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W. Clyde Fitch Collection, 1867-1986 (Bulk: 1883-1909)
6 archives boxes, 3 records storage boxes, 3 oversize pamphlet binders (6.3 linear ft.)

Abstract:
Correspondence, annotated play scripts, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, articles and photographs documenting the literary career, works, and personal life of Clyde Fitch (1865-1909), American dramatist and graduate of Amherst College in the Class of 1886. Correspondents include Robert Browning, Richard Harding Davis, William Dean Howells and William Lyon Phelps.

Terms of Access and Use:

Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Clyde Fitch Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the W. Clyde Fitch Collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections

Historical Note

W. Clyde Fitch (AC 1886) was a prolific and highly successful American playwright best known for plays of social satire and character study. Notable for having four of his plays running concurrently on Broadway, he went on to write and produce, in a twenty-year period, thirty-six original plays, twenty-one adaptations, and five dramatizations of novels. His name alone was enough to draw large audiences, and his works were produced throughout the United States and in Europe as well. He was the first American dramatist to be regularly produced abroad. The critic and scholar William Lyon Phelps wrote in 1921, "when [Fitch] began to write, American drama scarcely existed; when he died it was reality.... He did more for American drama than any other man in our history."

William Clyde Fitch was born in Elmira, New York on May 2, 1865. He spent part of his childhood in Schenectady, New York, and attended the Holderness School, Plymouth, New Hampshire, before attending Amherst College. At Amherst he was known among his classmates as "Billy" (after his given name William, which he later dropped) and was active in dramatic productions; his literary publications in college were mainly verse, including his Grove Oration speech in 1886. His first successful play, Beau Brummel (1890), was written especially for the actor Richard Mansfield. Subsequent plays of that period were largely melodramas and historical works that were less successful than his comedies of the early 1900s, including The Climbers (1901), Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1901), The Girl with the Green Eyes (1902), The Truth (1907) and The City (1909). However, the popularity of his works on the stage barely exceeded his own lifetime.

Fitch was an avid collector of books, antiques and art, with which he filled his home at 113 East 40th St., New York City (a residence that, for a time, was one of New York's most famous salons), as well as at his other homes at Katonah, New York; and Greenwich, Connecticut. The "Clyde Fitch Memorial Room" in Converse Hall at Amherst College was a gift to the College from Fitch's mother. It contained many of the furnishings and most of the books that were in his study in New York City.

Clyde Fitch died on September 4, 1909, one week after an operation for appendicitis in Châlons-sur-Marne, France, at age 44.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Correspondence, annotated play scripts, scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, articles and photographs documenting the literary career, works, and personal life of Clyde Fitch (1865-1909), American dramatist and graduate of Amherst College in the Class of 1886. Correspondents include Robert Browning, Richard Harding Davis, William Dean Howells and William Lyon Phelps.


Information on Use
Terms of Access and Use
Restrictions on access:

There is no restriction on access to the Clyde Fitch Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Restrictions on use:

Requests for permission to publish material from the W. Clyde Fitch Collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Preferred Citation

When quoting material in this collection the preferred citation is:

[Identification of item], in W. Clyde Fitch (AC 1886) Collection [Box #, folder #], Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst College Library

History of the Collection


Additional Information
Contact Information
Amherst College Archives and Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
PO Box 5000
Amherst, MA 01002-5000

Phone: (413) 542-2299
Fax: (413) 542-2692

Email Reference Form: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives/askus
URL: http://www.amherst.edu/library/archives

Language
English.