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HUD 915.70

Connell, Richard Edward, 1893-1949. Richard Edward Connell personal archive, 1912-1972, bulk 1912-1915: an inventory

Harvard University Archives


Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Call No.: HUD 915.70
Repository: Harvard University Archives
Creator: Connell, Richard Edward, 1893-1949
Title: Richard Edward Connell personal archive,1912-1972, bulk 1912-1915
Date(s): 1912-1972, bulk 1912-1915
Quantity: 0.17 cubic feet (1 half document box)
Language of materials: English
Abstract: Richard Edward Connell, author of short stories, novels and screenplays, was born on October 17, 1893 in Poughkeepsie, New York, and received his Harvard AB in 1915. He died on November 22, 1949 in Beverly Hills, California. This collection consists primarily of Connell's letters to his sisters, written while he was at Harvard; it also contains biographical information, including a photograph, biography, and bibliography.

Acquisition information:

The letters, photograph and biography, comprising the bulk of the Richard Edward Connell personal archive, were donated to Harvard University in 1971 by Mary Connell Bray, his sister.
The bibliography, comprising a portion of the Richard Edward Connell personal archive, was donated to Harvard University in 1972 by Louise Fox Connell, his wife.

Processing Information:

The collection was processed by Christine Hubbard in 2013. Processing involved a collection survey, housing in appropriate archival sleeve, folders and half document box, and the creation of this finding aid. This finding aid was created by Christine Hubbard in July 2013.
The photograph, biography and bibliography in this collection were previously classified as HUG 300 Connell, Richard Edward. During processing, these three items became Series II of this collection.

Researcher Access:

The Richard Edward Connell personal archive is open for research.

Preferred Citation:

Connell, Richard Edward, 1893-1949. Richard Edward Connell personal archive, 1912-1972, bulk 1912-1915. HUD 915.70, Harvard University Archives.

Related Materials

The following sources provide additional information about Connell's activities as a Harvard student, his life after graduation, professional written works, and his letters to his father during his father's service in the United States Congress.
In the Harvard University Archives:
In the Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University:
In the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University:
In the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, Hyde Park, New York:
Search HOLLIS (Harvard's online library system) for works by Richard Connell.

Biographical Note

Richard Edward Connell, author, was born on October 17, 1893 in Poughkeepsie, New York, to Richard E. and Mary Miller Connell. His father, an editor and reporter for the Poughkeepsie Press ("the Press") and a political adviser to Franklin Delano Roosevelt during Roosevelt's 1910 campaign for the New York State Senate, was elected to Congress in 1911. Connell had an older sister Mary and two younger sisters, Catherine and Anne. Connell attended Poughkeepsie public schools and graduated from Poughkeepsie High School. He began covering baseball games for the Press at age 10 and was city editor at age 16. In 1911, he accompanied his father to Washington, D.C. to serve as his secretary and begin studies at Georgetown University. Connell entered Harvard as a sophomore in September 1912. His father died unexpectedly in October 1912 while campaigning for reelection. While at Harvard, Connell became editorial chairman of The Crimson and the president of the Harvard Lampoon. He also was a member of the Harvard Union, the Speaker's Club, the Signet Society, the Harvard Catholic Club, and, after graduation, the Harvard Club of New York City.
After receiving his Harvard AB in 1915, Connell worked as a journalist on the homicide desk of the New York American, a Hearst newspaper in New York City, but left in 1916 to become a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson. Connell enlisted in the United States Army in July 1917, serving as a private in the 27th Company, Military Police Corps, 27th (New York Guard) Division, training in South Carolina as part of a mounted police unit and editing the camp newspaper, The Gas Attack. He then served at the front in Belgium and France. After his discharge in April 1919, Connell returned to advertising in New York.
In 1919, he married Louise Herrick Fox, an advertising colleague, traveled abroad, and eventually settled in Westport, Connecticut, leaving advertising for freelance writing. Connell published over 300 short stories in such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers' Weekly. Many of his short stories were anthologized, several were O. Henry prize winners, and a number were adapted for radio and film, including "The Most Dangerous Game" (adapted three times for film), "A Reputation" (filmed as "Meet John Doe"), and "Brother Orchid" (filmed under the same name). He also wrote non-fiction magazine articles, four novels, and 13 screenplays. Connell eventually relocated to Hollywood, California to write screenplays, adaptations and plot scenarios for major studios. Connell died unexpectedly of a heart attack on November 22, 1949, in Beverly Hills, California. Connell's entries in his Decennial (1925), Fifteenth (1930), and Twenty-Fifth (1940) Reunion Harvard class reports are notable; they are brief parodies of the kind of short fiction and screenplays he was writing at the time.


Scope and Content

This collection consists primarily of Connell's letters to his sisters written while he was at Harvard. Most of the letters are addressed solely to his older sister Mary and cover a range of topics: his studies and activities at Harvard, including his reporting and editorializing for, and editorial chairmanship of The Crimson, and his writing for and presidency of the Harvard Lampoon; his concern for his mother, who was hospitalized for an extended period after his father's death; his advice to Mary about family financial matters, her educational, professional and romantic pursuits, and his younger sisters' education; and his efforts to earn money while a student and secure a journalism position upon graduation. The letters are a mix of handwritten and typed correspondence, and many are written on stationary of the various clubs and organizations to which Connell belonged. A few letters are written on the back of Lampoon programs and invitations.
The collection also includes a photograph of Connell as a senior at Harvard, biographical notes prepared by Connell's sister and wife in December 1971, and an extensive bibliography of Connell's completed works, prepared by his literary agents in 1958 and updated by his wife in February 1972.


This document last updated 2013 July 24.

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