Collection ID: LMC 1005
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Collection context


Adams, Reily Gibson, 1911-
The Adams mss., 1912-1981, consists of the letters, photographs, and writings by and about author Booth Tarkington, 1869-1946, of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Kennebunkport, Maine. The collection was compiled by Reily Gibson Adams, 1911-1982, whose first wife, Mary Stewart Haines, 1912-1975, was Tarkington's first cousin twice removed.
1 Box (1 standard)
English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Adams mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Reily Gibson Adams, 1911-1982, was a corporation official of Indianapolis, Indiana. His first wife, Mary Stewart Haines, 1912-1975, was a first cousin twice removed of Booth Tarkington, as her grandmother, Mary Tarkington Stewart Carey, 1859-1938, was Tarkington's first cousin. Haines and Tarkington were both descended from Joseph Tarkington, 1800-1891, and his wife, Maria Slauson, 1806-1889.

(Newton) Booth Tarkington, 1869-1946, was an American novelist. He was born to Elizabeth Booth and John Stevenson Tarkington on 29 July 1869. He grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he attended Shortridge High School, but he moved to New Hampshire to finish high school at Phillips Exeter Academy. He then studied at Purdue University and Princeton University, during which time his interest in writing and drama developed significantly. He never finished his degree, but he was heavily involved in Princeton's dramatic association and was later awarded honorary degrees in 1899 and 1918. His first novel, A Gentleman from Indiana, was published in 1899 after his sister, Hauté, presented the manuscript to the publisher. By 1902, Tarkington had published two novels, Monsieur Beaucaire (1900) and The Two Vanrevels (1902), among other works, and had been elected to the Indiana House of Representatives.

In 1902, Tarkington married Louisa Fletcher. The couple moved between Indianapolis, New York, Rome, and Paris before divorcing in 1911. In 1912, Booth married Susan Robinson, and the two lived between Indianapolis and Kennebunckport, Maine, as a doctor had suggested Tarkington spend time in the New England town after a bout with typhoid fever in 1903. Though Tarkington began losing his eyesight in the 1920s, he published numerous works until his death in 1946 at the age of 76. Some of his most popular later works include Penrod (1914), Seventeen (1917), and Mary's Neck (1932), among several more novels.

Scope and Content:

Biographical materials include clippings and printed matter about Tarkington. The correspondence spans the period from 1917 to 1981 and includes letters of Tarkington, his friends and relatives, as well as those of Adams. Photographs of Tarkington number twenty, ranging from childhood to old age, alone and in groups. Other photographs are those of his wife, Susanah (Keifer) Robinson Tarkington, and their families; the homes and boat of Tarkington; and Elizabeth Trotter, his secretary.

Two prose pieces by Tarkington, entitled "Peter" (Apr. 1942) and "Why the Solid South?" (Nov. 8, 1944), and two undated poems are filed with the correspondence as well as an undated poem by Susanah Tarkington. The writings are biographical accounts of Tarkington by relatives Susanah (Jameson) Mayberry in 1979 (published as My Amiable Uncle in 1983 by Purdue University Press) and Eleanor Adams Linsmith in 1981.

Acquisition information:
Acquired: 1983
Processing information:

Processed by Staff. Completed in 2013.


Arranged in the following series: I. Biographical material, II. Correspondence, III. Photographs, IV. Writings.

Physical location:
Lilly - Stacks



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[Item], Adams mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452