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Alexander Woollcott Collection

Identifier: yhm-arc-0000-158

Content Description

Personal correspondence, biographical material, scripts of radio broadcasts, movie reels, cap and hood, political cartoon hand-drawn and signed by artist: H.M. Talburt; added 7-6-09, copy of Dickens Encyclopaedia given and inscribed to Alexander Woollcott by Jerome Kern, 1924; added 8/21/13: None But a Mule by Barbara Woollcott (niece), Whistler's Room, by Paul Alverdes (printed for Friends of Alexander Woollcott)


  • Creation: 1861-2006


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Alexander Humphreys Woollcott (1887-1943); H.C. Class of 1909, L.H.D. (Hon.) 1924; writer; H.C. Trustee, 1935-42. Woollcott was born on 19 January, 1887, in Phalanx, NJ, and died on 23 January, 1943, in New York City, NY. After graduating from Hamilton College in 1909, Woollcott worked briefly as a bank clerk for the Chemical National Bank in New York City. He joined the reportorial staff of the New York Times as a dramatic critic in 1914. He held that position until 1922, with the exception of two years when he served as an enlisted man in the United States Army. He was a sergeant in the American Expeditionary Forces, working mostly in the editorial room of The Stars and Stripes, AEF's weekly newspaper. After leaving the New York Times, he joined the staff of the New York Herald (1922-1925) and the New York World (1925-1928). He subsequently became a free lance writer, contributing regularly to the New Yorker and, from 1929 until 1942, appeared on CBS radio as "The Town Crier." In addition to his role of critic, Woollcott helped form the Round Table group at the Hotel Algonquin, a group which included Irving Berlin, Dorothy Parker, and Harpo Marx. He authored many articles, books, and plays, including While Rome Burns (1934), The Woollcott Reader (1935), and Long Long Ago (1943). A co-founder of the Hamilton College Charlatans, Woollcott worked occasionally as an actor, having his first professional stage debut in Brief Moment in 1931 at the Belasco Theater in New York. He also served as the model for Sheridan Whiteside, the central character in The Man Who Came to Dinner, and portrayed Whiteside in a road company production of the play.


6 Linear Feet (5 full-size archival boxes, 1 flat storage box)

Language of Materials



The Alexander Woollcott Papers are arranged into three series: I. Documents; II. Home Videos; and III. Material Culture.

The Papers also contain one overesized folder housing a handdrawn political cartoon titled, "Trial of H. Hoover - Charge of Abysmal Ignorance," gifted and signed to Woollcott by artist, H. M. Talburt (11/10/31).

Carly Horton
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Hamilton College Archives Repository

198 College Hill Road
Clinton NY United States