Eugene P. Lyle Jr. papers, 1890-1961  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Lyle, Eugene P. (Eugene Percy), 1873-1961
Eugene P. Lyle Jr. papers
1890-1961 (inclusive)
22 linear feet, (41 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 010
Eugene P. Lyle Jr. (1873-1961) was a journalist and a writer of pulp fiction who resided in Mexico for a number of years. The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, printed works, subject files, photographs, and the papers of his son, Eugene Lyle III.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Access Restrictions

UNARRANGED COLLECTION. UNAVAILABLE FOR USE. For more information, please submit a Notice of Interest in Unprocessed Collections .

Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Eugene P. Lyle Jr. was born December 31, 1873 in Dallas, Texas. His father Eugene Lyle Sr. was a mining engineer, his mother Mary was a member of the Angers pioneer family of Louisiana. The family moved to Lathrop, Missouri in 1879. Lyle attended high school in Kansas City, Missouri, spent two years at the University of Michigan, and worked at the Kansas City Times 1894-1897.

Eugene Lyle had a close relationship with Mexico. His parents lived in San Luis Potosi from the 1890s through the 1910s. His father was employed by the Compañia Metalúrgica Mexicana, and San Luis Potosi was the site of the company's smelter. Lyle lived with them 1897-1902, and came back to Mexico 1903-1905 and 1906-1907. He wrote fiction and non-fiction about the region. His sister, Gertie, was also a Mexican resident after her marriage, and escaped with her family to Veracruz during the 1914 invasion.

With his first wife, Ethel McGill, Lyle tried farming on the James River in Virginia from 1907-1916. They had three children, Eugene the 3rd, Marjorie Virginia, and Ethel. The couple divorced in 1914 and Lyle retained custody of his son, who later became a writer. In 1927 Lyle married Gwladys Myfanwy Morgan, a physician who wrote juvenile literature about Wales and poetry.

Lyle began writing short stories and magazine articles and published his first novel in 1898. He began contributing regularly to Everybody's Magazine, Munsey's, and World's Work, primarily investigative articles. He met O'Henry and Jack London. Lyle traveled to Europe as a correspondent for Everybody's Magazine in 1902-1905; worked for World's Work in Central America for several years; and in 1909 became a staff writer for Hampton's Magazine. After 1914 his work appeared in many venues including Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post, Sunset, and McBride's. After the war he moved with his son to San Diego, and in addition to writing, helped bring some of his stories to the screen (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. starred in The Gaucho in 1928).

In San Diego Lyle became involved with a writers' club, The Padres, and continued his interest in researching local history through explorations at the Mission San Diego de Alcala. Eugene P. Lyle Jr. died in San Diego in 1961.

Lyle's novels include Don Swashbuckler (1898); a best-seller, The Missourian (1905); Lone Star (1907); and The Transformation of Krag (1911); and Castaways' Island (1925). A serial, "D'Artagnan of Kansas," appeared in Everybody's Magazine while his co-authored work "A Dash of Irish" was being printed in Adventure in 1912-1914. His investigative journalism topics included the Supreme Court, the Kentucky tobacco wars, and the Guggenheim Trust in the US, while his writings about Central America explored politics, economy, and developing countries. Many short stories are in the Western genre, such as "Blaze Derringer"; others are adventures or speculative fiction.

Lyle wrote two articles that continue to be notable and led to the nickname, "The Prophet of Mission Hills," that titled a biographical article by fellow Padre E.L. Dieckmann in American History Illustrated (November 1976). Lyle's article, "The War of 1938," foresaw many of the issues that led to World War II and was published in Everybody's Magazine in September 1918. The article was widely reprinted during the final days of the First World War, and again in 1940. "The Advance of Wireless," a contemplation on emerging technologies and progress that appeared in World's Work in February 1905, has been cited in conjunction with the development of wireless computer networks.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection contains correspondence, manuscripts, printed works, subject files, photographs, and the papers of his son, Eugene Lyle III.

Personal correspondence is organized by name and is between various family members and includes memorabilia, family genealogy, and information of Lyle's farm, "Jamescrest."

Business correspondence is arranged alphabetically and is mostly with publishers and film companies.

Manuscripts are alphabetically arranged by title and include book length, short fiction, screen and photoplays, and published articles with notes and drafts. A series of "other manuscripts" consist of editorials written for Tru Confessions, book reviews, a section titled "war propaganda stuff," editorials by Lyle, and printed stories and articles.

The next section contains extensive subject files made up of holograph notes, both by Lyle and others, printed material, news clippings, and correspondence. Card files including cross referenced for Lyle's original subject files system and 3x5 subject cards can be found in Box 39.

A series of notebooks filed at the end of the collection include four scrapbooks containing clippings and notices about Lyle's published works, eight notebooks of lecture notes from Lyle's university days, and several cash books, and record books for Jamescrest Farm.

The photographs have been removed from the original order and housed separately for preservation purposes. The collection is notable for a series of images documenting Mexico before the Revolution, by Percy Cox, C.B. Waite, and unidentified photographers. A second series shows the members of Lyle's literary club, the San Diego "Padres," and historical discoveries at Mission San Diego de Alcala. The third series includes portraits of Lyle and family members, and research images for his 1920 story, "The High-Grader," and postcards from Holy City, California.

Photographs consist of 81 photographic prints and four negatives. Most of the images are by anonymous photographers. The collection is arranged into three series: Mexico, San Diego, and Miscellaneous.

The Mexico series is dated c. 1897-1910, during the presidency of Porfirio Diaz and his modernization program. The series includes five photos by Percy Cox, who worked with Lyle at the Kansas City Times 1894-1897 and probably traveled with him during Lyle's 1897-1902 residence in Mexico. Nine photos are by Charles Burlingame "C.B." Waite (1861-1929) of Mexico City, and three photos are by Schlattman Hermanos of Mexico.

The San Diego series dates from the 1940s and includes Lyle with his literary club, the Padres, and historical investigations at Mission San Diego de Alcala.

The Miscellaneous series includes vintage family photographs; research images from Lyle's 1920 story about mining criminals, "The High-Grader"; formal portraits of Eugene P. Lyle, Jr.; and a series of postcards of Holy City, California, c. 1930. Holy City was a community near Los Gatos, established in 1919 by "Father" William Riker to foster the "Perfect Christian Divine Way" of celibacy, abstinence, and white supremacy. The community boomed during the 1930s but collapsed when Riker, following a bid to become governor of California, was tried for pro-German sentiments.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Eugene P. Lyle, Jr. papers, Coll 010, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • American literature--20th century
  • Authors and publishers--United States
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Editors--United States
  • Journalists--Mexico
  • Journalists--United States
  • Motion picture authorship
  • Popular literature--Authorship
  • Pulp literature, American--Authorship
  • Screenwriters--United States
  • Western stories--Authorship
  • Personal Names :
  • Lyle, Eugene P. (Eugene Percy), 1873-1961
  • Family Names :
  • Lyles family
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Correspondence
  • Manuscripts for publication
  • Notebooks
  • Photographic prints
  • Postcards
  • Western stories