Theodore Dreiser’s transcendentalism


Roger Asselineau, ‘Theodore Dreiser’s Transcendentalism’


Posted here:

Roger Asselineau, “Theodore Dreiser’s Transcendentalism”

English Studies Today, Second Series: Lectures and Papers Read at the Fourth Conference of the International Association of University Professors of English Held at Lausanne and Berne August 1959

Edited by G. A. Bonnard

Francke Verlag Bern, 1961

pp. 233-243

— posted by Roger W. Smith

    May 2023

Dreiser as philosopher


J. D. Thomas, ‘Theodore Dreiser and the Novel of Thought’

Roger W. Smith, ‘Notes on Life’ – A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia


“When Dreiser expounds his ideas as philosophy, the ideas plod and stumble; they become silly and jejune and eventually resolve themselves into absurdities or platitudes.”

— Donald Pizer, review of Theodore Dreiser, Notes on Life, American Literary Realism 8.4 (1975)

Posted here (PDFs above):

J. D. Thomas, “Epimetheus Bound: Theodore Dreiser and the Novel of Thought,” Southern Humanities Review 3 (Fall 1969): 346–357

Dreiser was a poorly educated, muddled thinker. Yet Thomas gives his intellectual development and philosophical views as seen in his life and works serious consideration. This is a very well researched article of great value for understanding the man and his works..

My own entry — in A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia — on Dreiser’s posthumous work Notes on Life.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2023

Roy Higby’s account of the Gillette case


Higby, ‘a man from the past’ Chapter XVI

Ruth Reynolds, ‘Echo of An American Tragedy’ – Daily News (NY) 9-18-1966


Posted here is Chapter XXX, “An American Tragedy,” from Roy C Higby’s book … a man from the past. (New York; Big Moose Press, 1974).

It is odd that Higby’s editor never caught the misspelling of Chester Gillette’s last name.

Roy Higby was a thirteen-year-old boy when Grace Brown was murdered on Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks in July 1906.

A search was made for Grace (and also her companion, Chester Gillette, since he was believed to have drowned as well). Higby was aboard the steamer Zilpha with a search party when Grace’s body was sighted and brought to the surface.



I am also posting an article by Ruth Reynolds — “Echo of ‘An American Tragedy’ ” (Daily News ]New York], September 18, 1966) — in which Higby’s role is discussed.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2022

re Dreiser’s birth


Theodore Dreiser was born on Aug 27, 1871 in Terre Haute, Vigo Co., Indiana,

Posted here is the following article:

Theodore Dreiser, “The Superstition of my Birth”

Hearst’s International combined with Cosmopolitan

February 1931

The text of the article is from Chapter 1 of Dreiser’s Dawn (1931). The portrait of Dreiser is by Wayman Adams.

Dreiser, ‘The Superstition of My Birth’ – Hearst’s International combined w Cosmpolitan, Feb 1931


Also posted here is a letter to editor in The New York Times of August 6, 1961 re Dreiser’s birth.

re Dreiser’s birth (letter to editor) – NY Times 8-6-1961


— posted by Roger W. Smith

    May 2023


Dreiser and Fitzgerald


review of Library of America Amererican Tragedy – Commercial Appeal (Memphis) 5-25-2003

Posted here:

“Tragedy Flawed, But Still Classic”

review of Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy (The Library of America)

reviewed by Fredric Koeppel

The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

May 25, 2003


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2023

she “just jumped in”


Elmira (NY) Gazette and Free Press

November 28, 1096

1 ‘Gillette Says Grace Brown Jumped Into Lake’ – Elmira Gazette and Free Press 11-28-1906 pg 1


Elmira (NY) Gazette and Free Press

evening edition

November 28, 1906

2 ‘Gillette Says Grace Brown Jumped Into Lake’ – Elmira Gazettte and Free Press (evening ed) 11-28-1906 pg 5


Louisville Courier-Journal

November 29, 1906

‘Billy Brown Just Jumped In’ – Louisville Courier-Journal 11-29-1906


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  May 2023

Dapping and Higby on the Gillette case


From various newspaper accounts.

1 ‘Roy Higby’s Own Story’ – Adirondack Daily Enterprise 3-28-1958

2 ‘Newspaperman Tells Of Unknown Details’ (Dapping on Gillette case) – Austin American 3-30-1958

3 ‘Higby and Dapping Telll Story’ – Adirondack Daily Enterprise 3-31-1958

4 ‘Anniversary of Murder Rekindles Memories ‘ – Sun-News (Las Cruces, NM) 7-6-1966 (2)

5 ‘American Tragedy celebrates 60th anniversary’ – Messenger (Athens, OH) 7-7-1966 (2)

6 ‘Big Moose Slaying Recalled after 60 Years’ – Indiana Eve Gazette 7-7-1966 (2)

7 ‘Drowning Sparked Dramas’ – The Sun (Yuma, AZ) 7-7-1966 (2)

8 ”Famous Brown Murder Lives on’ – Oda (OK) Evening News 7-7-1966

9 ‘Few Remember Big Moose Murder’ – Daily Review (Hayward, CA) 7-7-1966 (2)

10 ‘Murder of a Farm Girl Seized Country’s Imagination’ – The Evening Capital (Annapolis, MD) 7-7-1966 (2)

11 ‘Sensational Murder Trial 60 Years Ago’ – Sheboygan Press 7-7-1966 (2)

12 ‘American Tragedy Case Opened 60 Years Ago’ – Northwest Arkansas Times 7-11-1966 (2)

13 ‘A Murder Remembered’ – The Post (Frederick, MD) 7-12-1966

13 Robert T. Gray, ‘Original Tragedy Ended 50 Yrs Ago’ – Kingsport (TN) Times-News 7-30-1966 (2)

14 Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, Summer 2007, Volume 19, Number 3, p 54


William O. Dapping was a reporter for The Auburn (NY) Citizen from 1905 to 1960. Dapping was present at Chester Gillette’s execution in Auburn Prison on March 30, 1908.

Roy C. Higby, son of the local justice of the peace, was a thirteen-year-old boy at the time when a steamer was sent out to search for Grace Brown’s body in Big Moose Lake. The story of the search and the case were recounted by Higby in his book … a man from the past (Big Moose, NY: Big Moose Press, 1974).


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2023

“Gillettes Visit Their Son.”


parents & sister at Auburn prison – The Journal and Republican (Lowville, NY) 3-5-1908

Posted here, the following article:

“Gillettes Visit Their Son”

The Journal and Republican (Lowville, NY)

March 5, 1908

This brief news story tells a lot.

Chester Gillette was executed on March 30, 1908 in Auburn Prison in Auburn, New York.



Sunday. March 1, 1908

Mother and Father have come east and, with Lucille, were in yesterday. Father doesn’t look at all strong tho he wrote that he was. Perhaps it is his beard. Mother is bearing this suspense very well, tho it is awfully hard for her. Lucille is a jewel, brave, self ·controlled and cheerful. M. & F. are going to Little Falls Mon. and then will circulate a petition. F. is going to Cortland. Fred* has offered to do all he can and will be of great assistance. Should get a large number of signatures in Cort. Aunt Carrie could be of more help tho than anyone. I am sorry she hasn’t heard yet. I hope she is well. — from The Prison Diary and Letters of Chester Gillette; edited, with introductions and notes by Jack Sherman and Craig Brandon

*Fred Gillette, Chester’s cousin


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  April 2023


Roger W. Smith “Some Thoughts About Dreiser; What a Close Acquaintance with His Life and Works Reveals” (conference presentation)


Roger W. Smith, ‘Some Thoughts about Dreiser’


On March 19, 2021, I gave a Zoom presentation on Dreiser to students in the Comparative Literature Department, Institute for Philology and History, Russian State University for the Humanities. (Word document posted above).

My presentation was titled “Some Thoughts About Dreiser; What a Close Acquaintance with His Life and Works Reveals.” It was followed by a Q and A session with Russian students. Unfortunately, a video of the presentation has been deleted.

The conference proceedings have been published. My paper was omitted from the proceedings.

I am reposting my paper on this site because I think it is of value to students of Dreiser and that it would be found to be of interest to many Dreiser scholars as well.

I cannot resist saying that by deliberately omitting my paper, a disservice was done to Dreiser scholarship.


— Roger W. Smith

   April 2022


‘Some Thoughts about Dreiser’ RUSSIAN

Я опубликовал русский перевод статьи за свой счет.

“Dueling Narratives in An American Tragedy and the Criminal Law”


‘Dueling Narratives in An American Tragedy and the Criminal Law

Posted here (PDF above):

Vanessa Laird, “Dueling Narratives in An American Tragedy and the Criminal Law,” Tennessee Law Review 59.1 (fall 1991), pp. 131-157


— posted by Roger W. Smith

  April 2023