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Paul Dresser and Theodore Dreiser collection

 Collection — Folder: S0381
Identifier: S0381

Scope and Contents

The oldest item is the Old Mill time book, which Johann Paul Dreiser, Sr., manager of the Sullivan Woolen Mills, kept from March 1895 to 1901. A. R. Markle wrote a 9-page, typed article entitled “Paul Dresser‟s Birthplace.” There are several newspaper articles, which have been photocopied, about the family. A two-page article from The Rendells, Inc., entitled “Dreiser Answers Legal Objections to the Highly Controversial Text of His America Is Worth Saving‟ reports that he wrote the book in 1940 with the help of British novelist Cedric Belfrage. In one envelope are letters written by Theodore Dreiser from 1988 through 1936, with one undated. On October 16, 1903, Paul Dresser typed a letter on Howley, Haviland & Dresser Music Publishers paper addressed to “Dear friend Mamie.” Theodore Dreiser signed a typed letter to Clyde S. Crawford, Sullivan, Indiana, on May 16, 1940, when Theodore was living in Hollywood, California. Also included is a portrait of Theodore Dreiser.


  • 1895-1949


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

In 1844, Johann Paul Dreiser came from Mayen in the Eifel region of Germany. He married Sarah Mary Schanab, a Mennonite from a farming community near Dayton, Ohio. Sarah was disowned when she married and converted to Catholicism. They had thirteen children. Both Paul and Theodore were born in Terre Haute, Indiana. Paul Dresser (he changed his surname) was born on April 22, 1858, and never married. He was a songwriter, actor, playwright, composer, and musician. Paul died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 48 on January 31, 1906 in New York City.

Paul's younger brother Theodore was born August 27, 1871, and married first Sara White in 1898, and then his cousin Helen Richardson in 1944. Paul was a novelist. He died of heart failure at the age of 74 on December 28, 1945 in Hollywood, California.


Information found within collection. Accessed August 15, 2013.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as donations from Clyde Crawford and Emeline Fairbanks and a purchase from House of Books, Ltd. on various dates.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014/04 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield. EAD finding aid created 2014/04 by Nikki Stoddard Schofield.
Paul Dresser and Theodore Dreiser collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.