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Guide to the Mary Parmele Hamlin Papers, 1915-1958

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Collection Summary

Repository: Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries
Creator: Hamlin, Mary Parmele, 1871-1964
Title: Mary Parmele Hamlin Papers
Dates: 1915-1958
Quantity: 4 cubic ft (9 boxes)
Abstract: Papers relating to her play Alexander Hamilton, 1915-1958, include her manuscript, contracts, correspondence with George Arliss (1868-1946) who collaborated with her on rewriting it and played the lead on Broadway and in the film version, 1917-1931, Hamlin's letters to her husband while the play was in rehearsal and on tour, 1917, and other correspondence concerning movie rights and reviews. Other items include manuscripts of other plays, essays, and a novel; and clippings, letters, programs, and photographs (some arranged in scrapbooks) concerning her plays, 1917-1931.
Forms of Materials: Manuscript, contracts, correspondence, and clippings.

Biographical Note

Mary Ida Parmele was born Sept. 30, 1871, in West Bloomfield, N.Y., and grew up in Canandaigua, where she lived for the rest of her life. She spent two and a half years at Vassar from 1892-1895. In 1902 she married George Wright Hamlin, a banker, and might never have been known outside her community had it not been for her writing. She was especially interested in writing plays and ventured to send a script of a historical drama on the life of Alexander Hamilton to George Arliss. He agreed to collaborate with her on rewriting it and acted the lead in the Broadway production of Hamilton in 1917, and in 1918, when the play was on tour. In his autobiography Arliss wrote: "Mrs. Hamlin is probably the only woman alive who is a good wife, a good mother, a good housekeeper, a good friend, and a good playwright all in one." Her family concerns made it difficult for her to stay in touch with the theatrical world, and she turned to writing plays for amateurs - especially religious drama. Mrs. Hamlin was a Congregationalist and for twenty-five years taught a Bible class which had been started by her mother-in-law. Hamlin died in 1964.

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Scope and Content Note

Papers relating to her play Alexander Hamilton, 1915-1958, include her manuscript, contracts, correspondence with George Arliss (1868-1946) who collaborated with her on rewriting it and played the lead on Broadway and in the film version, 1917-1931, Hamlin's letters to her husband while the play was in rehearsal and on tour, 1917, and other correspondence concerning movie rights and reviews. Other items include manuscripts of other plays, essays, and a novel; and clippings, letters, programs, and photographs (some arranged in scrapbooks) concerning her plays, 1917-1931.

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Access and Use

Access

This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Vassar College Archives and Special Collections Library without any additional restrictions.

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Subject Headings

Names:

  • Arliss, George, 1868-1946.

Subjects:

  • Actors--New York (N.Y.)
  • Amateur theater.
  • Performing arts--New York (N.Y.)
  • Theater--New York (N.Y.)
  • Theater--Production and direction.
  • Women dramatists, American.

Document Types:

  • Photoprints.
  • Scrapbooks.

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Encoding Information

Encoded by Elizabeth Clarke, December 2006.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Mary Parmele Hamlin Papers, Archives and Special Collections Library, Vassar College Libraries.

Processing Information

Original processing date unknown.

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Series List

Series I. Manuscripts (Boxes 1-7)

Series II. Other Materials (Boxes 8-9)

Container List

Manuscripts

Box 1 "Alexander Hamilton" (play)
Box 1 "Dead Sea Scrolls" (play)
Box 1 "An Experience in the Subconscious" (play)
Box 1 "Father Andrei" (play)
Boxes 2-3 "Father Fritz" (play)
Boxes 2-3 "First Thanksgiving" (play)
Boxes 2-3 "Franklin" (play)
Box 4 "The Individualist and Paul" (play)
Box 4 "I Like Jews" (essay)
Box 4 "I Like My Loyalty" (play)
Box 4 "Isaiah" (play)
Box 4 "Look to This Day" (essay)
Box 4 "A Man Called Hermes" (essay)
Box 4 "Martha Broadens Out" (play)
Box 5 "Pattern in the Mountain" (play)
Box 5 "This My Son" (essay)
Box 5 "Wee Bit Seed" (play)
Box 6 The Chancellor's Wife (novel)
Box 7 The Chancellor's Wife (novel)

Other Materials

Box 8 Materials related to the play, Alexander Hamilton, including a collection of about 30 letters from George Arliss, 1915-1934
Box 9 Scrapbooks relating to Mary Parmele Hamlin's plays, Alexander Hamilton and The Rock

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