Scope and arrangement
The collection contains correspondence, writings, photographs, movie stills, drawings, printed matter, and additional personal papers of Canadian-born Constance Lindsay Skinner and her parents. Correspondence is with authors, artists, editors, publishers, explorers, scholars, journalists, and people in the theatre. Writings include holograph manuscripts and typescripts of Skinner's short stories, articles, novels, plays, radio broadcasts, children's stories and criticism. Photographs are of family and friends, Indians of North America, and views of British Columbia and remote areas of the Canadian northwest. The collection also includes drawings and illustrations, movie stills, clippings of reviews of her books and stories, and newspaper clippings relating to World War I. Other papers consist of her personal accounts, literary notebooks, a cookbook, address books, as well as letters and papers, 1876-1891, of her parents, Robert James Skinner and Annie Lindsay Skinner.
The papers consist primarily of letters received by Skinner as a writer, and her holograph manuscripts and typescripts. Her works attracted the attention of many writers, publishing companies, newspapers, magazines, educational institutions, libraries, and professional organizations, and elicited strong reactions from the public. This response is reflected in the many letters of admiration she received, especially for her writings on nature. Children wrote to Skinner about her juvenile stories, and schools occasionally used these stories to provide its students with valuable learning experiences.
Skinner's writings are broadly represented in the collection. They include Embers of Race, The Golden Klondike and How to Reach It, The Tiger Who Walks Alone, and Red Willows. Among the seventeen plays contained in the collection are Good Morning Rosamond!; In Gelderland, and The Lady of the Gray Gables. The collection also contains other examples of Skinner's writings: poems, book reviews, and reviews of dramatic works. Among the financial and legal records represented here are Skinner's royalty statements, canceled checks and receipts.
Files pertaining to Skinner's parents, Annie Lindsay Skinner and Robert James Skinner, account for the bulk of the family papers. There are a few papers of other relatives. Her parents' papers consist largely of correspondence, writings, and financial and legal papers. Skinner's father's papers also include a few documents from the Hudson's Bay Company. The remainder of the collection consists of photographs of Skinner, her family and relatives, the Canadian northwest, Alaska, Native Americans, friends and colleagues, and a few miscellaneous scrapbooks and letterbooks belonging to Skinner and her family.
The Constance Lindsay Skinner papers are arranged in eleven series:
This series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The bulk of the letters, c1900-1939, are to Constance Lindsay Skinner from authors, acquaintances, colleagues, the general public, literary agents and publishing companies. Represented in this series are letters from Bailey K. Ashford, Margaret Ashmun (National League of American Pen Women), David Belasco, Jessie Benton Fremont, Alice Hobart, Fannie Hurst, Robert Pollack Glasgow, Muna Lee, Jack London, Margaret Mitchell, Anne Carroll Moore, Clare Turlay Newberry (Mrs. David Newberry), Knud Rasmussen (author and explorer) and N. C. Wyett. Publishing companies and publications represented include Ainslee's Magazine, Bobbs Merrill Co., Boni & Liveright, D. Appleton & Co., Dodd, Mead & Co., Farrar and Rhinehart, Harper & Co., Henry Holt & Co., and Macmillan & Co. (George Platt Brett, Jr.) and The New York Herald Tribune. Other organizations represented include The American Library Association, The Author's League of America, The National League of American Pen Women, The New York Public Library, Wisconsin State Historical Society, and Women's National Book Association. This series ends with several children's letters addressed to Skinner.
This series is arranged by title of work. The writings in holograph manuscript, typescript and annotated typescript, c1890-1939, represent a sizable portion of Skinner's body of work as an author. Among these works are Description of a Journey in British Columbia, The Chinook, Embers of Race, The Hudson's Bay Company, The King's Women or Torch in the Mist, No Tomorrow With Friends, The Peregrinations of Four O' Clock, The Tiger Who Walks Alone, and Red Willows. Some of the manuscripts are incomplete; some contain duplicate carbon typescripts. See also: Box 18 for page proofs and an unbound copy of Beaver, Kings and Cabins; see also: Series X Printed Matter.
This series is arranged by title of work. The writings contain several works, (1909-1939), that Skinner edited or co-wrote, or to which she made contributions. The works are not complete manuscripts; they include The Pageant of America, The Chronicles of America, and The Rivers of America.
This series is arranged by title of play. Plays are usually in holograph manuscript or typescript. Noted plays include In Gelderland, a musical sketch written for children when Skinner was a teenager; Good-Morning Rosamond! from her novel of the same name; and The Lady of the Gray Gables.
This series consists of assorted poems whose subjects are similar to those found in her other writings. The poems are usually one or two pages long, and exist in holograph or typescript.
This series is arranged first by radio scripts, then by book reviews, and lastly, notes. The radio programs included here were broadcast to New York City listeners throughout the 1930s. All of the broadcasts relate to Skinner's writings or to her recommendations on juvenile literature. The Book Reviews, arranged by author of the book reviewed, represent only a small portion of the many book reviews Skinner wrote (see note below). The notes are a miscellaneous mixture relating to her writings.
This series contains the papers of Skinner's parents, Annie Lindsay Skinner and Robert James Skinner, including some minor correspondence with other relatives. There is only one letter to Constance Lindsay Skinner from her mother, c1901. The bulk of the letters in Annie Lindsay Skinner's papers are from Robert, 1876-1922. The remainder of Skinner's mother's papers are general correspondence, 1886-1922; miscellaneous writings; a certificate for teaching in British Columbia dated 1873; postcards; newspaper clippings; and estate papers. Robert James Skinner's papers consist of letters to his daughter Constance, 1899-1909; general correspondence, 1882-1909; estate papers, 1911; certificates of stock in Quesnel Quartz Mining Company owned by Robert and his brother Ernest, 1878; tax records, 1884-1909; papers pertaining to Skinner's duties as administrator for the estate of William Thomas Rogers, 1902-1904; a photograph of Robert J. Skinner's grave site; Hudson's Bay Company records, 1852-1887; and miscellaneous papers. The remainder of this series consists of a few relatives' letters.
This series contains Constance Lindsay Skinner's personal accounts, 1913-1939; royalty statements for her writings; miscellaneous accounts; contracts; copyright records. 1907-1915; insurance policies; tax records; checks and check books.
This series contains published articles by Skinner, arranged by title of article. Most of the articles appeared in U. S. publications, notably Ainslee's Magazine. The series also contains reviews by Skinner of concerts, operas and plays; a scrapbook of newspaper reviews of dramatic works by Skinner; reviews of authors' published works; reviews and publicity related to Skinner's books and plays; Skinner's poems; miscellaneous articles on the American West and Canada; articles about the Skinner family; certificates; and assorted ephemera.
The photographs include images of Constance Lindsay Skinner, her parents Annie Lindsay Skinner and Robert James Skinner, relatives identified and unidentified, a metal-framed photograph of an unidentified man, a photograph of an unidentified woman on the verso of a pocket mirror, and photographs of actors, acquaintances and friends. There is also a group of photographs, c1890, taken in a whaling village in either British Columbia or Alaska. Included are images of native Americans, among them, women and children. Other photographs in this group include whaling ships with sails, whalers gutting whales, whale bones drying in the sun, dog sleds and some of Skinner's relatives visiting the whaling village. The remainder of the photographs are pictures of children performing Skinner's play In Gelderland, and movie stills of Ojibway Indians from the silent film Silent Enemy (produced by Paramount Pictures). The photograph albums are "Shasta North" half tone images of northwest Canada; "Vancouver, British Columbia, July 1897"; Koda Gems, an album of images of an unidentified Asian location, c1890; and a family album containing pictures of Constance Lindsay Skinner, her family and friends, including several pictures of the American author Jack London. The remainder of this series consists of a framed portrait of Richard Mansfield, illustrations for Skinner's novels, a scroll honoring Annie Lindsay Skinner as honorary President of the YWCA in 1911, and an illustrated view, mounted on cardboard, of Quebec City.