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Arthur Henry papers


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

Arthur A. Henry was born in 1867, the son of James and Serepta Henry. James Henry died in 1870 from wounds sustained during the Civil War; leaving Arthur and his siblings to be raised by their mother who championed the temperance movement. Arthur Henry received his education at Northwestern University Preparatory School from 1882 to 1883 before beginning his writing career in Chicago at age 16. He worked for several newspapers: as a political writer for the Chicago Globe from 1884 to 1892 and as city editor for the Toledo Blade from 1892 to 1894. In 1894, Henry and his wife, Maude R. Wood (also a reporter for the Toledo Blade) left the Toledo Blade and wrote a book together, published a local newspaper, and worked together in several Toledo businesses. In 1896, Henry began working as a publicity agent for Hermann the Great, a magician. From the late 1890s to 1905, Henry appears to have focused on his writing, publishing several books and drawing inspiration from his close friendship with Theodore Dreiser. In 1905, Henry moved to Yakima, Washington to work with his brother at Henry Bros. Realty and Investment Company, where he remained until 1910 when he returned to the east coast. From 1910 to his death in 1934, he continued to write, although Keith Newlin refers to this period as being "the decline of Henry's writing career," (page 186). He authored four 1-act plays for children and the play The Night Before with his daugther Dorothy, with whom he developed a close relationship around 1926. At the time of his death, he was working on a semi-autobiographical novel, "Roger Allen," which remains unpublished.

Henry was married three times: to Maude A. Wood (1873-1957), the first woman reporter at the Toledo Blade, from 1893 to 1902 (the mother of Henry's daughter, Dorothy, born in 1894); to Anna Mallon (1862-1921), owner of Anna T. Mallon & Co., Stenographers and Typewriters (which typed Dreiser's Sister Carrie manuscript), from 1903 to 1910; and Claire Kummer, a playwright, from 1910 to his death in 1934. He lived with Theodore Dreiser and his family for a period of time during his estrangement from his first wife, Maude, and enjoyed a close friendship. That friendship deteriorated, however, after the 1902 publication of Henry's An Island Cabin, which contained an unflattering character based upon Dreiser. Later, Dreiser reciprocated with "an unflattering portrait of Arthur and Anna's courtship in "Rona Murtha," published in A Gallery of Women in 1929," (Newlin, pages 185-186).

In addition to the works he co-authored with his daughter, Dorothy, Henry was the author of Nicholas Blood, Candidate (1890), The Flight of the Pidgeon (with Maude Wood Henry) (1894), A Princess of Arcady (1900), An Island Cabin (1902), The House in the Woods (1904), Lodgings in Town (1905), The Unwritten Law (1905), Peter and the Fairies (1913), and a play, Time (1924).

Works cited or consulted:

Newlin, Keith. A Theodore Dreiser Encyclopedia. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2003.

Walker, Maggie and Mark Walker. Dreiser's 'Other Self': The Life of Arthur Henry. McKinleyville, California: Fithian Press, 2005.

This collection includes a small number of materials relating to Arthur Henry's life and family. The collection includes a marriage certificate documenting Henry's marriage to Maude R. Wood, his first wife and the mother of his daughter, Dorothy. The marriage took place in Ohio on May 22, 1893.

The collection also includes an annotated typescript of the play The Night Before which Henry co-authored with his daughter, Dorothy. The title page of the typescript has Arthur's name crossed out indicating that this was probably Dorothy's copy. It is possible that this copy was used by Dorothy, after her father's death, to try to revive the play, which, according to Newlin, "was closed by the police after four performances as an offense to public sensibilities, and Henry and his cast were jailed overnight," (page 186). Researchers will also find playbills and a program for the play (performed at Irving M. Lesser's Great Neck Playhouse and Werba's Brooklyn Theater) and congratulatory telegrams to Arthur and Dorothy sent on the opening night of the play (August 29, 1928). Telegrams were sent by Clare Kumming (Arthur's third wife), Eddie Dowling, Caroline Lambert, and Katherine Stewart.

There are two copies of "Roger Allen," Henry's semi-autobiographical novel which was unpublished at the time of his death. There is a draft typescript with significant editing and annotations and a cleaner typed copy with a floppy disk. The draft typescript probably dates from the early 1930s, but the cleaner typed copy may have been created by the Walkers prior to their gift of the collection in 2004. In this novel, Henry wrote about his relationship with Dreiser (Theodore Doscher in the novel). It appears that following Henry's death, Dorothy corresponded with Dreiser about publishing the novel.

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Mark Walker, 2004.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Holly Mengel
Finding Aid Date
2017 May 31
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use. However, Access to the computer files (located in box 1, folder 6) is restricted. The Kislak Center will provide access to the information on these materials from duplicate master files. If the original does not already have a copy, it will be sent to an outside vendor for copying. Patrons are financially responsible for the cost. The turnaround time from request to delivery of digital items is about two weeks for up to five items and three to seven weeks for more than five items. Please contact Reprographic Services ( for cost estimates and ordering. Once digital items are received, researchers will have access to the files on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Researchers should be aware of specifics of copyright law and act accordingly.

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.

Collection Inventory

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Marriage license for Arthur A. Henry and Maude R. Wood, 1893 May 22.
Drawer 99 Folder unknown container
Holy Night or The Night Before, annotated typescript of play (probably Dorothy's copy), circa 1928-1932.
Box 1 Folder 1
The Night Before, congratulatory telegrams for opening night, 1928 August 29.
Box 1 Folder 2
The Night Before, playbills and programs, 1928 August-September.
Box 1 Folder 3
"Roger Allen," draft typescript (annotated and corrected), circa 1930-1934.
Box 1 Folder 4-5
"Roger Allen," typescript and floppy disk [restricted], undated.
Box 1 Folder 6-7

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