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Owen Fawcett Papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS-0422
This collection houses personal diaries, scrapbooks, manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, dramatic works, and books documenting the life and work of Owen Stanley Fawcett (1838-1904) and American and English theatre in the late 19th century. The collection also touches on John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Dates

  • 1815-1940 (bulk 1857-1918)

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

7.83 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection houses personal diaries, scrapbooks, manuscripts, correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, dramatic works, and books documenting the life and work of Owen Stanley Fawcett (1838-1904) and American and English theatre in the late 19th century. The collection also touches on John Wilkes Booth and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.

Biographical/Historical Note

Owen Stanley Fawcett was born to Charles Henry (1805-1867) and Mary (Lewis) Fawcett in London, England on November 21, 1838. As a young man, Charles Fawcett had trained as a hairdresser but later turned to acting and played in provincial theaters in the North and West of England in the 1820s and 1830s. He returned to hairdressing after his marriage to Mary Lewis in 1837 and operated a shop in London's Oxford Street until the family emigrated to the United States. They arrived in New York on the British Queen on young Owen's second birthday. The Fawcetts moved to Philadelphia in 1842 where Charles Fawcett returned to theater, this time as a playwright.

Owen Fawcett studied at Miss Mary Carr's and at the Walnut Street Quaker School before deciding to pursue a career on the stage in 1853. He made his debut in Uncle Tom's Cabin in Norristown, Pennsylvania and continued to act for 50 years. During this time, he associated with many prominent thespians, including Edwin Booth (with whom he appeared during the 1883-1884 season), Joseph Jefferson, Lawrence Barrett, Minna Gale, Fanny Davenport, and Helena Modjeska. He also visited England, appearing on the British stage during the 1891-1892 season and writing numerous newspaper columns (entitled Rambles with my Pipe) about English locales and theater. Toward the end of his career, Fawcett also began adapting and writing dramatic works.

On December 2, 1870 Owen Fawcett married Mary Jane Jennie Peters in Chicago. Soon after, his mother returned to England and died at Denbigh, Wales, in 1877. Owen and Jennie Fawcett's only daughter, Mary, was born on January 19, 1875. Mary Fawcett married Harry Tremaine Uridge in February of 1895. Among her children was Owen Fawcett Uridge, who is also represented in this collection.

Fawcett celebrated his fiftieth year in the theatre and formally retired from the stage on December 5, 1903. Although he never achieved great prominence as an actor or as a writer, he served as a crucial link between two theatrical eras. He died at his home in Flat Rock, Michigan, on February 21, 1904.

Arrangement

This collection consists of seventeen boxes divided into thirteen series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Unbound Manuscripts
  2. Series II: Personal Diaries
  3. Series III: Personal Scrapbooks
  4. Series IV: Fawcett Family Clippings, Documents, and Other Materials
  5. Series V: Correspondence
  6. Series VI: Books and Bound Periodicals Owned by the Fawcett Family
  7. Series VII: The Stage Scrapbooks
  8. Series VIII: The Booth Family
  9. Series IX: Materials Documenting Owen Fawcett's Time in England
  10. Series X: The Theater in America Scrapbooks
  11. Series XI: Dramatic Works
  12. Series XII: Photographs
  13. Series XIII: Other Clippings and Documents

Acquisition Note

Mrs. Owen Fawcett Uridge donated these papers to the University of Tennessee's Special Collections Library.

Seperated Materials

A number of bound periodicals have been removed from this collection and cataloged in the University of Tennessee's Rare Books Stacks.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480