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Finding Aid for the Lester Barron Collection of Performing Artist Autographs, 1869-1975
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biographical Narrative
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lester Barron Collection of Performing Artist Autographs,
    Date (inclusive): 1869-1975
    Collection number: 1378
    Creator: Barron, Lester
    Extent: 3 boxes (1.5 linear ft.)
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Restrictions on Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Additional Physical Form Available

    A copy of the original version of this online finding aid is available at the UCLA Library Special Collections for in-house consultation and may be obtained for a fee. Please contact:
    • Public Services Division
    • UCLA Library Special Collections
    • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
    • Box 951575
    • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
    • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
    • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    • Gift of Lester Barron, 1984.
    • The original collector, Charles Norton Outcault, was the nephew of cartoonist Richard Fenton Outcault; he began collecting autographs at the age of sixteen, and most of the autographs were obtained by mail between 1912-15.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Lester Barron Collection of Performing Artist Autographs (Collection 1378). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 462303 

    Biographical Narrative

    The Lester Barron Collection consists mainly of autographs of famous personalities from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The original collector, Charles Norton Outcault, requested by mail, the autographs of various celebrities and public figures of his time. In response to his requests, he received not only autographs, but personal notes, letters, photographs, original handwritten music, poems, and booklets. Many of the items he collected are autographed by performing artists, such as musicians, composers, conductors, opera singers, dancers, actors, and actresses. The collection also includes autographs of authors, artists, politicians, presidents, and other notable public figures.
    In addition to the autographs, the Barron Collection contains some miscellaneous items which do not appear to be directly related to the rest of the collection. These items include letters from a civil war soldier, letters from artist Dean Cornwell, one music score, and various theater playbills.
    The collection was donated to the UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library by Mr. Lester Barron. Little is known about Mr. Barron or how the collection came into his possession. The original collector, Charles Norton Outcault, was the nephew of American cartoonist, Richard Fenton Outcault. The late cartoonist was well known for creating the first color comic strip and the popular cartoon character, Buster Brown. Charles Outcault was just sixteen years old when he started the collection. He obtained most of his autographs by mail from 1912 to 1915. Many celebrities, reminiscent of their own youth, sent him notes and letters containing personal messages.
    A photocopy of a newspaper article describing the collection is available in the administrative files of the Department. This article appears to have been printed in a San Diego newspaper in 1931. There are, however, several discrepancies in the article's description of the collection and the actual contents of the collection at the time it was received by the Department in 1984. Several items described in the article are no longer present in the collection. The reader should consult the following pages for a list of the actual items contained in the collection.
    When the collection was received by the Department, no particular order or arrangement was discernible. An alphabetical arrangement was eventually imposed to facilitate access by the names of the various personalities whose autographs appear in the collection.
    The collection was sorted and arranged by Lorna Lueck and Michael Jerome, Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of autographs of famous personalities including performing artists, authors, and politicians. Some are accompanied with personal notes, letters, photographs, or other ephemera. Autographs include signatures of Robert Jones Burdett, Thomas Edison, Arthur Foote, Helen Keller, Rudyard Kipling, Nellie Melba, James Whitcomb Riley, Theodore Roosevelt, Herbert Spencer, Ellen Terry, and Booker T. Washington. Also includes correspondence from Dean Cornwell addressed to Frank as well as 3 Civil War letters and 4 theater playbills. Includes the music score for Feather Your Nest.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Autographs organized alphabetically by last name (Boxes 1-3).
    2. Letters, theater playbills, and music score (Box 3).

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Outcault, Charles Norton.