Scope and arrangement
The papers, 1880-1933, are the personal papers of Paul Kester (1870-1933), and to a lesser extent his brother Vaughan (1869-1911), their mother Harriet (Watkins) Kester and, sister-in-law Jessie (Jennings) Kester; illustrating the careers of the Kester brothers and the strong inter-personal relationship between family members.
The bulk of Paul Kester's papers are from individuals in the performing arts, such as actors and actresses, mainly American and British, playrights, producers, publishing companies and script writers. The correspondents include: American Play Company, Margeret Mary Anglin, David Belasco, Carl Bernhardt, Laucelot M. Blackford, John Blair, William Conrad Bobbs, Bobbs-Merrill Co., Susan Maria Breeks, George Platt Brett, Glenn Brown, W. Graham Browne, William Jennings Bryan, Witter Bynner, George Washington Cable, Charles Creighton Carlin, Andre Castaigne, Egerton Castle, Edith Louisa Cavell, David Laurance Chambers, Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), Edward Henry Clement, Constance Collier, Augustin Daly, Walter Johanne Damrosch, Charles Bancroft Dillingham, John J. Donnelly, Doubleday & McClure Co., Robert L. Downing, Theodore Dreiser, Douglas Fairbanks, Warren Farmer, William Faversham, Harrison Grey Fiske, Minnie Maddern Fiske, Carroll Hamilton Fitzhugh, John Tainto Foate Foate, Charles Frohman.
Other correspondents are: Clara (Clemens) Gabrilowtsch, Bertha Galland, Helen Hamilton Gardener, Arthur Garrett, Frederick Parker Gay, Grace George, Jeannette Leonard Gilder, Charlotte Anna Perkins Stetson Gilman, Harper & Brothers Co., William Surrey Hart, Walter J. Helm, James A. Herne, Agnes (Denfort) Hewes, Laurence Ilsley Hewes, Hillary & Hill Co., William Dean Howells, John Albert Tifin Hull, Fanny Janauschek, Henry Spencer Jennings, Mary Johnston, Mitchell Kennerly, Jane King, Arnold Kruckman, Oliver Hazard Perry LaFarge, Lilly Lantry, Harry Miller Lydenberg, Grant MacMillan, Macmillan Publishing Co., Elizabeth Marbury, Helen Mason, Everard Meade, Roi Cooper Megrue, Charles Henry Meltzer, Henry Louis Mencken, Robert Walton Moore, John Sanburn Phillips, Mary Pickford, Augustus Pitou, Harold John Pohl, Ada Rehan, Paul Robeson, May Robson, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, Annie Russell, Maud Dixon Salvini, Alessandro, Margaret Winthrop Sargent, Herbert Livingston Satterlee, Elizabeth Montgomery Sharpe, Edward Hugh Sothern, Julia Marlowe Sothern, Booth Tarkington, William Taft, Courtnay Thorpe, Charles Hanson Towne, Kate Nichols Trask, Ernest Truex, George Crouse Tyler, Edith Wharton, Gordon A. Wilkins, Paul Wilstach, Eugenia Woodward and Olive Wyndham.
Kester's personal letters, 1888-1924, are mainly to his mother, brother and sister-in-law. Many of the letters refer to his daily activities as a playwright such as scripts, reviews, actors, etc. These letters indicates that Kester maintained daily correspondence with his family. The writings contain Kester's working notes and drafts of his works including "Diane Dauntless", "His Own Country" and, "Why is Art? ".
The Paul Kester papers are arranged in three series:
Letters to Paul Kester from stage performers, authors, editors, playwrights, personal friends, etc. relative to his career as dramatist and author (arranged alphabetically) [18 ctns] ; his letters to his mother, 1888-1924, his brother Vaughan and other family members [2 ctns] ; a few manuscripts of his writings incl. his novel Diana Dauntless, and galley proofs of his novel His Own Country [1 ctn] ; personal financial and miscellaneous papers incl. contracts and agreements, royalty statements, clippings and photographs [6 ctns] ; papers relating to Edith Louisa Cavell [1865-1915] papers relating to gypsies, etc. [1 ctn]. Also, papers of his brother Vaughan Kester [1869-1911, journalist and author] [2 ctns] ; his mother Harriet Watkins Kester [d. 1926, a founder of Cleveland School of Art], Jessie Jennings Kester [wife of Vaughan Kester], incl. their letters to him, and letters of other family members [5 ctns]. Correspondents of Paul Kester include: Margaret Anglin, David Belasco, Charles B. Dillingham, Minnie Maddern Fiske, William Dean Howells, Fanny Janauschek, Klaw & Erlanger, Lily Langtry, Julia Marlowe, George Middleton, E. H. Sothern, and Paul Wilstach.
The remaining papers in this section are miscellaneous papers, photographs of the Kester family and small collections of other individuals papers. Kester collected papers about other individuals including Edith Louisa Cavell (1865-1915), an English nurse executed during W. W. I., Paul Wilstach (1870-), novelist and associate and gypsies.
Vaughan Kester papers contain incoming letters from colleagues; outgoing letters to his mother, 1891-1907, and Paul Wilstach, 1893-1895; writings and miscellaneous papers.
Harriet (Watkins) Kester papers contain incoming letters from friends, etc., 1874-1926; outgoing letters to her sons Paul and Vaughan. Mrs. Kester appears to have been very interested in the careers of her sons, noted by the fact that they took every opportunity to write to her. One letter dated 27 December 1919 to her son Paul notes the first notices of his book "Conservative Democracy", that "it pleased us very much". Other family letters are mainly to her daughter-in-law Jessie Jennings Kester, with whom she had continual correspondence, 1908-1922. Writings: diaries and miscellaneous papers.