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TARKINGTON, BOOTH (1869-1946)

Booth Tarkington (1869–1946), native of Indianapolis and student at Purdue and Princeton universities (Princeton Class of 1893), was perhaps Indiana's most famous author, both as a playwright and as novelist. His best-known works were written in the first decades of the twentieth century: The Gentleman from Indiana (1899), Penrod (1910), Seventeen (1917), The Magnificent Ambersons (1918), and Alice Adams (1921). The last two won Pulitzer Prizes.

  • Over 600 books and pamphlets by or with contributions by Tarkington and a nearly complete file of the hundreds of periodicals containing contributions by or about him. Much of this published material is of considerable rarity. There are some annotated copies of interest, such as a copy of The Guardian (New York, 1907) by Tarkington and Harry Leon Wilson, with a presentation inscription from Tarkington to Willian Hereford, and extensive revisions in Tarkington's hand. For particulars giving backround about this material refer to: "The Booth Tarkington Papers" in the Princeton University Library Chronicle XII, 2 (Winter, 1951) pp.91-92 [full text].

    An important segment of the Tarkington holdings are some 700+ volumes catalogued as a collection and supplied with a 117 page finding aid [full text of this listing] and are stored at ReCAP. The Princeton collection is a composite from the original collections of Barton Currie, Julian Street, Howard Fischer, Theodore Newbold, Elizabeth Stanley Trotter (Tarkington's personal secretary), and Booth Tarkington. Many items are inscribed by Tarkington to former owners or contain Tarkington's bookplate. The finding aid details in full any and all inscriptions in the books. Earliest accession in this collection dates to 1950, when Mrs. Booth Tarkington donated her husband's papers. Other significant accession dates include Barton Currie's 1958 gift, Julian Street's 1979 gift, and Elizabeth Stanley Trotter's 1974 gift. These 700+ volumes are arranged in the order as listed in Russo's bibliography (see below). Other printed material related to and owned by Booth Tarkington can be found in section VII. Printed Material/Magazines, Boxes 222-252, of the Booth Tarkington papers, 1812-1956 (C0062) in the mss. collections located at Princeton University Library.

    A copy of Russo's bibliography has been partially checked against Library holdings and is available in the Dulles Reading Room: Dorothy Ritter Russo. A Bibliography of Booth Tarkington 1869-1946. (Indianapolis, 1949) [(ExB) 3952.75.079]

    See also: An Exhibition of Booth Tarkington's Works in the Treasure Room of the Princeton University Library, March-April, 1946 [(Ex) 3952.75.862]

  • Booth Tarkington was an actor and presiden of Princeton's Dramatic Association, which ultimatly became the Triangle Club. The archives houses the Triangle Club archives as well as some additonal mentions of Tarkington.

Research Tools for Printed Material (Books, Maps, Prints, etc.)

Related Collections in Finding Aids

Notable Holdings

  • Booth Tarkington Papers, 1812-1956

    The collection consists of the writings and correspondence of Tarkington (Princeton Class of 1893), one of the most prolific authors of his time.

  • Booth Tarkington Collection

    The collection contains miscellaneous letters and memorabilia of Tarkington. Included are letters to Grace Elliston, a \Mr. Johnson,\ a \Mr. Gibson,\ a \Mr. Phillips,\ and a \Mrs.

  • Booth Tarkington Letters to the Burrages

    The collection consists of 42 letters by Tarkington to Mildred and Madeleine Burrage, friends that he and his wife made in Kennebunkport, Maine. Included are typed transcripts (Xeroxes) of the letters, with footnotes.