University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Gelett Burgess:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951
Title: Gelett Burgess Collection
Dates: 1854-1950, undated
Abstract: Includes manuscripts and letters written by the American artist, art critic, humorist, poet, and author Gelett Burgess, including material related to The Lark, a magazine edited and written primarily by Burgess, as well as his popular comic strip, Goops.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-0602
Extent: 3 boxes (1.26 linear feet), 2 oversize folders (osf)
Language: English, French
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research

Administrative Information

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Jamie Hawkins-Kirkham, 2011

Note: This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Container List


1.1 The battle of Caissa, signed typescript with handwritten revisions, 10 pages, undated. Included with this: Map of the Battle of Caissa (chess-board battlefield).
1.2 The cave man; a comedy in three acts, signed carbon typescript with handwritten revisions and carbon typescript passages pasted in, 148 pages, circa 1910. Dramatization of the novel Lady Méchante, produced in 1911. First act is laid in a cloth cover with colored drawing by Burgess. Included with this: 3 pencil drawings by Burgess.
1.3 The cave man; a comedy in three acts, Act II, carbon typescript laid in a paper cover with handwritten title, 34 pages, circa 1910. Written on cover: Second version.
1.4 Ce n'est pas le moment, signed typescript, 27 pages, undated. Inscription on title page: Les sables d'Olonne France, 1915.
1.1 Class of 94, University of California, class day proclamatino, printed document, 1 page, 12 May 1894. At top of page: signed handwritten notes in hand of Burgess.
1.5 Diary of a trip through France and Spain, 1891, handwritten manuscript, approximately 178 pages, March 1891.
3.3 The dryad (drama), handwritten manuscript with revisions, 12 pages bound, circa 1897.
osf 1 Fiends of hell (proclamations), 3 signed handwritten manuscripts with emendations, 4 pages, 1886-1887. Broadsides of secret society. One proclamation in engineering symbols.
1.6 Fun with the dictionary, signed typescript, 17 pages, undated. Written on page 1: Long version.
1.7 The game of table manners in eight chapters, signed carbon typescript, 25 pages, undated. A Goop book.
1.1 The glyse of the slhuse (From Nichtmair) (poem), typescript, 1 page, undated. Written in margin: Life.
1.8 A glossary of American slang, handwritten notes, 105 pages, undated. Written on file cards.
1.9-10 Proof / clippings with handwritten notations, 2 bound volumes, undated. Inscribed.
1.1 Proofs, 15 pages, 1913-1914. The Adams Newspaper Service.
2.1 Signed advance proofs of 552 goops printed in the Chicago Tribune, 1913-1914, bound.
2.2 The house of pride (drama), signed carbon typescript, 167 pages, undated. Dramatized from Mrs. Hope's Husband, a serial by Burgess in the Saturday Evening Post, 1917.
2.3 How to read fiction (lecture), signed typescript, 29 pages, undated.
2.4 Jots made on rute (sic) to France and Spain, handwritten notes and sketches in notebook, approximately 25 pages, 1891.
2.5 Justin's delight: a symbolistic comedy in three parts, typescript with few handwritten revisions, undated.
2.6 The Lark #1 (periodical), mock-up with handwritten revisions and notes, 8 pages, 1 May 1895. Included with this: proofs of ornamental initials used in first issue. Pictorial wrapper with border of The purple cow.
2.7 Lost magic; a sonnet cycle, signed typescript with handwritten revisions, 1907.
3.2 Merry Mary Murray (short story), signed composite typed and carbon manuscript with handwritten revisions and inserts, 44 pages; signed typescript with handwritten revisions, 26 pages; signed typescript with handwritten emendations, 15 pages; undated, circa 1904. Written on enclosing envelope in author's hand: Unpublished and unfinished. Included with this: Typed synopsis of story with handwritten emendations, 2 pages, undated.
3.3 Notebook, handwritten manuscript with revisions, circa 1897-1903. Contents: The dryad (drama); account of literary activities; manuscript notes; pencil drawing.
3.4 One-legged French, signed typescript, 23 pages, undated.
3.1 The purloined Christmas, signed typescript with handwritten corrections, 5 pages, undated.
3.5 The purple cow, a musical comedy in two acts by Gelett Burgess and Carolyn Wells, signed composite typed and carbon manuscript with handwritten revisions and inserts, 128 pages, circa 1922. Included with this: list of unusual numbers, synopsis of plot, scenario, graph diagram of Act II.
3.1 The romance of the commonplace, signed typescript, 16 pages, 1923.
3.6 Say what you mean, signed carbon typescript with handwritten and typed revisions and typed inserts, 9 pages, undated. Written in the author's hand at the top of page 1: To be published in Your Life.
The silver shower (short story), signed carbon typescript, 4 pages, undated.
The six kisses; a comic opera in three acts, signed carbon typescript / fragment with handwritten revisions, 9 pages, undated. Based on The six kisses of the princess (short story). Included with this: The six kisses of the princess, tear sheet from magazine Madame.
osf 2 The six kisses, lyrics by Burgess, signed handwritten manuscript, undated.
3.7 Some experiences with haschisch, signed printed article, 3 pages, circa 1886. Written on this: First published article 1886? Published in The Tech. Included with this: signed handwritten note dated 21 October 1908 to unidentified recipient Fred; encloses Ravings, handwritten notes with drawings on 34 cards providing "an abstract of sensations as depicted while under effects of hashish," the basis for the published article.
3.6 Some phases of enthusiastic journalism, signed typescript with handwritten revisions, 26 pages, undated.
Suicide (article), signed typescript with handwritten emendations, 8 pages, 1910? Written on page 1: Written after the suicide of Nora May French in 1910?
Talent versus influence, signed carbon typescript, 6 pages, undated.
3.8 Tales of horror and fantasy, typescript with handwritten revisions, 116 pages, undated. Included in this: two versions of Her father and her mother; two versions of The triple alliance. Inscribed at head of The triple alliance: Gelett Burgess and Elsie Marr. Listed in table of contents but not included: Five stories. Inscribed on table of contents: adultery, fornication, incest, miscegenation, mayhem, prostitution, rape.
3.6 A talk without a cow in it, signed typescript with handwritten corrections, 3 pages 1950.
The tricks of the trade (drama), typescript / incomplete with handwritten revisions, 5 pages, undated. Included with this: Signed typescript synopsis of the plot, 3 pages, undated.
3.9 The unastonishable sisterhood, the education and development of a hospital nurse, signed typescript with handwritten emendations, 69 pages, undated.
3.6 What is humor? (article), signed composite typed and carbon manuscript with handwritten emendations, 21 pages, 25 April 1910.
The woman of it (short story), signed typescript with handwritten revisions, 11 pages, undated.


3.10 3 TccL to unidentified recipient Frank, 1902.
3.11 6 TLS, 2 TL to unidentified recipient Fred, 1901-1902.
3.10 TLS, TLI to unidentified recipient Fred, 1946. Included with one letter: statement re Murder at the Dôme.
2 TLS to Dannay, Frederick and Lee, Manfred B. (joint pseudonym Ellery Queen), 1938.
3 TLS to Giffen, R. L., 1918-1930.
ALS to Whiting, Elizabeth, 3 February 1900.


3.12 Unidentified author Gertrude. ALS to Burgess, undated.
Butler, Ellis Parker, 1869-1937. ALS to Burgess, 1935.
Dimnet, Ernest, 1866-1954. ALS to Burgess, 1935.
Phelps, William Lyon, 1865-1943. 2 ANS to Burgess, 1934, undated.
Post, Emily Price, 1873-1960. TLS to Burgess, 1937.
Whiting, Elizabeth. ALS to Burgess, 3 February 1900.


Burgess, Gelett:
3.13 IOU, handwritten informal promissory note between Frank G. and Henry H. Burgess, 17 August 1880.
List of works, typed, 3 leaves, undated. Cover signed by Burgess.
The purple cow: memorandum of agreement between Gelett Burgess and Carolyn Wells and the Musical Comedy Guild Inc. Typed carbon copy document, signed, 27 March 1924.
Burgess, Thomas Harvey. Ship, Arctic, off Cape Horn, January 1854, handwritten journal entry, 1 leaf, January 1854. Included with this: photocopy of document with typed note identifying author as Thomas Harvey Burgess (1829-1885) who was on a whaling voyage (1850-1854) under Captain Charles Wetherby Gelett, from Fairhaven, Massachusetts, to the Pacific, Orient, and Siberia, and back to New Bedford.
Roosevelt, Theodore, President. TLS to the Diplomatic and Consular offices of the United States regarding Gelett Burgess, 29 February 1908.
3.14 Original folders.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author's outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author's incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date