George K. Nelson to Theodore Dreiser, June 8, 1933

 

 

George K. Nelson to Dreiser 6-8-1933

 

 

Posted here is a copy of a letter dated June 8, 1933 to Theodore Dreiser from his nephew George K. Nelson.

George Kates Nelson (1892-1955) was the son of Dreiser’s sister Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser by Lorenzo A. Hopkins. Mr. Nelson was the manager of a hotel in Manhattan.

Dreiser was close to George K. Nelson’s sister Gertrude A. Hopkins, his niece. But, the cold, businesslike letter posted here shows that there was no personal relationship between Dreiser and his nephew George. Nelson had had a relationship in his adolescence with his uncle Paul Dresser, the songwriter (Theodore Dreiser’s brother), this according to an interview with Gloria N. Vevante, George K. Nelson’s daughter, conducted by Roger W. Smith in 2007.

Nelson writes here: “It is understood that any such moneys received by me will be received as agent for Mary F. Brennan, Sylvia Kishima, Emma A. Nelson [George K. Nelson’s mother], Albert J. Dreiser and Rome M. Dresser. …” They were Dreiser’s siblings.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   May 2017

Ed Dreiser to brother Theodore, April 30, 1938

 

 

Edward Dreiser to brother Theodore 4-20-1938.jpg
Posted here is a copy of a letter dated April 30, 1938 from Theodore Dreiser’s younger brother Eduard Minerod Dreiser (1873-1958) to Dreiser

Mentioned in the letter:

“the Astoria family” —  Dreiser’s sisters Emma Wilhelmina Dreiser (1863-1936); Maria Franziska Dreiser (Mame; 1861-1944); and Cacilia Dreiser (ca. 1865-1945), all of whom lived in their later years in Astoria, Queens, New York City

“Mame” — Dreiser’s sister Maria Franziska Dreiser

“Mai” — Edward Dreiser’s wife Mai V. (Skelly) Dreiser (1878-1955)

“Vera” — Edward Dreiser’s daughter Vera Dreiser (1908-1998), Theodore Dreiser’s niece

“Paul” – Driers brother, the songwriter Paul Dresser (1856-1906)

“Dreiser Seriously Hurt in Mishap”

 

 

news item from unidentified newspaper, May 14, 1919

 

 

 

'Dreiser Seriously Hurt in Mishap' 5-14-1919

TCM screens 1931 film version of “An American Tragedy”

 

 

It was great to see a rare screening of the original 1931 film version of An American Tragedy on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this evening. I am convinced that this version is superior to the acclaimed film A Place in the Sun, which I, personally, do not feel deserves the praise it has been accorded. See my post to this effect at

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/mary-gordon-on-a-place-in-the-sun/

Particularly appealing — indeed, gratifying — to me was the quality of the print. I have seen the 1931 film several times, and the image was always grainy.

The host for the program, Ben Mankiewicz, got most of the details about the circumstances associated with the making of the film — and Theodore Dreiser’s objections to it — right. But, at the end of the program, he made a serious factual error. He stated that Chester Gillette’s mother sued Paramount. This is not true.

It was Grace Brown’s mother who sued the producers, as is indicated in the following news item:

“Ithaca Picked for Trial of Movie Suit; ‘American Tragedy’ Producers Denied Pre-Trial Questioning Petition,” Syracuse Herald, September 7, 1934, pg. 16

$150,000 libel action of Mrs. Grace Brown, 78, of Smyrna [NY], against Paramount-Publix moving picture corporation for alleged destructive character delineation in the film version of “An American Tragedy.” … Clifford Searl of Syracuse, counsel for Mrs. [Minerva] Brown. “Mrs. Brown claims in her suit she was depicted as ‘illiterate’ in the film version.”

Also see below a PDF file of a New York Times article dated November 9, 1934 about the settlement of the suit.

 

 

Roger W. Smith

May 17, 2017

 

 

‘Paramount Settles Suit’ – NY Times 11-9-1934

 

 

 

 

a few Dreiser book covers

 

 

 

Images below. For Dreiser Edition book  covers, see

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/2016/10/20/the-dreiser-edition/

 

 

 

Sister Carrie cover, first edition
Sister Carrie cover, first edition

 

 

 

The Laurel Dreiser, Jennie Gerhardt
Theodore Dreiser, “Jennie Gerhardt,” The Laurel Dreiser, Dell Publishing Company, Inc., 1963

 

 

 

Jennie Gerhardt, cover (Shocken Books)
Theodore Dreiser, Jennie Gerhardt (Shocken Books, 1982)

 

 

 

'The Financier' (Harper & Brothers 1912) - cover
Theodore Dreiser, “The Financier” – original edition (Harper and Brothers 1912)

 

 

 

'The Titan' (The Laurel Dreiser) - cover.jpg
Theodore Dreiser, “The Titan” – paperback; The Laurel Dreiser (1959)

 

 

 

'A Traveler at Forty' - cover.jpg
Theodore Dreiser, “A Traveler at Forty” (New York: The Century Company, 1913)

 

 

 

'The Hand of the Potter' - cover.jpg
Theodore Dreiser, “The Hand of the Potter” (Boni and Liveright, 1918)

 

 

 

'Hey Rub-A-Dub-Dub' - cover.jpg
Theodore Dreiser, Hey Rub-A-Dub Dub: A Book of the Mystery and Terror and Wonder of Life” (Boni & Liveright, 1920)

 

 

 

 

'A Book About Myself' - cover.jpg
Theodore Dreiser, “A Book About Myself” (Boni and Liveright, 1922)

 

 

 

'Dawn' - cover.jpg
Theodore Dreiser, “Dawn” (Horace Liveright, Inc., 1931)

 

 

 

 

'Dreiser Looks at Russia' - cover
Theodore Dreiser, “Dreiser Looks at Russia” (Horace Liveright, 1928)

 

 

 

 

'A Gallery of Women' - cover.jpg
‘Theodore Dreiser, “A Gallery of Women,” Volume 1 (Horace Liveright, Inc., 1929)

 

 

 

 

'Tragic America' - cover
Theodore Dreiser, “Tragic America” (Horace Liveright, Inc., 1931)

 

 

 

Dreiser, 'Moods' - cover
Theodore Dreiser, “Moods: Philosophic and Emotional; Cadenced and Declaimed” (Simon and Schuster, 1935)

 

 

 

 

'The Best Short Stories of Theodore Dreiser' - cover.jpg
“The Best Short Stories of Theodore Dreiser”; introduction by James T. Farrell (Fawcett Publications, 1961)

 

 

 

'Forgottten Frontiers; Dreiser and the Land of the Free'.jpg
Dorothy Dudley, ‘Forgotten Frontiers: Dreiser and the Land of the Free” (New York: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, 1932)

 

 

Charles Samuels, 'Death Was the Bridegroom' - cover.jpg
Charles Samuels, “Death Was the Bridegroom” (Fawcett Publications, Inc., 1955)

 

 

 

'Adirondack Tragedy' - cover
Joseph W. Brownell and Patricia W. Enos, “Adirondack Tragedy,” Fourth Edition

 

 

'A Sister Carrie Portfolio' - front cover.jpg
James L. West III, “A Sister Carrie Portfolio” (University Press of Virginia, 1985) – front cover

 

 

 

 

'A Sister Carrie Portfolio' - back cover.jpg
James L. West III, “A Sister Carrie Portfolio” (University Press of Virginia, 1985) – back cover

 

 

 

'An American Tragedy' - libertto.jpg
libretto, “An American Tragedy” (2005); opera by Tobias Picker; libertto by Gene Scheer

 

 

 

'Sister Carrie' - libretto - cover
libretto, “Sister Carrie” (opera); composed by Robert Livingston Aldridge; libretto by Herschel Garfein

photos of Theodore Dreiser and relatives

 

 

Posted here (see below) are photos and portraits of Theodore Dreiser as well as numerous photos of Dreiser’s relatives and acquaintances.

There is some overlap with photos which I have already posted on this site. See

https://dreiseronlinecom.wordpress.com/?s=photographs

Notable among the persons included in these photos, besides Dreiser, are the following:

Esther A. (Schnepp) Dickerson, Theodore Dreiser’s aunt

Dreiser’s siblings Paul, Rome, Emma, Theresa, and Claire

Dreiser’s first wife Sara White Dreiser

Dreiser’s second wife Helen (Patges Richardson) Dreiser and several of her ancestors and relatives

Dreiser’s sister-in-law Mai Skelly Dreiser

Dreiser’s favorite niece Gertrude A. Hopkins

Dreiser’s niece Dr. Vera Dreiser

Harold James Dies, who was related to Helen (Patges Richardson) Dreiser and, more distantly, to Theodore Dreiser, and who served for many years as Trustee of the Dreiser Trust

Thanks are due to the following persons and institutions for permission to post photos:

Rare Book and Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania

Vigo County Historical Society Museum, Terre Haute, IN

the late Harold J. Dies

Gloria N. Vevante (a Dreiser family descendant)

Joann Crouch (a Dreiser family descendant)

Thomas P. Riggio

 

 

Please note: if you left click on a photo of interest, a descriptive caption for that photo will appear. If you right click on the photo, you will have the option of downloading (saving) it.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   May 2017

 

 

Continue reading photos of Theodore Dreiser and relatives

Thomas Kranidas, “The Materials of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy”

 

 

Thomas Kranidas, ‘The Materials of Dreiser’s An American Tragedy’

 

 

A while ago, I was contemplating writing an article on the sources of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy. In my research, I came across a master’s thesis which was listed in Pizer, Dowell, and Rusch’s Dreiser bibliography.

I decided to look the thesis up because it was at Columbia University (accessible to me, since I live in New York City) and because the title intrigued me. It was by Thomas Kranidas and is entitled “The Materials of Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy” (Master’s thesis, Columbia University, 1953, 94 pp.).

I read the thesis at Columbia. It wasn’t really an investigation of the sources of An American Tragedy, but it was mainly focused on that novel. It included consideration to a limited extent of other works of Dreiser — e.g., his poetry and essays — that pertained to the author’s argument.

This thesis is, in my opinion, excellent — very penetrating. It is one of the best analyses I have ever read of Dreiser as a writer and muddled thinker, and someone with pretensions to intellectual and social stature that can be detected in his writings. It is for the most part critical of Dreiser, but I think it is one of the best analyses of him I have ever read. It gets under Dreiser’s skin and “nails” him.  Nonetheless, the author, Thomas Kranidas, is appreciative of the strengths of An American Tragedy.

The thesis is here made available for the first time. It is posted above as a downloadable PDF file.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   April 2017

 

 

********************************************************

 

 

email from Roger W. Smith to Thomas Kranidas, April 25, 2017

 

 

Dear Professor Kranidas,

Following up on our conversation today, a few thoughts about your master’s thesis.

I read it at Butler Library. It is available nowhere else, I believe. (It was not available and was irretrievable until I copied and scanned it and posted in on my Dreiser site.)

My basic reaction, gut feeling was that (1) it was an M.A. thesis, not a dissertation; (2) it was not based on exhaustive research into the sources of An American Tragedy (which was not your objective).

Neverthless, I felt that it was one of the best statements I have read about Dreiser qua writer; Dreiser the self-styled “philosopher”; and Dreiser the social climber who yearned for what he professed to disdain.

You “nailed” him … got under his skin. Analyzed, penetratingly, his weaknesses as a writer and the shortcomings of his worldview … his pretensions, his myopia when it came to writing about the privileged classes.

While at the same time appreciating his strengths, and steering clear of a hatchet job.