MsC 512

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1895 -- 1997
10 linear ft.

This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900

Posted to Internet: April 2000


Acquisition Note: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Marion Meade.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Photographs: Box 15

Film/Video: Box 21

Audio Material: Box 19

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials. Please read our Use of Manuscripts Statement.

Abbreviations: For an explanation of the abbreviation and dating conventions used in the finding aids, see Abbreviations.


Biographer Marion Meade undertook to write a biography of Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton for publication timed to coincide with the centenary of the film star's birth in 1895. Meade researched the book for four years, interviewing some 200 people who had known or worked with Keaton, gathered published and unpublished photographs, and worked with Keaton collector Jack Dragga to compile a definitive filmography. The result of her work, Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase, was published by Harper Collins Publishers in 1995. It is an excellent introduction to the present collection, which consists of Meade's research files. They have been organized as follows:

Series 1: Subject files, Child abuse to Research sources, files on individuals. Folders include photocopies, clippings, correspondence, notes, fragments of transcribed interviews. Boxes 1 -- 6.

Series 2: A. Materials relating to persons interviewed. Boxes 7 -- 8. B. Keaton friends and family interviewed. Box 8. C. Miscellaneous. Box 8 .

Series 3: A. Correspondence with Keaton researchers/writers. Box 9. B. Correspondence with others who knew or met Keaton. Box 10.

Series 4: Chronological log notebook [of Keaton's life], 1895 to Posthumous; Files 1895 to 1966 [with notes and references]. Boxes 10 -- 14.

Series 5: Publication materials for Cut to the Chase: correspondence: photo selections; book production files; reviews; letters received following publication. Box 15.

Series 6: Meade's original typescript, pages [4] + 1 -- 702, 710 -- 795 (Box 16), and a later version with editorial marks indicating revisions and deletions (Box 17); Meade estimates that 40% if the manuscript was cut before publication. An uncorrected proof and copies of the US, UK and trade paperback editions have been cataloged to the "x" collection.

Also typescripts from Kevin Brownlow, Joel Goss, Alan Hoffman, and Jason Scott. Boxes 17 -- 18.

Series 7: Tape recordings of Meade's interviews. Boxes 19 -- 20.

Series 8: Books about Keaton; Keaton videos. Box 21.

The folder titles in this inventory are in nearly all cases taken directly from Meade's folder labels. 


 Inventory of the Marion Meade -- Buster Keaton Research Files

Series 1: Subject files (non -people), Child Abuse to Research Sources

Box 1

Marion Meade Research Notebooks

Addresses, Keaton's, 1919 -- 1966]

Chronologies, Miscellaneous

Research Sources, Meade's

Research, Meade's

Child Abuse

NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

NYSPCC -- Microfilm- Keaton Case


Keaton's Favorite Recipes

"Italian Villa", Keaton Hollywood home

Black-Foxe Academy, Keaton sons' school

Early Hollywood

Box 2

MGM, 1920s -- 1930s

MGM, Keaton -- Employment, 1955 report

Vandeville, Medicine Shows

Keaton Retrospectives (film showings)

“Ten Girls Ago,” uncompleted film 1962

Libraries and Book Stores

Keaton -- TV Career

Keaton -- Published Interviews

Keaton -- Interview -- Columbia Oral History 1958

Articles About Keaton (I)

Articles About Keaton (II)

Keaton/ Cutler History, Nebraska

Keaton/ Cutler History, Iowa

Box 3

Keaton History, Michigan

Writings About Keaton

Keaton Fan Club (Damfinos), 1993 -- 1996, [including newsletter, The Keaton Chronicle]

Keaton Geneology; Quakers -- North Carolina

Keaton Geneology Indiana

Keaton Geneology Oklahoma

Keaton History -- Kansas

Death Certificate Joseph Z. Keaton (Grandfather)

Marriage Certificate Keaton/Mae Scriven Hawley

Death Certificate Natalie Talmadge

Buster Keaton Will

Keaton FBI "FOIA" file

Buster Keaton Death Certificate

Myra Keaton Death Certificate

Joseph H. Keaton Death Certificate

Buster Keaton Military Records

Keaton, Louis (Sister) Birth Certificate

Divorce papers -- Mae Keaton

Divorce papers -- Natalie Talmadge

Box 4

Virginia Fox Zanuck Scrapbook

Samual Beckett Production of Film (1964)

Houdini, Harry

Sebastian, Dorothy

Mack, Marion

Durante, Jimmy

Schneck, Joseph

Schneck, Nicholas

US vs. Schneck

Jessel, George

Talmadges -- Historical Societies

Talmadge Sisters Film Careers (Norma, Constance, Natalie)

Talmadge, Norma

Talmadge, Jimmy & Bobby (Keaton sons)

Talmadge, Jim (Keaton grandson)

Cox, Melissa Talmadge (Keaton granddaughter)

Talmadge Family History

Box 5

Talmade Family Genealogy

Arbuckle, Roscoe career

Arbuckle, Roscoe, Murder Trials

Arbuckle: David Yallop's The Day the Laughter Stopped (1976), photocopy

Keaton, Eleanor

Keaton, Mae -- post-Buster

Keaton, Mae -- Medical

Keaton, Mae -- Legal

Keaton, Mae -- U.S. Copyright Office

Keaton, Mae

Box 6

Rohauer, Raymond -- Legal

Rohauer, Raymond

Rohauer Transcript -- Uncut for TV Doc. “A Hard Act to Follow” 1986 Interview

Rohauer Collection Catalog


Series 2: Correspondence Files, A -- Z; Keaton, researchers/writers

A. Correspondence with persons interviewed -- folders contain notes, clippings, notes, correspondence, some transcripts; letters from person name are indicated as ALS or TLS.

Box 7

Interview Log

Abbot, Jayne, ALS

Adrian, Iris

Asher, William

Austin, Lawrence

Avery, Sid

Bakewell, William

Barnes, Gene Woodword

Basquette, Linda

Baylis, John

Beck, Billy, 2 ALS

Behlmer, Rudy

Bernds, Edward, ALS

Biro, Frank, TLS

Bogert, Frank

Brakhage, Stan

Breslow, Larry

Bricher, Joe, ALS, PCS

Brown, Jr., Harry Joe

Burkett, Bartine [Zane]

Buxton, Frank

Carson, Johnny

Carter, Jack, ALS

Coca, Imogene

Coffey, Joe, ALS

Cohn, Joseph J.

Conway, Gary, ALS

Cosby, Bill

Coyle, John

Cress, Eddie, 6 ALS

Dahl, Arlene

Dardis, Tom

Day, Francisco (Chico), ALS

DiMucci, Dion

Dragga, Jack

Dugas, Frank

Dumbrille, Erwin

Fairbanks, Douglas, Jr.

Fennell, Kieth, ALS

Fiebelkorn, Kenneth & Helen, Fax

Fiedler, John

Foy, Eddie, 3rd

Franklin, Joe

Friedman, Arthur

Gabourie, Jr., Fred

Gilford, Madeline [Mrs.Jack]

Gill, Brendan

Gilliatt, Penelope

Ginsky, Marvin

Goldwyn, Samuel, Jr.

Goodman, Dody

Harper, Alan

Hodes, Roberta

Hunt, William E., PCS

Hutson, Edward, TLS, 3 ALS

Jacobs, Seaman

Jacobson, Arthur

Jennings, John, ALS

Josephson, Arthur, ALS

Kanter, Hal, TLS

Kaufman, Sheila, ALS, & Taylor, Sid

Kelly, Gene

Kerr, Walter

Kirk, Tom, ALS

Kramer, Stanley

Lamont, Charles

Lampart, Diane, ANS

Lester, Richard, TLS

Levy, Ralph

Lyons, John

Mason, Pamela, TLS

Marx, Sam, TLS

Mekas, Jonas

Miller, Patsy Ruth

Miner, Jan

Moore, Garry

Myers, Edna [Mrs.Sidney]

Nealis, Andy

Box 8

Page, Anita

Pearson, Jean [Mrs.Ben], TLS

Perkins, Gil, ALS

Perrin, Nat

Pineda, Darrylin [Zarnick]

Potterton, Gerald, ALS

Rapf, Maurice

Randall, Julie

Randall, Tony

Riesner, Dean, TLS

Ronald, Gilbert

Rufman, Rose

Sanford, Linda

Saunders, Betty [Goulding], ALS

Schneider, Jean

Schoenfield, Berni, ALS

Sebert, John, ALS

Sedgwick, Eileen

Selznick, Irene [Mayer]

Sheldon, Sidney

Sheldon, Willard

Spotton, John, TLS

St. Johns, Elaine

Switkes, Willy, ALS

Sydow, Jack

Tegge, Shirley, ALS

Terry, Harold

Thomas, Richard Lyle

Tovar, Lupita [Kohner]

Tsu, Irene

Walton, Dorothy, 2 ALS

Walston, Ray

White, Sam, 3 ANS

Wilder, Billy

Wilk, Max

Wilson, John

B. Records relating to family and friends of Keaton interviewed

Burr, Fritzi

Cowlan, Bert, TLS

Cox, Melissa Talmadge, ACS

DeLuis Carol [Arthur], 2 ALS

Dulo, Jane

Hoffman, Alan

Humble, Janet/Douglas, ALS

Karen, James, APC

Keaton, Eleanor [Widow]

Kelly, Jane [Norris]

Maizal, Trudi [Cowlan]

Moore, Harry, ALS, Fax

Reed, Susan [Karen]

Santos, Linda

Silva, Ruth

Talmadge, Jim [Grandson]

Talmadge, James (Joseph Taldmadge Keaton)

C. Miscellaneous

Keaton party Tapes & Wason Transcripts

Letters Requesting Interviews -- no response

Series 3: A. Correspondence with Keaton Researchers/Writers and Others; all folders contain letters from person named.

Box 9

Bengtson, John D. [with copy of his booklet, Silent Echoes: 101 Locations from Buster Keaton's Classic Comedies, 1997

Borgen, Bob

Browlow, Kevin

Carmen, Chris

Carey, Gary

Dragga, Jack

Eyman, Scott

Fussell, Betty

Goss, Joel

Hoffman, Alan

Kramer, Peter

Kline, Jim [with a copy of The Complete Films of Buster Keaton (1993)

MacLeod, David

Paris, Barry

Rapf, Joanne

Skretvedt, Randy

Scott, Jason

Slide, Anthony

Stenn, David

Wolfe, Charles

Film Biographers & Miscellaneous contacts

Gimenez, Lance & Cynthia Clarke Keaton

B. Correspondence with others who knew or [may have] met Keaton. The number of TLS and ALS from person named is noted; in some cases secretaries or others replied to Meade's letter, in others Meade has made notes for return phone calls.

Box 10

Allen, Steve, TLS

Arkoff, Samuel Z.

Barry, Gene, ALS

Berman, Pandro, TNS

Boardman, Eleanor

Brown, Heywood H., ALS

Capra, Frank R.

Cooper, Jackie

de Cordova, Fred, TLS

Deutsch, Helen

Dillon, Mick, ALS

Downs, Hugh

Edwards, Ann [Alice Faye]

Epstein, Jerry, TLS

Everson, William K., TLS

Fleming, Rhonda

Francis, Arlene, ANS

Franklin, Joan

Fountain, Leatrice [Gilbert], ALS

Funt, Allen, TLS

Giannini, George, ALS

Ginsberg, Allen

Gish, Lillian

Goodson, Mark, TLS

Hackett, Albert, ANS

Hart, Kitty Carlisle

Hawes, Lois Laure, TLSl

Hodges, Eddie, TL

Humble, Janet, TN

Hume, Kenneth, TLS

Hutton, Betty

Koch, Kenneth, ALS

Lamour, Dorothy

Lloyd, Norman, TLS

Lucas, Loyal T.

Mackenzie, Gisele, ANS

MacLaine, Shirley

Mastrangelo, Bob, 2 TLS

Matheson, Richard, TLS

McDowall, Roddy, TLS

Miller, Alice, Fax

O’Neill, Charles,TLS

Riefenstahl, Leni, TLS, TNS

Romero, Cesar, ANS

Rooney, Mickey

Rosset, Barney, TLS

Schaefer, Natalie

Schickel, Richard, TLS

Schulberg, Budd

Shefler, Oscar, TLS

Sheldon, Addie O [Mrs. Roscoe Arbuckle], ALS

Shengold, Dr. Leonard, TLS

Skelton, Red

Stack, Robert, TLS

Stecy, Charles, ALS

Turner Broadcasting, TLS

Vanderknuff, Rick, ALS

Vincent, Romo, [ALS from his widow]

Walley, Deborah, ALS

Series 4: Chronological log notebook [outlining Keaton's life, 1895 to Posthumous; Folders [year by year] 1895 to 1966. These folders contain photocopies and notes.

Chronological Logs

1895 to

1902 -- 1903

Box 11

1904 to


Box 12

1926 to


Box 13

1935 to


Box 14

1953 to


Series 5: Cut to the Chase production materials; photo selections, sample page proofs, etc.

Box 15

Photo research

Photo sources

Miscellaneous photos

Jack Dragga photos

Joel Goss photos

Mary Davis photos

Cox, Melissa -- Meade, Marion, [photos and slides of]

The General

Natalie Talmadge images

Sam White photos

Photofest xeroxes

Eleanor Keaton Loans

Houdini, Harry with Keaton, Arbuckle, and others (photocopy)

Miscellaneous sources (2 folders)

Portrait -- line drawing of Keaton for (rejected) dustjacket

Cut to the Chase photo-insert; photocopies and draft captions

Harper Collins -- sample page proofs, publicity materials, clippings of 1995 Keaton festival

Introduction and acknowledgements

Rejected jackets

Index pages in proof with notes on errors

London Sun Times Review

U.S. reviews

Letters received after publication from readers

De Capo Paper Edition, publicity materials for

Series 6: Manuscripts

Box 16

Marion Meade, The Cameraman: A Life of Buster Keaton. Original typescript of Cut to the Chase, pages [1 -- 4]+1 -- 702, 710 -- 795.

Box 17

a later version of the typescript, 705 pages, heavily marked with editiorial revisions.

The following print editions of Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase have been cataloged for the "x" collection: New York: Harper Collins, 1995 [advance proofs]; New York: Harper Collins, 1995; London: Bloomsbury, 1996; New York: Da Capo Press, 1997 [trade paperback].

Kevin Brownlow, "The Search for Buster Keaton." Unpublished mss. in 324 typescript pages.

Box 18

Joel Goss, "The Making of The General." Photocopy typescript, 15 pages.

Alan Hoffman, "Buster". Photocopy typescript of 332 pages, circa 1978. Two folders.

Scott, Jason, "The Sellng of the Stone Face: Studio Marketing Practices & Keaton's The General." Typescript, 20 pages, circa 1989.

Series 7: Interview Tapes. For notes, partial transcriptions, etc., see Series 3.

Box 19 & 20:
[Note: the following description is taken from Meade's inventory. The 87 casettes are well-labeled but have not been placed in the boxes in the order indicated by this list].

Keaton's immediate family-- third wife/widow Eleanor Norris Keaton, son James. Talmadge, granddaughter Melissa Talmadge Cox, grandson Jim Talmadge, sister-in-law Jane Norris Kelly.

Keaton's friends: actors James Karen, Carol Arthur DeLuise, Ruth Silva, Jane Dulo, and Fritzi Burr; Bert Cowlan, Trudi Cowlan Maizel, folksinger Susan Reed, Janet Humble and son Douglas. Also friends of Keaton's widow, sister Louise, and children: Bob Borgen, animator Alan Hoffman, John Jennings (classmate of Keaton's sons at Black Foxe School), Linda Santos.

Vaudeville (1900 -- 1917): Dorothy Dana Walton (possibly only living person to have seen Keaton perform in vaudeville about 1905, tape + letter), Eddie Foy 3rd (also on CD), actress Eileen Sedgwick, Edward Hutson (son of Eileen Sedgwick and nephew of director Edward Sedgwick. The Cameraman, 1928).

Silent shorts and features (1918 -- 1929): actors Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Gilbert Roland., Lina Basquette, Bartine Burkett Zane, Julie Randall, and Patsy Ruth Miller; Sheila Kaufman (niece of Viola Dana, silent star and Keaton girlfriend), Darrylin Zanuck Pineda (daughter of Keaton leading lady Virginia Fox and Darryl Zanuck), Fred Gabourie Jr. (son of Keaton technical director Fred Gabourie), Elaine St. Johns (daughter of Hearst columnist Adela Rogers St. John), cameraman Frank Dugas (The Cameraman, 1928), Dean Reisner (aka silent child star Dinky Dean and son of comedy director Charles Reisner-- Steamhoat Bill Jr. 1928), John Coyne (son of Keaton studio carpenter Jack Coyne)(also on CD), Larry Breslow and Rose Rufman, son and sister of Marion Byron, leading lady in Steamboat Bill, Jr., Betty Goulding Saunders, widow of silent director Alf Goulding.

Individuals who worked on The General (1926): Gene Woodward Barnes, Joe Bricher, Kieth Fennell, Harold Terry.

Sound shorts and feature films (1929 -- 1965): directors Billy Wilder, William Asher, Sam Goldwyn, Jr., Stanley Kramer, Richard Lester, Jack Sydow, Gerald Potterton, Sam White., and Charles Lamont; assistant directors Francisco "Chico" Day (and brother of actor Gilbert Roland), Andy Nealis, and Willard Sheldon; actors Gene Kelly, Dody Goodman, Imogene Coca, Willy Switkes, John Baylis, Jan Miner (also on CD), Tom Kirk, Arlene Dahl, Irene Tsu (also on CD), Anita Page, Iris Adrian, Lupita Tovar Kohner (Keaton leading lady in An Old Spanish Custom, 193 5), William Bakewell (also on CD); Columbia sound editor Edward Bernds, MGM story editor Sam Marx, screenwriters Maurice Rapf (son of MGM producer Harry Rapf) (also on CD)and Nat Perrin. stuntman Gil Perkins, MGM production manager J.J.(Joseph) Cohn, Harry Joe Brown, Jr., son of Sally Eilers (leading lady in Doughhoys, 1930, and Parlor, Bedroom, and Bath, 193 1), novelist Sidney Sheldon (director The Buster Keaton Story, 1957), pop singer Dion DiMucci (also on CD), Madeline Lee Gilford ( actress & widow of actor Jack Gilford); cameraman Joe Coffey (Samuel Beckett's Film, 1965); lyricist Diane Lampert (also on CD), Jean Schneider (widow of stage director Alan Schneider Film, 1965), Edna Meyers (widow of film editor Sidney Meyers), documentarian John Spotton (Buster Keaton Rides Again, 1965), script supervisor Roberta Hodes (Film, 1965), stunt double Mick Dillon.

Television, commercials, and stage career (1949 -- 1965): TV host Garry Moore, TV director Ralph Levy, TV commercial directors Rudy Behlmer and John Lyons, summer theater director William E. Hunt; writers Seaman Jacobs, Hal Kanter, and Max Wilk; actors Ray Walston, Shirley Tegge, Jayne DuFrayne Abbott, Frank Buxton, Gary Conway, Frank Biro, and John Fiedler; TV producer Alan Harper, comedian/TV host (also on CD); Jack Carter, industrial film director John Sebert (also on CD), photographer Sid Avery.

Interviewees acquainted with Raymond Rohauer, film distributor, producer, & Keaton's business partner: associates Jack Dragga and Joel Goss, independent filmmakers Stan Brakhage and Jonas Mekas, Larry Austin (owner Silent Movie Theater in LA), Richard Gordon. Kenneth and Helen Fiebelkorn (Rohauer's brother and sister-in-law).

Miscellaneous personalities: Bill Cosby, Irene Mayer Selznick (daughter of Louis B. Mayer and wife of David O. Selznick), Pamela Mason (actress, ex-wife James Mason, owner of Keaton's "Italian Villa" mansion); New Yorker film critic Penelope Gilliatt and New York Times critic Walter Kerr; clown Billy Beek, actors Tony Randall and Arlene Dahl; Jean Pearson (talent agent & wife of Keaton's agent Ben Pearson) (also on CD); Glenn Massoth (descendent of the Haen family in whose Piqua, Kansas, home Keaton was accidentally born); radio host Joe Franklin, New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, film historian Anthony Slide, Frank Bogert (one-time mayor of Palm Springs), painter Arthur Josephson, documentary filmmaker Kevin Brownlow.

Miscellaneous tapes: "Buster Keaton Party Tape" (Keaton singing ribald vaudeville ditties & accompanying himself on ukelele, made at Fifties social gathering); taped session of Keaton discussing potential script for Wagon Train TV series with writer Bill Cox, 1952; Keaton taped interview with Prof Herbert Feinstein (audiocassette and CD), San Francisco State University, 1963; transcript of taped interview with actress Marion Mack (The General) by Rick Vanderknyff, 1987. Includes CDs make from the audiocassettes.


Series 8: Books about Keaton; video of Keaton films; Meade's book in various editions.

Box 21: Books about Keaton, all more or less heavily marked and annotated by Meade.

Richard J.Anobile, editor. The Best of Buster: The Classic Comedy Scenes Direct from the Films of Buster Keaton. New York: Crown, 1976. Introduction by Raymond Rohauer.

Rudi Blesh. Keaton. New York: Macmillan, 1966.

David N. Bruskin, interviewer. The White Brothers: Jack, Jules, & Sam White. Metuchen: The Directors Guild of America and the Scarecrow Press, 1990.

Tom Dardis. Keaton: The Man Who Wouldn't Lie Down. New York: Limelight Editions, 1988.

Andy Edmonds. New York: William Morrow, 1991. [Note: this books has been cataloged for the"x" collection as the library held no other copies].

Buster Keaton with Charles Samuels. My Wonderful World of Slapstick. New York: Da Capo Paperback, 1987. New introduction by Dwight MacDonald.

Daniel Moews. Keaton: The Silent Features Close Up. Berkeley: University of California, 1977.

Charles Wead and George Lellis. The Film Career of Buster Keaton. Pleasantville, NY: Redgrave Publishing, 1977.

Alice Miller. The Untouched Key: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness. New York: Doubleday, 1990.

Commerical videotapes of Keaton films

Buster on the Ed Sullian Show and for "Simon Pure Beer". Video Images "Yesteryear" recording.

Steamboat Bill Jr. Video Dimensions Classic Collectibles.

The Boat, Electric House, and The Frozen North. Video Dimensions Classic Collectibles Volume 2.

Dubarry. Foothill Video. ["Public Doman Specialists"]

Three Ages, The Goat, and My Wife's Relations. Kino Video.

The General. Encore Video.

Tapes apparently copied or taped from broadcast

This is your life

Hollywood Cavalcade

San Diego I Love You

Sherlock Jr.

Free and Easy and Sidewalks of New York

The Three Ages, The Love Nest, Our Hospitality, The Baloonatic, Film, amd Buster Keaton (AMC Festival, 1995)

Seven Chances, Go West, and Battling Butler

The Paleface, Hard Luck, Electric House, The Blacksmith, Cops, and Wife's Relations

Buster Keaton biography (A&E, December 13, 1995)

Stuntmen, College, and Parlor

One Week, Scarecrow, The Saphead, Convict 13, Neighbors, The Goat, and The Boat

The Buster Keaton Story (1957)

Hollywood Comedy -- Serious Business and Beach Blanket Bingo

"Bartine Zane aka Bartine Burkette"



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