

Scope and Content Note

Re his recollections of Mrs. Berenson

Marshall, Sarah Catherine (Wood), 1914-


Letter, May 15, 1961

Additional Note

Signed Catherine Marshall LeSourd

Maurois, André, 1885-


Letter, Jan. 31, 1942


Maurois, Simone (de Caillavet) (Mrs. André Maurois)


Letter, [Mar. 1942?]


Montillon, Michael


Letter, Aug. 13, 1959

Scope and Content Note

Re Cyril Connolly

Neilson, Francis, 1867-


Letter, Feb. 2, 1943


New York World Telegram


Letter, Nov. 14, 1935, by Harry Hansen


Perkins, Maxwell Evarts, 1884-


Letter, Nov. 22, 1943


Plumer, James Marshall


Letter, Mar. 12, 1945


Putnam's (G. P.) Sons


Letter, Aug. 17, 1938, by E. H. Balch


Read, Sir Herbert, 1893-


Letter, Apr. 19, 1946


Reyneau, Betsy Graves


Letter, Apr. 23, 1960

Additional Note

Reminiscences re Walt Whitman, Bertrand Russell

Seldes, Gilbert, 1893-


Letter, n.d.

Scope and Content Note

Re his interest in J. H. Noyes

Slater, John Rothwell, 1872-


Letter, May 21, 1942

Scope and Content Note

Re his work on Traherne

Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


Letter, Jan. 9, 1944, by Theodore Newcomb


Stillman, Clara (Gruening)


Letter, Jan. 27, 1948


White, Helen Constance, 1896-


Letter, Jan. 29, 1941


Yale University. Press


Letter, Dec. 23, 1940, by E. Davidson


Abbott, Leonard Dalton, 1878-


2 letters, 1936


Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962


9 letters, 1956-1960

Additional Note

Letter of Sept. 13, 1956, mutilated and incomplete.

Allport, Floyd Henry, 1890-


2 letters, 1942-1947


Atlantic Monthly


12 letters, 1936-1940, by Edward Weeks, Paul Hoffman and Chester B. Kerr

Scope and Content Note

Re publication of Parker's book on Father Divine.

Balch, Earle Henry, 1893-

See Putnam's (G. P.) Sons


Barker, Le Baron R., 1904-

See Doubleday, Doran and Company


Blood, Anna W., 1887-


3 letters, 1943

Scope and Content Note

Re her father Benjamin Paul Blood.

Brandt, Joseph August, 1899-

See Princeton University. Press


Brett, George Platt, 1893-

See Macmillan Company


Brown, Frank Clude, 1870-

See Duke University. Press


Canavaggia, Marie


6 letters, 1939-1947

Additional Note

One letter incomplete.

Céline, Louis Ferdinand, 1894-1961

See Destouches, Louis Ferdinand, 1894-1961


Chicago. University. Press


3 letters, 1941, by W. K. Jordan


Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish, 1877-1947


36 letters, 1943-1947

Additional Note

Copy of his book, Am I My Brother's Keeper? for which R. A. Parker wrote an introduction; review of book; and obituary included.

Coomaraswamy, Luisa


5 letters, 1945-1949


Davidson, Eugene Arthur, 1902-

See Yale University. Press


Denoël, Robert


2 letters, 1937

Scope and Content Note

Re possible French version of A Yankee Saint.

Destouches, Louis Ferdinand, 1894-1961


9 letters, 1937-[1947?]

Additional Note

Reviews for his Bagatelles pour un massacre and photographs included.
See also Carton 1 for additional material re Destouches and for reviews of R. A. Parker's translation of his Mea Culpa.


Original finding aid refers to “carton” not “Carton 1.”

Dickinson, Robert Larou, 1861-

See National Committee on Maternal Health, Inc.


Duchamp, Marcel, 1887-1968


2 letters, 1941-1942


Edgell, George Harold, 1887-

See Boston. Museum of Fine Arts


Feinberg, Charles E., 1899-


2 letters, 1960


Gilkes, Lillian Barnard, 1902-


2 letters, 1961-1962


Gogarty, Oliver St. John, 1878-1957


2 letters, 1942 and n.d.


Grierson, Margaret S.


2 letters, 1959-1960

Additional Note

1959 letter is copy of letter to Dorothy Brush re Smith family.

Hansen, Harry, 1884-

See New York World Telegram


Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.


3 letters, 1927-1941, by Harrison Smith, Frank V. Morley and Lambert Davis


Haydn, Hiram, 1907-


3 letters, 1959


Hedden, Worth Tuttle (Mrs. Walter Hedden)


2 letters, 1935


Holmes, John Haynes, 1879-

See Friends of Emma Goldman (in A-Z miscellany)


James, William, 1882-


5 letters, 1959-1960




2 letters, 1940-1941

Scope and Content Note

Contain information re Céline

Jolas, Maria


5 letters, 1936-[1959?]

Additional Note

Included is her article, "L'élégant chemin de James Joyce." Undated letter, ca. 1959, is incomplete.

Jordan, Wilbur K., 1902-

See Chicago University. Press


Kroll, Effie Evelyn


2 letters, 1959-1960

Scope and Content Note

Re Agnes Tobin

Lesourd, Catherine Marshall, 1914-

See Marshall, Sarah Catherine (Wood), 1914-


Little, Brown & Company


2 letters, 1937-1940, by Laetitia Bolton and C. Raymond Everitt


Macmillan Company


5 letters, 1934-1943, by G. P. Brett, Jr., Howard S. Cady and Lois Dwight Cole


Malone, Dumas, 1892-

See Harvard University. Press


Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 1876-


2 letters, 1927


Morley, Frank Vigor, 1899-

See Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.


Museum Press, Ltd.


17 letters, 1959-1961, by D. I. Vesey

Scope and Content Note

Re British publication of The Transatlantic Smiths.

Additional Note

Letter of May 27, 1959, incomplete.

National Committee on Maternal Health, Inc.


6 letters, 1935, by Robert L. Dickinson and Raymond Squier


Newcomb, Theodore Mead, 1903-

See Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


Northbourne, Walter Ernest Christopher James, baron, 1896-


3 letters, 1949


Noyes, George Wallingford


4 letters, 1927-1935


Noyes, Irene C. (Mrs. George Wallingford Noyes)


3 letters, 1934-1935


Noyes, Pierrepont Burt, 1870-


7 letters, 1927-1937

Scope and Content Note

Re A Yankee Saint

Princeton University. Press


26 letters, 1941-1945, by Joseph A. Brandt, Datus C. Smith

Additional Note

Re publication of Gladys I. Wade's Thomas Traherne.

Raja Singam, S. Durai


2 letters, 1947


Random House, Inc.


7 letters, 1940-1960, by Saxe Commins, Pat Rose and Mary Heathcote


Rourke, Constance Mayfield, 1885-1941


3 letters, 1938-1941


Smith, Datus Clifford, 1907-

See Princeton University. Press


Smith, Harrison, 1888-

See Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc.


Smith, Stella Worden (Noyes) (Mrs. E. Deming Smith)


6 letters, 1930-1937

Scope and Content Note

Re J. H. Noyes and the Oneida Community

Treadwell, Sophie


8 letters, 1959-1962


Vesey, Desmond Ivo

See Museum Press, Ltd.


Wade, Gladys Irene, 1895-


10 letters, 1940-1944

Scope and Content Note

Re publication of her work on Traherne

Weeks, Edward Augustus, 1898-

See Atlantic Monthly