Scope and arrangement
The James Barton papers represent the career and personal life of American actor James Barton. The Productions Series consists of scripts and publicity materials from the theatre film and television productions James Barton performed in from the late 1890s until his death in 1962. The Sheet Music series contains scores for songs Barton performed and other popular songs of the day. Photographs include professional and candid shots of Barton, productions he appeared in, his wife Kathryn, his family, and other friends and colleagues. The Personal Files include an address book, drafts and notes for an autobiography, correspondence, diaries, membership cards, various notes and miscellany and files pertaining to professional organizations of which Barton was a member, most notably, the Lambs Club. Contracts and clippings documenting Barton's life and career are also present in the Contracts series, the Clippings Series and in the Scrapbooks series.
In addition to James Barton's papers, this collection also includes materials collected by his wife Kathryn Barton (née Mullin/Penman) for thirty years after his death. Most of this pertains to James Barton, but some of it pertains to Kathryn Barton.
One box of memorabilia including make-up, nose molds, wig base, combs and mirrors, and a single spat, has been separated to the T-Cabinet and will be available to researchers on request.
The James Barton papers are arranged in seven series:
- 1890s-19687 boxes
This series is largely made up of scripts and sides. Other production files present in this series are call sheets, schedules, publicity materials, programs, posters, flyers and occasionally correspondence or box office sheets. Photographs, contracts and clippings pertaining to productions can also be found in their respective series. All correspondence, including that which pertains to productions, will be found in Personal Files. Arranged in alphabetical order, by show title
- 1911-195911 boxes
This series contains sheet music for over 160 songs. Some of these songs were performed by Barton in stage and film productions. Many were used in his vaudeville acts, or perhaps submitted to him for that use. This rich collection of songs, ranging from the familiar to the obscure, will be a valuable resource for those interested in early and mid-twentieth century American popular song. Arranged in alphabetical order, by song title
- ca. 1900-19626 boxes
This series consists of professional and candid photographs of James Barton. There are publicity shots, production stills, live performance shots, and rehearsal and on-set candids from Barton's stage film and television work. Also present are posed full body and head shots, and a smaller number of candids of Barton, his wife Kathryn Penman, his family (many of whom were also performers) and various friends and associates.
- 1910s-1990s12 boxes
- 1910s-1960s2 boxes
This series provides a comprehensive history of Barton's career, with contracts from the 1910s to the 196os. If looking for contracts from a particular production, they will be found in the folder(s) covering the date span that production falls under. Arranged in chronological order.
- 1900s-1980s4 boxes
This series documents Barton's career and personal life through clippings from American newspapers and magazines from the 1900s to the 1980s. Both national and local publications are present here. After Barton's death in 1962, his wife, Kathryn Barton, continued to collect clippings pertaining to him and her, his career, and his collaborators. If looking for clippings pertaining to a particular production, they will be found in the folder(s) covering the date span that production falls under. Clippings will also be found in Series VII: Scrapbooks. Arranged in chronological order.
- 1905-196211 boxes
Scrapbooks, containing clippings, photographs, and ephemera, represent Barton's career and life from his early vaudeville career in 1905 to his death in 1962. Arranged in chronological order.