Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Sidney Coe Howard papers
Date (inclusive): 1903-1980
Date (bulk): 1903-1939
Collection Number: BANC MSS 70/185 z
Howard, Sidney Coe
29 cartons, 1 oversize box, 1 cardfile box, 3 oversize folders (38 linear feet)
2 Digital Objects (2 images)
The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: The Sidney Coe Howard papers including correspondence, plays, short stories, articles, scripts, notes, notebooks, transcripts
of diary entries, biographical material, contracts, financial records, clippings and family papers.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English
Physical Location: Many of the Bancroft Library collections are stored offsite and advance notice may be required for use. For current information
on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research.
All requests to reproduce, publish, quote from or otherwise use collection materials must be submitted in writing to the Head
of Public Services, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, 94720-6000. Consent is given on behalf of The
Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission from the copyright
owner. Such permission must be obtained from the copyright owner. See:
Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research
and educational purposes.Materials in this collection may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition,
the reproduction of some materials may be restricted by terms of University of California gift or purchase agreements, donor
restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing and trademarks. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected
by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public
domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owner. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively
with the user.
[Identification of item], Sidney Coe Howard papers, BANC MSS 70/185 z, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley
Alternate Forms Available
"The Brothers Karamazov," film script from Ctn. 17 : also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 2065.
"The Light That Failed" [Sept. 10, 1935] from Ctn. 19 : also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 2572.
Copies of "Authors' League of America, Dramatists' Guild, 1935- 1939" two folders, Ctn. 21 : also available on microfilm
with call number BANC FILM 2614.
"Benjamin Franklin" working script, one folder, Ctn. 10 : also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 2691.
Robert Sherwood, Incoming Correspondence, 1 folder, Ctn. 5 : also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM 2941.
Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant, 17 letters to Sidney Coe Howard, Ct. 5; Willa Cather letter to Mrs. Sidney Coe Howard, Ctn. 3;
Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant letter to Mrs. Sidney Coe Howard, Ct. 5 : also available on microfilm with call number BANC FILM
Digital reproductions of selected items are available.
Photographs from the Sidney Coe Howard papers [graphic], BANC PIC 1970.025-.027--PIC
Sidney Coe Howard photograph collection [graphic], BANC PIC 1983.116--PIC
Howard family papers, 1898-1941, BANC MSS 85/119 c
Damrosch family album [graphic], BANC PIC 1970.028--ALB
Most photographs of Sidney Coe Howard have been removed and are indexed separately in the Portrait Collection. The rest have
been transferred to the Pictorial Collections, including those of other members of the Howard family, his children, and unidentified
portraits, some snapshots of Howard's ambulance service unit in World War I, scenes from theatrical productions, and four
albums of photographs and post cards relating to his trips to Mexico and travels in the United States, ca. 1901-1910. Some
photographs are cataloged as 1970.025-.028 PIC. A Damrosch family album was also removed and is cataloged as BANC PIC 1970.028--ALB.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog
Howard, Sidney Coe--1891-1939
Dramatists, American--20th century
Manuscripts for publication
Donated by Jennifer Goldwyn and Walter D. Howard, 1970-1972.
No additions are expected.
Processed by Mario H. Ramirez and The Bancroft Library staff.
Sidney Coe Howard, playwright, was born in Oakland, California, June 26, 1891, the son of John Lawrence and Helen (Coe) Howard.
He attended public schools in Oakland and graduated from the University of California in 1915. As an undergraduate he already
displayed an interest in the theater, collaborating with Frederick Faust (who later achieved fame under the pseudonym "Max
Brand") in writing the junior farce and the senior extravaganza. For Leonard Bacon's poetry seminar he wrote "Sons of Spain,"
a blank verse tragedy which was produced in the Forest Theatre in Carmel, California, in 1914. From Berkeley Howard went to
Harvard to attend Professor George Pierce Baker's famous "47 Workshop" in playwriting.
During World War I he volunteered his services as an ambulance driver, serving in France and the Balkans. After U.S. entry
into the war he enlisted in the air service and was on active duty as a flyer at the French front. On his return to the United
States he settled in New York City and joined the staff of
Life, eventually becoming a literary editor. As a free-lance reporter, he also wrote a number of articles on current issues which
The New Republic, and short stories as well.
While holding down these jobs he also found time to work on plays, the first of which to appear on Broadway was
Swords (1921), a melodrama in verse. For the next two seasons Howard devoted himself to translations and adaptations of foreign
plays, and to a collaboration with Edward Sheldon on
Bewitched, which won him increased recognition in the theater world. His first big success came in 1924 when the Theatre Guild produced
They Knew What They Wanted which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. 1926 became his most successful year with two plays,
Ned McCobb's Daughter and
The Silver Cord winning popular acclaim. Hardly a year followed in which his name did not appear on a play as author or adaptor.
From 1929 onward he did much work also as a screen writer, and, until his death, divided his time between the stage and the
screen. His list of scenario credits includes such successes as
Arrowsmith, which won an Academy Award in 1931,
Gone With the Wind, for which he was posthumously given an Academy Award in 1940.
A strong spokesman for the profession, he was elected president of the Dramatists' Guild of the Authors' League of America
in 1935, serving in the crucial years when a new basic agreement was hammered out between playwrights and producers. In 1938
he, in partnership with Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Elmer Rice and Robert E. Sherwood, formed the Playwrights' Company,
pooling their dramatic and financial resources to produce their own plays independently.
He was married twice: in 1922 to Clare Eames, actress, niece of Emma Eames, the opera singer, and in 1931 to Leopoldine (Polly)
Damrosch, the daughter of Walter Damrosch.
His life was cut short on August 23, 1939, by a tragic accident when a tractor crushed him against the side of a barn on his
farm in Tyringham, Massachusetts. The very morning of his death he had been working on a play based on Carl Van Doren's
Scope and Content of Collection
The Sidney Coe Howard papers contain correspondence, plays, short stories, articles, scripts, notes, notebooks, biographical
material, contracts and clippings, among other materials, that document the illustrious life and career of this Pulitzer Prize
and Academy Award winning playwright and screenwriter. Highlights of the collection include correspondence with individuals
such as Samuel Goldwyn, Helen Hayes, Willa Cather and Kurt Weill, and drafts of many of Howard's well-known plays and scripts.
The collection also includes the papers of Howard's wife, Leopoldine (Polly) Damrosch Howard, some of which relate to her
father, Walter Damrosch, and those of his parents and other members of the Howard family.