• IdentificationICU.SPCL.BARRONEA
  • TitleGuide to the Elwyn A. Barron Papers1877-1921
  • PublisherUniversity of Chicago Library
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Date1877-1921
  • Physical Description30 linear feet (60 boxes)
  • RepositorySpecial Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.
  • AbstractElwyn A. Barron (1855-1929) was a drama critic and playwright working in Chicago between 1877 and 1895. The Elwyn A. Barron Papers contain correspondence, memorabilia, dramatic criticism, and drafts of plays, novels, and poetry.

© The contents of this finding aid are the copyright of the University of Chicago Library

Theater and Performing Arts

Literature and Poetry


The collection is open for research.

When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Barron, Elwyn A. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Elwyn Alfred Barron was born in Lima, New York, in 1855. Educated at Robert College in Tennessee between 1868 and 1872, Barron worked at the Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1877. Until 1895 he was a drama critic and editorialist for this newspaper, which served as the primary source of news for the Midwestern and Western business community during this period. His work brought him into the orbit of many renowned American actors of the period; out of this experience he published an admiring biography of the actor Lawrence Barrett in 1889. In 1884, Barron married Harriet Lee Bird.

Barron also wrote plays, novels and poetry, including Robin Hood and Rosalind (1883, with A.S. Burt), A Moral Crime (1885, with fellow Chicago journalist Morgan Bates) and The Viking (1888). Barron's work was dramatic and favored historical settings. He was comfortable with both comedy and tragedy: Robin Hood and Rosalind, termed "a perfect piece of work," by one reviewer, closed with a wedding chorus, while The Viking, set in what Lawrence Barrett called "the weird and mystical North," ended somewhat less happily.

After leaving Chicago, Barron lived in Paris and London. There he collaborated with the English playwright Wilson Barrett; together they published the novel In Old New York in 1900. Between 1900 and 1916 Barron copyrighted 11 dramatic works. His romantic drama A Mountain Pink, again with Morgan Bates, was staged in Chicago in 1900. He also published Manders: A Tale of Paris (1899, 1900) and Marcel Levignet (1906).

From 1907 Barron lived and wrote in New York City. He died in 1929.

The Elwyn A. Barron Papers are organized into two series:

Series I: Personal, contains correspondence and memorabilia, spaning 1885-1921.

Series II: Writings, contains criticism, plays, novels, and poetry written by Barron and others. These include clippings of reviews written by Barron while working for the Chicago Inter-Ocean, and drafts and printed copies of his non-critical writing. Material is largely undated but appears to span 1877-1921.

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:

  • NamesBarron, Elwyn Alfred, 1855-
  • Subject
    • Drama -- History and criticism
    • Theater -- Illinois -- Chicago
  • Geographic CoverageChicago (Ill.) -- Newspapers