an excerpt from the diary of Esther McCoy



The following is an excerpt from the diary of Esther McCoy’, which is held by the Smithsonian Institution:

April 7, 1926

Today I took a job as waitress at a restaurant on eighth street. Serve a week meals, and tips – two meals a day. She, the manager, didn’t ask much about my experience, because she said I looked as if I could learn it easily. Christ. I went all the way home thinking about it. How delicious. Yes, I may learn it. And today, also I heard from Isabel that Dreiser had a new mistress, a Mrs. Miller. That means nothing, but it brings back to me both a pity for him and for myself. For him because he is grasping frantically for someone to cohabitate with, that his remaining strength won’t be lost. How sad it is, and will he never be able to live on be satisfied until he can meet [[strikethrough]] on [[?]] [[/strikethrough]] on sexual bases everyone woman in whom he is interested. I am bilqued [[sic]] perhaps that he dropped me yet I know the uselessness of trying to turn sex into an attraction which uses anything but that. What nice times we had together. [[strikethrough]] until [[/strikethrough]] Why can’t he accept a relationship without sex.


“Esther McCoy ( I 904-89) was an author of novels, stories, screenplays, and political journalism. … Born in Kansas, she spent her childhood in Arkansas and was attending the University of Michigan when she and Dreiser first met. She initiated a correspondence with Dreiser on 7 May I 924, writing from Fayetteville, Arkansas, to describe her enthusiastic reactions to his books.” — Theodore Dreiser, Letters to Women; New Letters, Volume II, edited by Thomas P. Riggio, pg. 180


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2022

overlooked reviews of Sister Carrie


The following are reviews of Dreiser’s Sister Carrie that were overlooked in Theodore Dreiser: The Critical Reception, edited by Jack Salzman (David Lewis, 1972) – with one exception in which the review was reprinted in excepted form.


New York Tribune, November 3, 1900

1 comment re Sister Carrie – NY Tribune 11-3-1900 (2)


San Francisco Chronicle, December 30, 1900; (excerpt published in Salzman)

2 review of Sister Carrie – San Francisco Chronicle 12-30-1900 NOT PUBLISHED IN FULL (2)


The Scotsman, August 12, 1901

3 review of Sister Carrie – The Scotsman 8-12-1901 (3)


The Detroit Free Press, July 6, 1907

4 review of Sister Carrie – Detroit Free Press 7-6-1907 (3)


The Hartford Courant, March 9, 1912

5 review of Sister Carrie – Hartford Courant 3-9-1912


The Outlook, November 23, 1912

6 brief comments on Sister Carrie & Jennie Gerhardt – Outlook 11-23-1912 pg 650_Page_08 (2)


The New Statesman, July 2, 1927

7 Naomi Roade-Smith review of Sister Carrie – New Statesman 6-2-1927 (2)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  October 2022

“From Boni & Liveright comes the interesting announcement that Theodore Dreiser has written a new novel”


re new novel (An American Tragedy) – NY Times 5-18-1924



Books and Authors

New York Times Book Review

May 18, 1924

pg. 20

Сергей Динамов, “Теодор Драйзер и революция” (Sergei Dinamov, Theodore Dreiser and Revolution)


FINAL, RUSSIAN Dinamov – Preface to A Gallery of Women

FINAL, ENGLISH Dinamov – Peface to A Gallery of Women


Posted here as Word documents are the original Russian article:

Теодор Драйзер и революция

Предисловие к Теодору Драйзеру: Собрание сочинений, том 8

Москва; Ленинград, 1933 г.

and an English translation by Roger W. Smith:

Theodore Dreiser and Revolution

Preface to Theodore Dreiser: Collected Works, Volume 8

By Sergei Dinamov

Moscow; Leningrad, 1933

Sergei Dinamov was a Russian critic.

See also a copy of the original article below.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

September 2022


Dinamov, ‘Theodore Dreiser and Revolution’ ORIGINAL

“Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisan”


‘Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisian’ – St. Louis Post-Disptach’ 1-26-1902 (2)


Posted here (PDF file above) is an early interview with Dreiser:

“Author of Sister Carrie Formerly Was a St. Louisan”

St. Louis Post–Dispatch

January 26, 1902, pg. 4

This interview has already been published in Theodore Dreiser: Interviews, edited by Frederic E. Rusch and Donald Pizer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2022

a Dreiser parody


Ted Robinson, Jack and Jill parody – Ithaca Journal-News 4-25-1921 pg 4


This parody of Dreiser by Ted Robinson appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (date unknown) and was reprinted in the Ithaca Journal-News of April 25, 1921.  It was one of several parodies of Jack and Jill as told by various writers.

— posted by Roger W. Smith

  September 2022

an early notice of Dreiser


‘The Literary Outlook (2)- Los Angeles Tiimes 8-12-1898

‘The Literary Outlook’ – Los Angeles Times 8-12-1898


Posted here, an early, interesting notice of Dreiser:

“The Literary Outlook”

by E. C. Martin

The Los Angeles Times, August 12, 1898, pg. 7


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   September 2022

Harry Rosecrans Burke, Dreiser in St. Louis


‘Dreiser and the Riddle of the Sphinx’


Posted here (PDF file above):

“Dreiser and the Riddle of the Sphinx”

From the Day’s Journey: A Book of By-Paths and Eddies About St. Louis

By Harry Rosecrans Burke

Saint Louis: The W. H. Miner Co., Inc., 1924

pp. 165-171


In this chapter, there is a rare recounting of Dreiser during his days as a reporter in St. Louis.

Dreiser lived in St. Louis from 1892 to 1894, during which time he was employed as a reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and the St. Louis Republic.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   August 2022

Grace Brown’s and Roberta Alden’s letters


letters of Grace Brown and Roberta Alden


Please see downloadable Word file posted above.

Roberta Alden and Clyde Griffiths were the two main characters in Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.

An American Tragedy was based on an actual case: the murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette in 1906.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   June 2022



Note: I transcribed Grace Brown’s letters from court records. They were presented as exhibits at the trial of Chester Gillette.

I would appreciate being informed of any errors I may have made in transcribing the letters.

“Memories of Dreiser” (Vera Dreiser’s)


Paul Vandervoort, ‘Memories of Dreiser’ – Indianapolis Star 10-2-1976


Posted here (PDF above):

“Memories of Dreiser”

By Paul Vandervoort

The Indianapolis Star

October 2, 1976

The article focuses on recollections of Dreiser’s niece Vera Dreiser, who had just published a book on Dreiser, My Uncle Theodore.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  July 2022