B. Roland Lewis papers, 1915-1955  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Lewis, B. Roland (Benjamin Roland), b. 1884
B. Roland Lewis papers
1915-1955 (inclusive)
4 linear feet
Collection Number
The Benjamin Roland Lewis papers (1885-1955) consist largely of correspondence having to do with the publication of his scholarly works and also contains peoms, and drafts and bound typescripts of Lewis' work. B. Roland Lewis taught English at the University of Utah from 1915 to 1951. He was considered an authority on William Shakespeare.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections.
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT
Telephone: 801-581-8863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Benjamin Roland Lewis (1884-1959) was a member of the English Department faculty of the University of Utah from 1915-1951. His studies, both at the University and abroad, enabled him to assemble a fairly complete collection of Shakespeariana. On the basis of this material he produced several scholarly works that earned him an international reputation as a Shakespearian authority.

Lewis was born 3 December 1884 at St. Marys, Ohio, to Samuel and Katherine Fox. His mother died shortly after his birth and his father died when he was two years old; the three children of the family were placed with families in the neighborhood. Lewis learned to speak German fluently by the age of five. After attending common school and high school in St. Marys, Lewis began teaching at the age of seventeen. He worked his way through Ohio Northern University taking a Bachelor of Science degree in 1905 and Master of Science in 1907. During 1907-1908 he was a graduate student at the University of Chicago and from 1913 to 1915 was at Harvard University. He received a Master of Arts from Harvard in 1915. Ohio Northern University and the University of Utah gave him honorary Doctorates of Literature in 1941 and 1943.

Lewis was superintendent of schools at Hammond, Louisiana in 1905-1907; head of the English department of Grand Island College at Grand Island, Nebraska from 1907-1908; and head of the Department of English at Ellsworth College at Ellsworth, Illinois from 1908-1913. In 1915, on leaving Harvard University, he went to the University of Utah and for seven years was head of the department of English. The administrative duties interfered with his research work so he resigned as department head and remained as a faculty member. As a specialist in dramatic literature, Lewis lectured at the University of Chicago, Stanford University and other schools. During the school year 1932-1933 he was a Visiting Professor at Catholic University of America. During 1925-1926, Lewis was in London engaged in research in the British Museum, Bodleian Library at Oxford University, and Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. He spent many summers researching at the Huntington Library, and he spent 1932-1933 at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Lewis was the author of may books of drama, including the Technique of the One Act Play, 1918, One Act Plays in Colleges and High Schools, 1920, Contemporary One Act Plays, 1922, and University of Utah Plays, 1928, the first of a series of one act plays written and produced by students of the University of Utah. Effective Writing, written with Osborne J. P. Widstoe, who died before its completion, was published in 1923. Lewis' book Creative Poetry was published in 1930. The Shakespeare Documents, Lewis' monumental work comprises the fruits of many years of scholarship and research in a two volume work, published in 1942. These volumes represent a complete photographic reproduction of documents related to Shakespeare and his work. Another study on Shakespeare, published in 1942, was his biography of the man, The Life of William Shakespeare, based on the documents in Lewis' possession.

In 1938 Lewis was elected to the Institute of Art and Literature of France for his outstanding research on Shakespeare. He was a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the national scholastic fraternity, and Sigma Tau Delta fraternity. Lewis was a vice-president of the Shakespeare society (International) and vice-president of the Utah section. He was also a member of the Modern Language Association of America, the Harvard Club, and in 1936 was appointed to the Advisory Council of the Scholars' Facsimiles and Reprints Syndicate. In 1924-1925, Lewis was president of the Utah Teachers' Association.

B. Roland Lewis married Bessie Blanche Collins on 22 August 1906. They had two daughters, Catherine and Ruth. Lewis retired from teaching at the University of Utah in 1951, and died in 1959.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The B. Roland Lewis papers (1885-1955) consist largely of correspondence having to do with the publication of his scholarly works. There is little personal or biographical information. The First box does contain a biographical sketch written about 1930, a copy of a Who's Who sketch from about 1948 and a newspaper article about his early life. There are a few letters and some general information about Lewis' family genealogy. This first box also includes general correspondence from friends and professional associates.

Two boxes of correspondence about Lewis' books are divided according to the manuscript being discussed. These letters include publishing arrangements for each book, and letters asking permission to reprint various articles in Lewis' work. Royalty reports and receipts are included, and arranged according to the publishing house from which they came.

Correspondence related to the compilation and publication of The Shakespeare Documents is arranged by date and subject. There are many letters and receipts to and from various English sources negotiating for photographs of Shakespeare related items to be used in the work. Included in this section are letters to and from the Folger and Huntington Libraries relative to Lewis' use of their Shakespearian collections.

Combined in one box are Deseret News poems and materials on pageants. The poems are those compiled from the newspaper, 1885-1901, for the use in Lewis' poetry class. The material on pageants consists largely of manuscripts and programs for the Pilgrim Tercentenary, 1920-1921. There are other pageants, programs, and scripts from Utah and out of state unrelated to the Pilgrim celebration.

The last half of the collection consists of bound typescripts of Professor Lewis' work. These are the preliminary carbon copies, not the published books.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Initial Citation: B. Roland Lewis papers, MS 0137, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Following Citations: MS 0137.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Personal Materials, General and Business CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Biographical and Genealogical Materials
1 2
Library Correspondence, Permits, Receipts, and Memorabillia
1 3-7
General Correspondence
This folder contains correspondence from former students, publishing houses, friends, and others. These correspondence seek informtion on Lewis' opinion about suitable plays for various groups, the publication of plays, and permission to use published plays. There are also letters from personal friends about a vareity of subjects.
1 8
Job Hunting Correspondence
1 9
Students' War Service Campaign Correspondence
1 10
Albert S. Osborn Correspondence
1 11
Albert S. Osborn Book Advertisements and Reviews
1 12
Shakespeare Society of America Correspondence
1 13
University of Utah Correspondence
This folder also includes Estension Division pamphlets about Lewis' extention lectures on Shakespeare and grammar.
1 14
English Department Correspondence and Course Outlines
1 15
Lecture Notes
1 16
Relgion Correspondence and Review
This folder contains correspondence about doing a biography of Brigham Young as an important western leader. There is also Lewis' review of Sidney R. Bell's Wives of the Prophet, which includes his feelings on Mormonism.
1 17
John D. Lee Diaries Correspondence
1 18
Duane G. Hunt Consecration News Clippings and Invitations
1 19
Editing Old English Plays Correspondence
1 20
Brome Manuscript, "Abraham and Isaac" Correspondence
1 21
Analysis of "Abraham and Isaac"
1 22
World Drama Anthology Correspondence

Studies of the One Act PlayReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
Technique of the One Act Play Correspondence
2 2
One Hundred Representative One Act Plays Manuscript
2 3
One Hundred Representative One Act Plays Mimeograph Copy
2 4
The One Act Play Correspondence
2 5
The One Act Play Manuscript
2 6
The One Act Play Typescript
2 7
Contemporary One Act Plays Correspondence
This folder contains corresondence between B. R. Lewis, J. Marks and Little, Brown, and Company relative to permission to reprint Marks' play "The Deacon's Hat." This folder also contains articles and news clippings about Jeanette Marks.
2 8
Contemporary One Act Plays Pillot Correspondence
The folder contains correspondence between B. R. Lewis and Eugene Pillot relative to obtaining permission to use Pillot's "The Gazing Globe"; there are also articles about Eugene Pillot.
2 9
Contemporary One Act Plays Slarence Stratton Correspondence
This folder contains a typescript of Clarence Startton's "Bombito," and correspondence between B. R. Lewis and various authors and publishers about the possibility of using one of Stratton's plays in this volume.
2 10-13
Contemporary One Act Plays Reprint Correspondence
This folder contains correspondence between B. R. Lewis and various authors and publishers about permission to reprint published plays in his one act play anthology.
2 14-17
Contemporary One Act Plays Charles Scribner's Sons Correspondence
These folders contain correspondence between B. R. Lewis, Charles Scribners' Sons, and various authors regarding the anthology and brief biographical notes on the authors, technical aspects of publishing the book, regarding payment of royalties for plays used in the book, and about the book and a possible second volume. Also included in folder 17 is a publicity flyer.
2 18
List of persons to Receive Complimentary Copies of Contemporary One Act Plays
2 19
Contemporary One Act Plays
This folder containds undated manuscript materials including a typescript of the introduction and handwritten list of possible plays to be included.
2 20-23
Contemporary One Act Plays Aletha Thurston Correspondence

Publications and Royalty ReportsReturn to Top

Box 3, folders 1-6 contain materials regarding Effective Writing. Box 3, folders 7-10 contain materials regarding University of Utah Plays. And box 3, folders 11-18 contain materials regarding Creative Poetry.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
3 1
Osborne J. P. Widstoe Correspondence
3 2
This folder contains B. R. Lewis correspondence about permission to reprint articles, after the death of Osborne J. P. Widstoe.
3 3
Atlantic Monthly, World Book, and Oxford University Press Correspondence
3 4-5
Will D. Howe Reprint Permission Correspondence
Folder 5 also contains Scribners' book lists.
3 6
R. H. Widstoe and J. A. Widstoe Correspondence
The folder contains correspondence regarding Mrs. Widstoe's rights to royalties from Effective Writing in her husband's stead, as well as a formal agreement between the authors and publisher.
3 7
Publication and Permission to Publish Student Play Correspondence
3 8
Walter H. Baker Company and John W. Luce Company Correspondence
3 9-10
Aletha Thurston Correspondence
3 11
"Poetic Composition" Correspondence
3 12
Organic Principles of Creative Poetry
3 13
Stanford University Press Correspondence
3 14
Poem Reprint Permisson Correspondence
3 15-16
Stanford University Press Correspondence
3 17
Manuscript Drafts and Revisions
3 18
Stanford University Press Sales Reports
3 19
World's Greatest Citizen Correspondence
3 20
Shakespeare Genealogy
3 21
John W. Luce and Company Royalty Reports
3 22
Charles Scribners' Sons Roylaty Reports
3 23-24
Walter H. Baker Company and Aletha Thurston Royalty Reports

Shakespeare Documents and CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1-17
Photograph Negotiations Correspondence
This folder contains correspondence between B. R. Lewis, the Birmingham Free Library, Bodleian Library, British Museum, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Guildhall Library, Library of Congress, Oxford University Press, Public Records Office, Somerset House, Stratford-upon-Avon, Trustees and Guardians of Shakespeare's Birthplace, Worcester Diocesan Registry, Monger and Marchant, and other miscellaneous sources.
4 18-21
Search for a Publisher Correspondence
4 22
Lewis' Photograph Depository Correspondence
4 23-27
Stanford University Press Correspondence
4 28
Stanford University Press Pre-Publication Flyers and Brochures
4 29
Stanford University Press Book Sales Correspondence
4 30-31
Shakespeare Documents Review Correspondence
4 32
Miscellaneous Shakespeare Documents Correspondence
4 33
Shakespeare Documents Manuscript Copies and Photocopies
4 34
Typescript of Shakespeare Documents Preface

Folger and Huntington Library CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
5 1-4
Folger Shakespeare Library Correspondence
5 5
Folger Shakespeare Library Newsclippings
5 6
Folger Shakespeare Library Articles and Reports
5 7
Folger Shakespeare Library Manuscript Notes
5 8
Huntington Library Collection Correspondence
5 9
Huntington Library Shakespeare Documents Correspondence
5 10
Huntington Library Miscellaneous Correspondence
5 11
Notes on Huntington Library Shakespeare Items
5 12
Physical Aspects of Huntington Library

Deseret News Poems and PageantsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
6 1-3
Deseret News Poems
6 4
Deseret News Virginia McBride Poems
6 5
Deseret News Margaret Neville Poems
6 6
University of Utah Suggested Theme Pageants
6 7-8
Pilgrim Tercentenary Correspondence
6 9
Pilgrim Tercentenary Typescripts
6 10
Pilgrim Tercentenary Official State Bulletins
6 11
Pilgrim Tercentenary Bulletin of the University of Utah
6 12
Pilgrim Tercentenary Publicity
6 13
Pilgrim Tercentenary Programs
6 14-16
Pilgrim Tercentenary Non-Utah Mateials
6 17-18
Pilgrim Tercentenary Lewis Class on Pageants
6 19-23
Utah Pageant Programs and Miscellaneous Materials

Bound VolumesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Volume
7 1
Lewis, Technique of the One Act Play
This is a bound carbon typescript, 196 pages in length.
8 1
Widstoe and Lewis, Effective Writing
These are all bound carbon typescripts.
8 2
Lewis, University of Utah Plays
These are all bound carbon typescripts.
8 3
Lewis, Creative Poetry
These are all bound carbon typescripts.
9 1-2
Lewis, World's Greatest Citizen: William Shakespeare
This is a bound carbon typescript.
10 1
Lewis, World's Greatest Citizen: William Shakespeare
This is a bound carbon typescript.
11 1
Lewis, Shakespeare Documents
This is a bound carbon typescript.
12 1-2
Lewis, The Shakespeare Documents
These are bound carbon typescripts.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Drama
  • Poetry
  • Personal Names :
  • Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 - Criticism and interpretation
  • Corporate Names :
  • Shakespeare Association of America