William Clyde Fitch (1865-1909) was one of the most successful American playwrights of the 19th century. His works were produced throughout the United States and Europe, and at one point, he had four plays running concurrently on Broadway.
Fitch was born in Elmira, New York on May 2, 1865. He attended the Holderness School, Plymouth, New Hampshire, and graduated from Amherst College. During the 1890s, he wrote many melodramas and historical works before producing several very popular comedies, including The Climbers (1901), Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1901), The Girl with the Green Eyes (1902), The Truth (1907) and The City (1909). In total, he wrote and produced thirty-six original plays, twenty-one adaptations, and five dramatizations of novels.
Fitch was a boyhood friend of the critic and scholar William Lyon Phelps, who wrote in 1921, "when [Fitch] began to write, American drama scarcely existed; when he died it was reality.... He did more for American drama than any other man in our history." Fitch died in Chalons-sur-Marne, France on September 4, 1909, following an operation for appendicitis. The majority of his papers along with his book collection and many of the furnishings from his town house in New York City are now located at Amherst College.
The collection is comprised of nineteen notebooks containing original manuscripts of four plays, "The City," "Girl Who Has Everything," "My Girl Jo," and "Woman in the Case."
The collection is open for research.
The collection is the physical property of Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library. Bates College holds literary rights only for material created by College personnel working on official behalf of the College, or for material which was given to the College with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for obtaining permission from rights holders for publication or other purposes that exceed fair use.
W. Clyde Fitch (AC 1886) collection, 1867-1986 (bulk 1883-1909), Amherst College Archives and Special Collections, Amherst, MA, http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/amherst/ma116,main.html
These records are indexed under the following headings in the Bates College Library catalog. Researchers wishing to find related materials should search the catalog under these index terms.
Fitch, Clyde, 1865-1909--Archives
American drama--19th century
American drama--20th century
No provenance information available. Accession No.: xx-041.
Clyde Fitch papers, Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library, Bates College.
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