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Maurine Watkins letter

 Collection — Folder: S734
Identifier: S0734

Scope and Contents

This collection includes an autographed, signed letter from Maurine Watkins in Indianapolis, Indiana regarding recognition of her as an Indiana author.


  • circa 1896-1969


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

Maurine Dallas Watkins was born July 27, 1896 to George W. (a minister) and Georgie [Georgia] May [Mamye] Watkins (a teacher) in Kentucky; she was an only child and later took the middle name of Dallas because her father was born in Dallas County, Missouri. The family later moved to Indiana. She attended Transylvania College and Hamilton College, transferring credit to Butler College (Indianapolis, Indiana), from which she received an A. B. in 1919. She also attended Radcliffe College, from which she received a masters degree, became a reporter for the Chicago Tribune in 1924, and then attended Yale University as a graduate student in drama.

She wrote a play called A/The brave little woman (also Play ball), based on her reporting of the murder by two women of their lovers. It became a big hit in the 1926-1927 season; was the basis of a 1927 Cecil B. DeMille silent movie; the 1942 film "Roxie Hart"; and the musical and movie, "Chicago". She wrote 20 other plays, never produced, and scripted several successful movies, including "Up the River", "Search for Beauty", "No Man of Her Own", and "Libeled lady".

Maurine was a very wealthy woman and traveled to arrange for her bequests. Since she had developed a disfiguring facial cancer, she wore a black veil when she went out in public. She died of lung cancer on Aug. 10, 1969 in Duval (Jacksonville), Florida and is buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, Dallas County, Missouri, where her parents are also buried.

Bass, Carole. "Murder, she wrote — at Yale and on Broadway". 06520: The news blog of the Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 2015/09/02.

Kiernan, Louise. Murder she wrote. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2015/08/10.

Schiff, Judith. "How Yale begat Chicago". Yale Alumni Magazine. Retrieved 2015-08-10.

"Watkins, George Wilson". Find a Grave Memorial. Retrieved 2015/09/02.

"Watkins, Georgia Mamye". Find a Grave Memorial. Retrieved 2015/09/02.

"Watkins, Maurine D.", 1920 United States Federal Census. Retrieved 2015/08/10.

"Watkins, Maurine Dallas". Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current. Retrieved 2015/08/10.

"Watkins, Maurine Dallas". Find a Grave Photos. Retrieved 2015/09/02.

"Watkins, Maurine Dallas". (2982) In Indiana authors and their books: 1967-1980 (p. 411). Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College. Print. ISLI 016.810 B219I SUPP. 1967-80

"Watkins, Maurine Dallas". Indiana Biography Index Before 1990. Retrieved 2015/09/02.

"Watkins, Maurine Dallas". Maurine Dallas Watkins website. Retrieved 2015/09/02.

"Who remembers Maurine Dallas Watkins?" Butler University Quarterly July 1984:11. Print. ISLI 378 B985QA 7/1984


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records transfer from the Indiana Division.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2015/09/02 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2015/09/02 by Edythe Huffman.
Maurine Watkins letter
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.