Scope and arrangement
The collection consists of Butler's correspondence, a typescript of his story "The Goldfish Mystery" (1935), and a few pieces of ephemera. The correspondence includes letters from authors, editors, artists, politicians and others, together with some of Butler's replies, concerning the publication of his stories; his activities in connection with the Authors' League of America, the Authors' Guild, various clubs, committees and charities; and personal affairs. Subject matter also includes issues affecting writers, such as copyright, plagiarism, and censorship; topics pertaining to World War I and the international political climate of the time; and Butler's involvement with the community of Flushing, Queens. Arrangement is alphabetical by name of correspondent. When a file contains outgoing letters from Butler, it is indicated in a note. Also included are two files under Butler's name, one of which contains letters to individuals not on the correspondents list and one which includes ephemera. The last file of the series contains letters with illegible signatures.
Correspondents include Ellery Sedgwick and the staff of the Atlantic Monthly, mostly regarding Butler's contributions to magazine, 1926-1937; H.L. Mencken discussing Butler's refusal to sign the Dreiser Protest; author and filmmaker Rex Beach regarding use of Butler's work for motion pictures, copyright issues, and the Dallinger Bill; author Porter Emerson Browne's letters and manifesto to the American people discussing the economy and current political situation of the U.S; novelist Ernest Poole regarding the war crisis; and letters from Richard Harding Davis, Hamlin Garland, novelist and playwright George Barr McCutcheon, artist Tony Sarg, and others discussing matters related to the Authors' League.
There is also correspondence with prominent political figures. A letter to Governor Herbert Lehman contains Butler's praise of Lehman's support for stricter regulation of public utilities; letters from New York City mayors John Purroy Mitchel and John F. Hylan include invitations for Butler to sit on various committees; a letter from Congressman Sol Bloom discusses the Authors' League and the Committee on Patents; and letters from Queens Borough President Maurice E. Connoly request Butler's participation in various Queens County events and also thank Butler for contributions.
The Ellis Parker Butler papers are arranged in two series: