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Dreiser's Private Library

Dreiser's Private Library
Roark Mulligan

Originally published in Dreiser Studies 33.2 (2002): 40-76. ) 2002 Dreiser Studies.
Republished on DreiserWebSource by permission of the author and Dreiser Studies.


Over his lifetime, Theodore Dreiser amassed a library of more than 1,900 volumes, excluding works that he wrote himself. In 1949, the University of Pennsylvania purchased Dreiser's manuscripts and a majority of his books from Helen Dreiser for $16,500, and in 1958, the remainder of the library arrived in several shipments as gifts from Helen's estate. This book collection shows Dreiser as a bibliophile, a book collector who knew the value of first editions and who actively sought autographed volumes from other authors. For example, on March 16, 1942, Dreiser wrote to George Ade:

It's so very exceptionally nice of you to reward my inquiry as to where I might find a copy of Artie with a copy of the book itself. If I had known I was to be so favored I would have stepped in with the autograph hunters' customary gall and asked you to sign it. (Letters 3: 949)

Hoping Ade would send him an autographed copy of Artie, Dreiser ends the letter with a grievous lament that the two writers did not know each other better. In correspondence with authors that he knew well, such as H. L. Mencken and Charles Fort, Dreiser regularly offered to exchange autographed volumes as he does in a letter to Mencken dated December 6, 1909: "I have received The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, by one H. L. Mencken, and the book of poems from the press of Thomas B. Mosher, both duly inscribed" (D-M Letters 1: 41). But Dreiser also requested books from authors and publishers whom he did not know. And despite his tendency towards parsimony, Dreiser spent money throughout his life to collect, store, and catalogue these worksa good librarian.

The formal creation of Dreiser's library can be dated to 1909 when, after financial success as an editor and after a reissue of Sister Carrie, Dreiser asked Franklin Booth to design a bookplate (see fig. 1). As a newspaper and advertising illustrator, Booth worked with Dreiser on the New York Daily News Sunday supplement, and Booth later collaborated with Dreiser to create and illustrate A Hoosier Holiday (Swanberg 228). The bookplate is a unique artwork that simply names Dreiser's library "Theodore Dreiser, Ex Libris," but the illustration is not simplepastoral scene in which cramped humanity buried underground supplies the compost from which trees and books rise. The focal point of the image is an ink well and pen, and these objects are the literary implements that transform human thought into enduring culture. That Dreiser asked Booth to create this elaborate bookplate and that Dreiser placed it in his books is evidence that his collection mattered, but the value he placed on his books is also demonstrated by the care with which he cataloged and stored the library.

Dreiser's Bookplate

FIG. 1. Dreiser's bookplate, created by Franklin Booth (1909). Courtesy of the Theodore Dreiser Papers, University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Bills from Manhattan Storage and Warehouse that are now part of the Dreiser Collection indicate that Dreiser rented storage space for his books from 1914 to 1938 (file 3647). From 1910 to 1914, Dreiser lived intermittently with his wife Sara and used his New York apartment at 3609 Broadway "as a convenient hotel and mailing address" where he could store his belongings (Swanberg 175). But after 1914, Dreiser separated permanently from his wife and moved into a small apartment at 165 W. 10th Street in Greenwich Village, which forced him to store his books. During the 1930s when Dreiser focused almost exclusively on the writing of nonfiction, his library was of greater importance, and he regularly moved books in and out of Manhattan Storage. First, to save money, Dreiser stored books at Iroki, his country home at Mt. Kisco, N.Y., as Helen Dreiser reports in her memoir My Life with Dreiser: "we had moved a large part of everything, including paintings, books, literary materials, furniture, dishes" (214). As Dreiser spent more time at Iroki writing, he required more books, and Helen writes that his secretary Evelyn Light came to Iroki to assist Dreiser and "to arrange his reference library" (232). From book lists Light prepared in 1932, 1933, and 1934, it is evident that Dreiser moved books from the Manhattan storage to the Hotel Ansonia and to Iroki, and these lists point to his growing concern with documenting his collection (files 13818 and 13819). On May 6, 1932, there is a record indicating that trunks 13 and 14 were shipped to Light at the Hotel Ansonia where Dreiser had a suite and where Light had an office (files 3647-3649). In a 1932 note, Light writes that "Trunk 3," containing Dreiser's Library of American Realism, is in Manhattan Storage, but this trunk is later moved to Iroki, then to Los Angeles, and then to Oregon (file 13820). Another list specifies that Dreiser's autographed books are at Mt. Kisco in a large wooden box marked "A.B.," but these books would also move several times before arriving at the University of Pennsylvania.

During the 1930s, Evelyn Light and Harriet Bissell had Dreiser's proxy and could move books in and out of storage, but after 1938, all of Dreiser's books were shipped to Iroki, and in early 1941, the library moved west to Los Angeles, as reported by Helen: "three large vanloads of furniture, literary materials and the Dreiser library arrived from Iroki to find lodging in their new surroundings. A moisture-proof storeroom was already under construction" (276). As mentioned above, four years after Dreiser's death, Helen Dreiser signed a contract with the University of Pennsylvania, and the majority of Dreiser's books were shipped from Los Angeles to Philadelphia, arriving in September 1949. The contract indicates that the large box labeled "A.B." and another box containing the Library of American Realism were in Gresham, Oregon (at Helen's sister's home), and that these books would not ship until later in the summer. But acquisition lists at the University of Pennsylvania indicate that over four hundred books in Helen's possession were not shipped until 1958, three years after her death. These final books, a gift from Helen's estate, arrived from Gresham, Oregon, and Los Angeles, where Harold Dies, a relative of both Helen and Theodore, controlled what remained of Dreiser's library. These factors may help to explain why some books are no longer part of the collection.

At present, the University of Pennsylvania has Dreiser's library arranged according to when the books were received, and the acquisition lists that were prepared when the different shipments arrived in Philadelphia offer the best catalogue of the collection. Finding a particular book, however, can be difficult. After briefly scanning Dreiser's library, one immediately notices that it is as large and eclectic as Dreiser himself, containing non-fiction works on most topics, as well as classical literature, popular and serious fiction, poetry, and drama. Moreover, a number of books and authors are likely to be unfamiliar to present-day readers, for the library represents the literary world in which Dreiser was both scholar and critic and which was inhabited by well-known authors such as Eugene O'Neill and James Joyce as well as numerous writers who are now seldom read or discussed. For example, within Dreiser's library is a collection of books that Dreiser labeled the "Library of American Realism," but few of these authors are now read or taught and few can be identified in standard reference works, such as The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature. Besides capturing the literary world of the early twentieth century, the library also reveals Dreiser's desire to define American realism.

For Dreiser, his Library of American Realism was a collection of more than 100 books that represented the best of American literature, a collection that he began early and that he augmented regularly (see appendix 1). With his private library, Dreiser attempted to define and shape the American canon. On March 16, 1942, Dreiser refers to his Library of American Realism in the above-mentioned letter to George Ade:

As early as 1900, or before, it [Artie] passed into my collection of genuine American realism--a picture of the smart engaging amusing youngster of the "gay nineties," with all of his wit and self-confidence. In fact, I entered it with your Fables in Slang, Finley Dunne's Philosopher Dooley, Frank Norris' McTeague, and Hamlin Garland's Main-Travelled Roads. And I stored it--or thought I had--along with these and a very few others of that time or earlier:--Howell's Their Wedding Journey, for example. These were the beginning of my private library of American Realism. (Letters 3: 949)

This letter reveals both Dreiser's desire to collect autographed first editions and his ambition to create a library of great works. In Dreiser's copy of Hamlin Garland's Main-Travelled Roads, Garland inscribed the phrase: "Theodore Dreiser's Library of Realism," which shows that Dreiser contacted Garland, just as he contacted George Ade, and requested an autographed book for his realism library. In a note that records the movement of books in and out of Dreiser's New York storage, Evelyn Light writes that she is adding Sara Orne Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs and Edgar Lee Masters's Mirage to the storage box titled "Library of American Realism," and she speculates that these books are replacements, not duplicates, since the works are on Dreiser's list but not already in the box. What Light does not realize is that the books were being added to the library as Dreiser was able to secure them from authors. In some cases, Dreiser probably never owned the books, but in other cases, as in the case of Jewett's The Country of the Pointed Firs and Masters's Mirage, we have evidence that Dreiser owned the books, yet these books are not in the collection at the University of Pennsylvania.

In the above letter to Ade, Dreiser probably exaggerates when he claims that he began the Library of American Realism before 1900, but there is evidence that he carefully planned, collected, and changed this realism library over a thirty-year period. In a letter to H. L. Mencken on March 22, 1915, Dreiser wrote, "Barring Howells, James, Norris, Phillips, Mrs. Wharton, Garland, Herrick and London, are there any fugitive realistic works of import. I want a list. I would exclude Whitlock, H. B. Fuller and Stephen Crane. . . . Make it as comprehensive a list as you can" (D-M Letters 1: 190). Three days later, on March 25, Mencken replied to list Upton Sinclair's Love's Pilgrimage and The Jungle, Frederic Arnold Kummer's A Song of Sixpence, Winston Churchill's The Inside of the Cup, Mark Twain's and Charles Dudley Warner's The Gilded Age, and Robert Steele's One Man (D-M Letters 1: 191). Dreiser wrote again on March 29, 1915, to ask whether Harry Leon Wilson, Will Levington Comfort, Alice Brown, Mary E. Wilkins, or Margaret Deland wrote any sound works "realistically speaking" (D-M Letters 1: 191), but none of these authors appear on Dreiser's list of American realism, even though Dreiser owned books by Harry Wilson and Will Comfort.

During the 1930s, Dreiser employed his Library of American Realism as evidence that American writers were finally writing a realistic literature that represents society, not just the individual. In 1932, Dreiser's desire to convey his views on literature, politics, and the economy overwhelmed his fear of public speaking: as W. A. Swanberg explains, "determination to conquer his terrible stage fright was proof of his longing for leadership" (394). And in 1934, Dreiser wished to enhance his income further with more lecturing, so he "quit the Pond [lecture] bureau and signed up with Ernest Briggs, insisting on a $500 fee and on dignified promotion cards rather than the usual handbills" (Swanberg 420). In a lecture entitled "The Realist and His Sources," dated April 17, 1935, Dreiser argues that the realistic writer must suffer as Dostoyevsky, Dickens, and Hamsen suffered, and then he laments the lack of American realism: "Here in American we have no really distinguished list of realists to whom to point. I would like to mention Mark Twain as a great realist, but the trouble in that case is that he was also a great humorist, not an ironic, but a kindly humorist" (file 13368). In lecture notes entitled "Realism and Other Literature," Dreiser laments that too much literature is based on action instead of reaction--he then begins a list of 100 realistic novels, but only catalogues 56 (file 13701). He includes a number of early American works, such as Charlotte Temple, by Susanna Rowson (labeling it the "first piece of American realism"); Arthur Mervyn, by Charles Brockton Brown; Typee, Mardi, Pierre, and Billy Budd, by Melville; A Week on the Concord and Merrimac, by Thoreau; The Scarlet Letter, by Hawthorne; Leaves of Grass, by Whitman; and Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Stowe. Unlike this list, Dreiser's Library of American Realism contains over 100 books and, with the exception of Melville's Typee and Stowe's Dred, excludes early works. In place of these early American novels, Dreiser includes contemporary works by Faulkner, Hemingway, and Steinbeck, which demonstrates that the collection reflected Dreiser's sense of an evolving American canon.

Not only was Dreiser concerned with realism in America, but he also collected and catalogued foreign realists. In the Dreiser Collection, there are lecture notes that list "Great Foreign Realists," including Tolstoy, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Hugo, Balzac, De Maupassant, Flaubert, Thackerary, Gogol, Defoe, Hardy, George Moore, Chekhov, Conrad, Joyce, James, and Wharton (file 13386). Dreiser includes James and Wharton among the "Great Foreign Realists," but both are also on his list of American realists. For Dreiser, his library was more than a collection of valuable books; it was a means by which he could physically select, arrange, and define the American canon. Despite his condemnation of American literature as lacking great realists, he proceeds, in his literary speeches, to list modern American writers who portend an American renaissance. In notes for a 1936 lecture titled "Are Writers Born?" Dreiser lists living writers together with their states, which suggests that he perceived realism to be in part an outgrowth of region, and these writers--William Saroyan, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and Thomas Wolfe--appear in his Library of American Realism (file 13373). And in Paris on July 25, 1938, Dreiser delivered a speech to the International Association of Writers that further articulates his vision of American literature: "the great writers have almost uniformly struggled to express in the novel form the ills of man," and the best American literature until recently has been too concerned with "individual or emotional problems," not societal problems (file 13379). First citing Poe, Melville, and Hawthorne as examples of the great American writers concerned with the individual, Dreiser then lists the American authors who focus on societal issues in their writing: Twain, Crane, Fuller, Ade, Sinclair, Cather, Anderson, Lewis, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner, all writers who appear in Dreiser's Library of American Realism. These speeches reveal Dreiser's realism library as a physical means by which he defined American literature, which is further corroborated by the contract signed by Helen Dreiser and the University of Pennsylvania.

In listing the contents to be shipped, the contract describes Dreiser's Library of American Realism as a group of books that Dreiser planned to analyze further: "There is his library of American Realism about which he intended to write" (file 6961). But only forty of the books listed as part of the Library of American Realism ever arrived at the University of Pennsylvania, and sixteen of those forty books did not turn up until 1958, three years after Helen Dreiser's death. The Library of American Realism was stored in trunk 3, and at the top of what appears to be the most current content list, there is a handwritten note, "Check these books in shipment," which leads one to assume that most of the 119 books listed are in the trunk. The absence of so many books is odd, and there is evidence, as mentioned above, that Dreiser owned some of the missing books. For example, Dreiser owned sixteen books by Edgar Lee Masters (four of which are inscribed to Dreiser by Masters) and all are in the Pennsylvania collection, but the one book that Dreiser listed as belonging to his Library of American Realism, Mirage, did not arrive in Philadelphia, even though Evelyn Light wrote a note stating that she added the book to the trunk.

Besides showing Dreiser as a collector of books and a shaper of the canon, his private library reveals the authors that he admired. (The full list of books is posted on-line at the DreiserWebSource.) When looking at the larger collection, one might wonder which authors are best represented and which authors appear most often in Dreiser's library. At the top of the list is Upton Sinclair. Dreiser owned twenty-nine books by Sinclair--six more than by any other author. He owned twenty by Eugene O'Neill, nineteen by Sherwood Anderson, eighteen each by Charles Fort, John Powys, and H. L. Mencken, sixteen by Edgar Lee Masters, twelve each by Emile Zola and Frank Norris, eleven by George Sterling, ten each by Barrett Clark and H. G. Wells, nine each by Knut Hamsun, Sarah Millin, and Llewelyn Powys, eight by William Woodward, George Ade, and Hendrick Van Loon, and seven by Leon Trotsky, Gustavus Myers and Arthur Train. And although he listed works by William Dean Howells and Henry James as belonging in his Library of American Realism, works by these authors did not arrive in Philadelphia. Dreiser owned three books by Mark Twain, but Huckleberry Finn is not in the collection, a novel that is also listed in his Library of American Realism.

As Dreiser's letters, critics, and biographers reveal, we know that Dreiser loved reading Charles Fort's pseudo-scientific studies, H. G. Wells's science fiction, and John Powys's transcendental philosophy, so it is no surprise that he owned a large number of their books. But why he owned twenty-two volumes by Eugene O'Neill and ten by Barrett Clark, who was a drama critic and who wrote a book about Eugene O'Neill, is less certain, but these books remind us that Dreiser was a playwright who studied modern American drama. That he owned nine books by Sarah Millin, a South-African novelist, and none by Henry James or W. D. Howells, may be a mystery, but this also reveals Dreiser's eclectic, independent reading habits. Since Dreiser did own a number of books that he received as gifts and that he never read, judging Dreiser's reading habits by his book ownership can be misleading. For example, the crate labeled "A.B." contains valuable, autographed first editions, but many of these works remain unread, unopened, with the pages uncut, and a surprising number are in foreign languages, such as Russian and French, languages that Dreiser could not read.

Of the books in the collection, the ones containing marginalia best reveal Dreiser's reading patterns and his varied intellectual interests (see appendix 2). As early as 1896 in a "Reflections" column for Ev'ry Month, Dreiser outlined his approach to reading, one that he followed throughout his life. In the column, he argues that we should not begin with the classics of Greece and Rome, nor old masters, nor Shakespeare nor Milton, nor romances, nor clever novels; instead, we should begin with non-fiction, with "some light, readable works on astronomy, botany, chemistry, physics, and so forth . . . gather from them a little knowledge of the flowers and plants, the rocks and minerals and their qualities, and the position of the earth" (86). After educating ourselves, we may then turn to novels and differentiate good fiction from bad. Throughout his life, Dreiser followed his own advice. There are 117 books that contain marginalia and all are nonfiction, except Melville's Typee. And the marking in Typee indicates that Dreiser focused on the biographical introduction, not the novel. Of his annotated books, religious and philosophical works comprise the largest number, but they range greatly in subject matter, from Hinduism to Schopenhauer to works by Quakers. Even at the end of his life, Dreiser was reading to learn. In December 1945, on the inside cover of Dreiser's copy of Paul Bunton's A Search in Secret India, Helen Dreiser wrote that Dreiser was reading and marking this volume "a few days before passing away." In 1944, when she visited Dreiser in Los Angeles, Marguerite Tjader found Dreiser surrounded by his books: "All around were bookcases with dictionaries, and many scientific books and magazines, and manuscripts; the whole room seemed alive with information and ideas" (149).

If we are to measure the ideas that influenced Dreiser by looking at the books that he marked, then Quakerism ranks first. He owned and wrote in at least eight books on, about, or by Quakers, including The History, Beliefs, Practices of Friends, Biographical Sketches and Anecdotes of Members of the Religious Society of Friends, A History of the Friends in America, The Journal of John Woolman, George Fox's Journal, and three Quaker books by Rufus Jones. And even in the volume Hinduism: The World-Ideal, by Maitra Harendranath, next to a line that states "Hindus are the Fortean work (Wild Talents) contains any marginalia and those markings are slight. Dreiser's fascination with Fort and with reading non-fictional works emanated from one desire, the attainment of truth. If nothing else, Dreiser's private library shows him to be a seeker of knowledge who would use any means at his disposal to reach beyond the limits of traditional thinking if he were to know the unknowable.

Besides these religious works, Dreiser read and annotated books on almost every topic, from economics to sex, from science to literature, and from history to psychology. In general, the books with marginalia fall into seven categories: economics, literary criticism, philosophy, politics, psychology, religion, and science. While his varied intellectual interests are well known, the library offers proof that Dreiser's philosophical and scientific musings were based on extensive reading. In The Inevitable Equation: The Antithetic Pattern of Theodore Dreiser's Thought and Art, Rolf Lundén argues that Dreiser would read "anyone who moved him closer to the truth" (35). In 1894, Dreiser began his search for the truth by reading Spencer and Huxley, and he continued his eclectic search for knowledge by reading Charles Fort, Sigmund Freud, John Powys, H. G. Wells, Mary Baker Eddy, John Woolman, John Watson, A. A. Brill, and Jacques Loeb.

In the 117 books with marginalia, Dreiser was far more likely to underline passages than to write in the margins, and only about half of these books contain extensive marking. Dreiser marked books by underlining passages, running a line beside the text, and/or placing X's, exclamation marks, and arrows in the margins (see fig. 2). In books with extensive markings, there is a combination of these marks, apparently indicating the significance of the passage. The lack of marking in most books may seem odd since Dreiser, especially in preparing his Notes on Life, borrowed extensively from other writers. Instead of marking books, Dreiser often prepared notes or had notes prepared, as Neda Westlake explains in "Theodore Dreiser's Notes on Life." Of the thirty-one books that Westlake lists as being quoted extensively in Notes on Life, only six are among the books containing marginalia and a majority of the thirty-one books are not in the Dreiser collection at the University of Pennsylvania, which indicates that Dreiser borrowed from libraries and/or that books are missing.

FIG. 2. Examples of Dreiser's marking. From The Economy of Abundance, by Stuart Chase (New York: Macmillan, 1934); item 49D-248. Courtesy of the Theodore Dreiser Papers, University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

As mentioned above, the extent to which Dreiser marked books varied greatly. For example, in Glenn Plumb's Industrial Democracy only one page is slightly marked, but Gustavus Myers's five books are extensively marked. To Gustavus Myers, Dreiser wrote on March 31, 1916, "Quite recently I sat down and went through four of your volumes on American Wealth--Great Fortunes in America--three volumes--and Canadian Wealth one. Before that I had read your History of Tammany Hall. I may express myself lamely in this matter but to me these are very important books--the first honest, intelligible and intelligent explanation and proof of how great fortunes are, unusually, made" (Letters 1: 208-9). As judged by the underlining and marginalia that appear throughout Myers's books, Dreiser's admiration of the author is genuine. But the type and purpose of Dreiser's markings varied greatly. In a work that attacks Catholicism by Saxby Penfold entitled Why a Roman Catholic Cannot Be President of the United States, Dreiser inserted a two-page note, indicating that the author's argument goes too far. In Melville's Typee, the only work of fiction to contain marginalia, Dreiser marks lightly throughout the work, but he is particularly interested in the introduction where he notes Melville's age when writing various works. In Theodore Reik's Psychology of Sex Relations, in an attempt to distance herself from the marginalia, Helen Dreiser writes that Theodore Dreiser marked the book. But Dreiser only marked the beginning of Reik's book, and the marginalia indicates that he focused on the nature of the sex drive and the confusion of sex and love. In other works, Dreiser simply admires an author; for example, on the dedication page of Llewelyn Powys's book Love and Death, Dreiser wrote: "This book is beautiful in wisdom, narrative poetry and truth. A book I truly love. T.D."

In his few marginal comments, Dreiser would typically qualify, contradict, or emphasize passages of the text. For example, in The Economy of Abundance Stuart Chase analyzes our modern economic structure and claims that we cannot go "back to the land"; in response, Dreiser writes, "no good to go back to the land." In a small popular version of Schopenhauer entitled Studies in Pessimism, Dreiser writes throughout, underlining passages about women that claim men are nobler than women because men reach the age of reason at twenty and women reach it at eighteen. Beside Schopenhauer's claim that the child should learn through experience and not through preconceived ideas, Dreiser writes, "Yes. Yes" (fig. 3). But in response to Schopenhauer's claim that this method of education has never been tried, Dreiser circles the word "tried" and writes, "never been permitted," qualifying Schopenhauer's claim. In reaction to this same passage, Dreiser writes, "In order that people may lead many must follow." In this longer comment, Dreiser is challenging Schopenhauer's philosophy, which is clear on the next page where Schopenhauer outlines his plans for children to learn from the "original" and not from "copies." In marginal comments, Dreiser contradicts Schopenhauer by writing: "But life does not work so" and "But they [children] are not capable of learning for the original" (122-23). Although Dreiser's marginal comments are rare, they demonstrate his independent and iconoclastic thinking.

Studies in Pessimism Studies in
Pessimism
FIG. 3. Dreiser's marginalia. From Studies in Pessimism, by Arthur Schopenhauer, (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1912); item 58D-305.
Courtesy of the Theodore Dreiser Papers, University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

But Dreiser's eclectic reading and ideas were often misunderstood. For example, Dreiser's appreciation and promotion of Charles Fort, a collector of bizarre and supernatural data, was taken by some as a sign of intellectual weakness or muddled thinking. When Dreiser sent his personal copy of Fort's Book of the Damned to H. G. Wells, Wells returned the book admonishing Dreiser to stop criticizing "orthodox science," and Wells requested God to "dissolve (& forgive)" Dreiser's Fortean society (Letters 2: 532). Dreiser responded to H. G. Wells on May 23, 1931:

In regard to Fort's work, I am still of the opinion that such a body of ideas, notions, reports, hallucinations--anything you will--gathered from whatever sources and arranged as strangely and, certainly I can say in this case, imaginatively, is worth any mind's attention. I think it is arresting just as pure imagination, as Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand League Under the Sea, or your own The Island of Dr. Moreau is arresting. (Letters 2: 532)

Dreiser greatly admired Fort's method of collecting and synthesizing data ignored by scientists, but Dreiser read Fort's books for entertainment and mental stimulation, not for factual information--only one Fortean work (Wild Talents) contains any marginalia and those markings are slight. Dreiser's fascination with Fort and with reading non-fictional works emanated from one desire, the attainment of truth. If nothing else, Dreiser's private library shows him to be a seeker of knowledge who would use any means at his disposal to reach beyond the limits of traditional thinking if he were to know the unknowable.

Note

I wish to thank Nancy Shawcross, Lynne Farrington, John Pollack, and the special collections staff of the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library for making Dreiser's library available. Permission to quote unpublished manuscripts has been granted by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania Library. The file numbers listed after items from the Dreiser Collection indicate the location of the item. In addition, I wish to thank Keith Newlin and Steve Brennan for their expert editing and for their numerous suggestions, additions, and corrections.

  • Appendix 1: Dreiser's Library of American Realism

  • Appendix 2: Books with Marginalia

  • Appendix 3: Theodore Dreiser's Private Library (Full list of books)

Works Cited

Dreiser, Helen. My Life with Dreiser. Cleveland: World, 1951.

Dreiser, Theodore. Dreiser-Mencken Letters: The Correspondence of Theodore Dreiser and H. L. Mencken, 1907-1945. 2 vols. Ed. Thomas P. Riggio. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1986.

_____. Letters of Theodore Dreiser: A Selection. 3 vols. Ed. Robert H. Elias. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1959.

_____. "Reflections." Ev'ry Month 2 (Sept. 1896): 4. Rpt. Theodore Dreiser: A Selection of Uncollected Prose. Ed. Donald Pizer. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1977. 86-88.

Hart, James D., ed. The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature. New York: Oxford UP, 1986.

Lundin, Rolf. The Inevitable Equation: The Antithetic Pattern of Theodore Dreiser's Thought and Art. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 1973.

Swanberg, W. A. Dreiser. New York: Scribner, 1965.

Tjader, Marguerite. Theodore Dreiser: A New Dimension. Norwalk, CT: Silvermine, 1965.

Westlake, Neda. "Theodore Dreiser's Notes on Life." Library Chronicle 20 (Winter-Summer 1954): 69-75.

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