Monthly Archives: May 2017

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)


— posted by Roger W. Smith

“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

“A Place in the Sun” is overrated, to put it kindly (two critics’ views)

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


From my personal library. Images below. For Dreiser Edition book  covers, see


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


– posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2017

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


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.


— posted by Roger W. Smith

   May 2017