Edith Wharton and Clyde Fitch typescript of "The House of Mirth: A Play in Four Acts, circa 1906"
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Edith Wharton (1962-1937), was a prominent American author. She published The House of Mirth in 1905, Ethan Frome in 1911, The Custom of the Country in 1913, and The Age of Innocence in 1920, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. She also authored short stories (some of which have been judged among the best American short stories of the twentieth century), poetry, and nonfiction works.
The success of Wharton's novel The House of Mirth, published in 1905, led literary agent Elizabeth Marbury (1856-1933) to suggest to Wharton that the book be adapted as a theatrical work, with the collaboration of Clyde Fitch (1865-1909), a famous dramatist of the time, who also was one of Marbury's clients. Wharton and Fitch co-wrote the play during the summer of 1906; and on September 14 of that year, it premiered at the Detroit Opera House. The play The House of Mirth was never published during Wharton's lifetime. A critical edition of the play, edited by Glenn Loney, was published in 1981 (East Brunwick, NJ: Associated University Presses). The edition is based upon the complete typescript held by the University of Pennsylvania, and on the four preliminary drafts of the play found at New York Public Library (Lincoln Center Library, Billy Rose Collection).
This collection consists of a complete typescript of the play The House of Mirth, co-written by Edith Wharton and Clyde Fitch. According to Glenn Loney, who edited the critical edition of the play in 1981, the typescript is probably the only copy of the final version of the drama, as it incorporates the additions and revisions which were added to the working versions of the play found at the New York Public Library. A photocopy of the whole typescript is also included in the collection.
The typescript will provide insight on the collaboration between two celebrated authors of their time. Researchers interested in Fitch's work as a dramatist are recommended to consult the Clyde Fitch typescripts and letters, circa 1890-1925, (Ms. Coll. 1332), which includes ten unpublished plays, many of which were written during the same time frame as this adaptation of The House of Mirth.
The typescript was acquired on July 20, 1926 through the Benjamin Franklin Library Fund
Formerly Dewey 812.W5551H
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Siel Agugliaro
- Finding Aid Date
- 2018 February 27
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research use.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.