The collection consists of a small amount of production information, most notably four scripts for Edison shorts from 1910
and 1911. There is a small amount of correspondence, notes for Dawley's memoirs, clippings, time books, and a scrapbook of
mostly unidentified photographs from Edison films.
James Searle Dawley (1878-1949) was born in Del Norte, Colorado, and educated in Denver. In 1895 he joined Lewis Morrison's
theatrical company as an actor. After the tour was canceled, he moved back to Denver, where he remained until he was asked
to rejoin Morrison's company in 1897. He stayed with the company for three years, first as an actor and later as stage manager.
In 1900 he left Morrison to enter vaudeville as a performer and writer. Around 1902 Dawley joined the Spooner Stock Company
as an actor, stage manager, and writer. He was hired by Edwin S. Porter in May 1907 as a director for the Edison Company.
His first film was THE NINE LIVES OF A CAT (1907), and he went on to direct more than 200 films for Edison, including FRANKENSTEIN
(1910) and THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (1912). In 1912 Dawley was once again hired by Porter, this time to direct features
for the Famous Players Company. His first was TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES (1913), and he directed 13 more before leaving Famous
Players in 1913 to start his own company, Dyreda. The company lasted for more than a year before it was bought out by Metro
Pictures. Dawley returned to Paramount, where he made such films as SNOW WHITE (1916) and UNCLE TOM'S CABIN (1918). He left
Paramount in 1918 to get married and freelanced for several years before joining Fox Films in 1921. The last feature he directed
was BROADWAY BROKE (1923), though he also directed two sound shorts for Lee Deforest, ABRAHAM LINCOLN and LOVE'S OLD SWEET
SONG, which were released in 1924. After retiring from films, Dawley tried various businesses before working in radio from
the end of the 1920s through the middle of the 1930s.
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