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Collection Number: 12000

Collection Title: Augustus Thomas Papers, circa 1869-1974

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size 24.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 3,200 items)
Abstract Augustus Thomas wrote popular plays, such as Alabama and Arizona, during the 1890s and the first fifteen years of the twentieth century. In all, he wrote or adapted more than 100 plays, though not all were published. Thomas also was a leader in dramatic organizations and an active participant in the Democratic Party and in debates about political questions of his day. He was married to Lisle Colby Thomas. The collection contains manuscript versions of seventy-five of Augustus Thomas's plays. Other materials include professional correspondence, chiefly concerning plays, actors, and other topics relating to the theater and publishing, and one letter, 1924, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Thomas, asking his advice as a delegate of the Democratic National Convention; personal correspondence consisting mainly of letters from Thomas to his son Luke Thomas, September 1910-June 1914, and chiefly concerning daily activities and the health of family members; speeches, eulogies, essays, and other miscellaneous writings; clippings of Augustus Thomas's cartoons; articles about his career; numerous reviews of his plays; telegrams sent to Lisle Colby Thomas on her husband's death; a typescript copy of her A Well-known Playwright's Wife; a sketch book with drawings and personal messages addressed to Thomas from various artists, including Frederic Remington; the program from a 1909 Lambs Club fund-raising event; and a copy of the privately published honeymoon diary of Augustus Thomas's daughter, Glory Thomas Elliott, describing her trip to England and France in 1924. There are also a 35mm black-and-white sound film, circa 1919-1930, of Augustus Thomas and the actor Francis Wilson conversing in Clearwater, Fla., and related film notes, 1974, by Ronald Davis.
Creator Thomas, Augustus, 1857-1934.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Use of visual materials may require production of viewing copies.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Augustus Thomas Papers, #12000, Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Alternate Form of Material
Microfilm copy (filmed August 2004) available.
  • Reel 1
  • Reel 2
  • Reel 3
  • Reel 4
Acquisitions Information
Purchase and gifts 1949-1979
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

After early years as a journalist, Augustus Thomas wrote popular plays, such as Alabama and Arizona, during the 1890s and the first fifteen years of the twentieth century. In all, he wrote or adapted more than 100 plays, though not all were published. Thomas was a leader in dramatic organizations and in the Democratic Party and in debates about political questions of his day. He was married to Lisle Colby Thomas, sister of Bainbridge Colby, who served as United States secretary of state, 1920-1921.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection contains manuscript versions of seventy-five of Augustus Thomas's plays. Other materials include professional correspondence, chiefly concerning plays, actors, and other topics relating to the theater and publishing, and one letter, 1924, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Thomas, asking his advice as a delegate of the Democratic National Convention; personal correspondence consisting mainly of letters from Thomas to his son Luke Thomas, September 1910-June 1914, and chiefly concerning daily activities and the health of family members; speeches, eulogies, essays, and other miscellaneous writings; clippings of Augustus Thomas's cartoons; articles about his career; numerous reviews of his plays; telegrams sent to Lisle Colby Thomas on her husband's death; a typescript copy of her A Well-known Playwright's Wife; a sketch book with drawings and personal messages addressed to Thomas from various artists, including Frederic Remington; the program from a 1909 Lambs Club fund-raising event; and a copy of the privately published honeymoon diary of Augustus Thomas's daughter, Glory Thomas Elliott, describing her trip to England and France in 1924. There are also a 35mm black-and-white sound film, circa 1919-1930, of Augustus Thomas and the actor Francis Wilson conversing in Clearwater, Fla., and related film notes, 1974, by Ronald Davis.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Plays, 1880-1939.

2,700 items.

Arrangement: Alphabetical.

Manuscript versions of seventy-five of Augustus Thomas's plays and screenplays, many of which were never published. Some manuscripts may be of adaptations.

Box 1

"After Thoughts" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 1

Alabama #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 1

Box 2-3

Box 2

Box 3

As a Man Thinks #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 2-3

Box 3

"At Bay" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 3

"At Liberty" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 3

"The Baron" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 3

Box 4

"The Battle Cry" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 4

Box 4-5

Box 4

Box 5

"The Blue Devil" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 4-5

Box 5

"The Boars Head Inn" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 5

"The Burglar" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 5

Box 6

"By-Law Number 5" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 6

Box 7

The Capitol #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 7

"The Catspaw" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 7

"Champagne Charlie" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 7

Box 8

"Colonel Carter of Cartersville" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 8

"Colonel George of Mt. Vernon" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 8

Box 9

Colorado #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 9

Box 27

"A Constitutional Point" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 27

Box 9-10

Box 9

Box 10

Copperhead #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 9-10

Box 10

"The Cricket of Palmy Days" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 10

De Lancey #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 10

Box 11

"A Desperate Remedy" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 11

"A Dress Suit" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 11

The Earl of Pawtucket #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 11

The Education of Mr. Pipp #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 11

"Un Episode" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 11

Box 12

The Embassy Ball #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 12

"Fate Sits Weaving" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 12

"Friendly Voices" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 12

"Georgie Porgie" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 12

Box 13

Harvest Moon #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 13

"Holly Tree Inn" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 13

The Hoosier Doctor #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 13

In Mizzoura #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 13

Box 14

Indian Summer #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 14

"The Jucklins" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 14

"The King and the Footpad" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 14

Box 15

"Last Call" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

"Leaf from the Woods" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

Box 14

"Love Will Find a Way" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 14

Box 15

"Man of the World" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

Man Upstairs #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

"The Masqueraders" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

"Matinee Idol" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

"Miscellaneous" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 15

Box 16

"Meddler" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 16

"Member from Ozark" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 16

Box 17

"Mere Man" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 17

Model (Motion Picture Scenario) #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 17

Motion Picture Scenarios #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 17

"Mrs. Leffingwell's Boots" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 17

Box 18

"Mule Shoe" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 18

"Music Box" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 18

"Nan" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 18

"Nellie" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 18

Box 19

Nemesis #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 19

New Blood #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 19

"New Year's Call" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 19

Box 20

Oliver Goldsmith #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 20

On the Quiet #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 20

Box 21

Other Girl #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 21

"Outside Man" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 21

"Pittsburg" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 21

"A Proper Impropriety" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 21

Box 22

"Racing Sketch" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 22

"The Rangers" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 22

"The Roman Coin" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 22

"A Social Fiction" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 22

Soldiers of Fortune #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 22

Box 23

"Song of the Dragon" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 23

"The Soul Machine" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 23

Box 24

"The Spider's Web" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 24

"The Spinner" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 24

Still Waters #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 24

"A Studio Picture" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 24

"Surrender" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 24

Box 25

"The Tent of Pompey" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 25

"Texas" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 25

"That Overcoat" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 25

Box 26

"Vanishing Lady" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 26

Box 27

The Witching Hour #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 27

"A Woman of the World" #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 27

Box 28

Cymbeline #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 28

Hamlet #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 28

The Merchant of Venice #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 28

Twelfth Night #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 28

When Knighthood Was In Flower #12000, Series: "1. Plays, 1880-1939." Box 28

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Other Materials, 1869-1974.

800 items.

Other materials include professional correspondence, chiefly concerning plays, actors, and other topics relating to the theater and publishing, and one letter, 1924, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Thomas, asking his advice as a delegate of the Democratic National Convention; personal correspondence consisting mainly of letters from Thomas to his son Luke Thomas, September 1910-June 1914, and chiefly concerning daily activities and the health of family members; speeches, eulogies, essays, and other miscellaneous writings; clippings of Augustus Thomas's cartoons; articles about his career; numerous reviews of his plays; telegrams sent to Lisle Colby Thomas on her husband's death; a typescript copy of her A Well-known Playwright's Wife; a sketch book with drawings and personal messages addressed to Thomas from various artists, including Frederic Remington; the program from a 1909 Lambs Club fund-raising event; and a copy of the privately published honeymoon diary of Augustus Thomas's daughter, Glory Thomas Elliott, describing her trip to England and France in 1924. There are also a 35mm black-and-white sound film, circa 1919-1930, of Augustus Thomas and the actor Francis Wilson conversing in Clearwater, Fla., and related film notes, 1974, by Ronald Davis.

Box 29

Correspondence, 1869-1939 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Correspondence mainly concerns plays, actors, and other topics relating to the theater and are between Augustus Thomas and various actors, theater organizations, and publishers. There is also a letter from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Augustus Thomas, dated 1924, asking his advice as a delegate of the Democratic National Convention. A copy of Augustus Thomas's reply is included.

Poetry #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Handwritten drafts of poetry by unidentified authors.

Lisle Colby Thomas, telegrams, 1934 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Sent following the death of Augustus Thomas.

Miscellaneous manuscripts and typescripts #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Miscellaneous notes on playwriting #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Playbills and programs #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Sketches, pamphlets, and miscellaneous items #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Addresses #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Funeral addresses #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Published addresses #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Prefaces #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Manuscripts for essays and articles #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Published periodical articles #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Synopses of plays and motion picture scenarios #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 29

Box 30

Scrapbook #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 30

Primarily clippings reviewing Augustus Thomas's plays. Scrapbook is self-adhesive with "Mark Twain's Scrapboook" printed on the cover.

Harvest Moon Reviews #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 30

Clippings and publicity materials #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 30

Relating to various plays and theatrical organizations.

Box 31

Scrapbooks #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 31

Three volumes of clippings with reviews of Augustus Thomas's plays, programs from his plays, and letters from actors, publishers, and theatrical organizations.

Lisle Colby Thomas, memoirs #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 31

A Well-known Playwright's Wife.

Box 32

Correspondence, 1910-1914 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 32

Mainly with Augustus Thomas's son, Luke Thomas, concerning daily activities and the health of various family members.

Box 33

Glory Thomas Elliott diary, 1924 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 33

Copy of the privately published honeymoon diary describing Glory Thomas Elliott's trip to England and France.

Manuscript Autographe, 1933 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 33

A French publication, directed by Jean Royere, containing facsimiles of manuscripts of members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, advertisements, biographies, and reproductions of portraits.

Oversize Volume SV-12000/1

Sketchbook, 1892-1902 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." SV-12000/1

Portrait and full-figure sketches by a variety of artists with accompanying personal messages or quotes addressed to Augustus Thomas. At least two drawings are by American artist Frederic Remington. None of the sketches appear to have been made by Thomas, though at least one depicts him.

Film F-12000/1

Film: Augustus Thomas and Francis Wilson, circa 1919-1930 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." F-12000/1

35 mm black-and-white sound film of Thomas and the actor Francis Wilson conversing in Clearwater, Fla.

Box 33

Film notes by Ronald Davis, 1974 #12000, Series: "2. Other Materials, 1869-1974." Box 33

Notes describe in detail the content of the black-and-white 35mm film of Augustus Thomas and Francis Wilson.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Manuscripts Department Staff

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Finding aid updated in February 2011 by Sarah Arnold because of film processing.

Finding aid updated in November, 2012 by Danielle Fasig.

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.

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