Collection Dates: 1895 -- 1997
10 linear ft.
This document describes a collection of materials held
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Posted to Internet: April 2000
Acquisition Note: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Marion Meade.
and Restrictions: This
collection is open for research.
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Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"
Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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the book for four years, interviewing some 200 people who had known or worked with Keaton, gathered published and unpublished photographs, and worked with Keaton collector Jack Dragga to compile a definitive filmography.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  + 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
Marion Meade Research Notebooks
Addresses, Keaton's, 1919 -- 1966]
Research Sources, Meade's
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
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
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
Virginia Fox Zanuck Scrapbook
Samual Beckett Production of Film (1964)
US vs. Schneck
Talmadges -- Historical Societies
Talmadge Sisters Film Careers (Norma, Constance, Natalie)
Talmadge, Jimmy & Bobby (Keaton sons)
Talmadge, Jim (Keaton grandson)
Cox, Melissa Talmadge (Keaton granddaughter)
Talmadge Family History
Talmade Family Genealogy
Arbuckle, Roscoe career
Arbuckle, Roscoe, Murder Trials
Arbuckle: David Yallop's The Day the Laughter Stopped (1976), photocopy
Keaton, Mae -- post-Buster
Keaton, Mae -- Medical
Keaton, Mae -- Legal
Keaton, Mae -- U.S. Copyright Office
Rohauer, Raymond -- Legal
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.
Abbot, Jayne, ALS
Barnes, Gene Woodword
Beck, Billy, 2 ALS
Bernds, Edward, ALS
Biro, Frank, TLS
Bricher, Joe, ALS, PCS
Brown, Jr., Harry Joe
Burkett, Bartine [Zane]
Carter, Jack, ALS
Coffey, Joe, ALS
Cohn, Joseph J.
Conway, Gary, ALS
Cress, Eddie, 6 ALS
Day, Francisco (Chico), ALS
Fairbanks, Douglas, Jr.
Fennell, Kieth, ALS
Fiebelkorn, Kenneth & Helen, Fax
Foy, Eddie, 3rd
Gabourie, Jr., Fred
Gilford, Madeline [Mrs.Jack]
Goldwyn, Samuel, Jr.
Hunt, William E., PCS
Hutson, Edward, TLS, 3 ALS
Jennings, John, ALS
Josephson, Arthur, ALS
Kanter, Hal, TLS
Kaufman, Sheila, ALS, & Taylor, Sid
Kirk, Tom, ALS
Lampart, Diane, ANS
Lester, Richard, TLS
Mason, Pamela, TLS
Marx, Sam, TLS
Miller, Patsy Ruth
Myers, Edna [Mrs.Sidney]
Pearson, Jean [Mrs.Ben], TLS
Perkins, Gil, ALS
Pineda, Darrylin [Zarnick]
Potterton, Gerald, ALS
Riesner, Dean, TLS
Saunders, Betty [Goulding], ALS
Schoenfield, Berni, ALS
Sebert, John, ALS
Selznick, Irene [Mayer]
Spotton, John, TLS
St. Johns, Elaine
Switkes, Willy, ALS
Tegge, Shirley, ALS
Thomas, Richard Lyle
Tovar, Lupita [Kohner]
Walton, Dorothy, 2 ALS
White, Sam, 3 ANS
B. Records relating to family and friends of Keaton interviewed
Cowlan, Bert, TLS
Cox, Melissa Talmadge, ACS
DeLuis Carol [Arthur], 2 ALS
Humble, Janet/Douglas, ALS
Karen, James, APC
Keaton, Eleanor [Widow]
Kelly, Jane [Norris]
Maizal, Trudi [Cowlan]
Moore, Harry, ALS, Fax
Reed, Susan [Karen]
Talmadge, Jim [Grandson]
Talmadge, James (Joseph Taldmadge Keaton)
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.
Bengtson, John D. [with copy of his booklet, Silent Echoes: 101 Locations from Buster Keaton's Classic Comedies, 1997
Kline, Jim [with a copy of The Complete Films of Buster Keaton (1993)
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.
Allen, Steve, TLS
Arkoff, Samuel Z.
Barry, Gene, ALS
Berman, Pandro, TNS
Brown, Heywood H., ALS
Capra, Frank R.
de Cordova, Fred, TLS
Dillon, Mick, ALS
Edwards, Ann [Alice Faye]
Epstein, Jerry, TLS
Everson, William K., TLS
Francis, Arlene, ANS
Fountain, Leatrice [Gilbert], ALS
Funt, Allen, TLS
Giannini, George, ALS
Goodson, Mark, TLS
Hackett, Albert, ANS
Hart, Kitty Carlisle
Hawes, Lois Laure, TLSl
Hodges, Eddie, TL
Humble, Janet, TN
Hume, Kenneth, TLS
Koch, Kenneth, ALS
Lloyd, Norman, TLS
Lucas, Loyal T.
Mackenzie, Gisele, ANS
Mastrangelo, Bob, 2 TLS
Matheson, Richard, TLS
McDowall, Roddy, TLS
Miller, Alice, Fax
Riefenstahl, Leni, TLS, TNS
Romero, Cesar, ANS
Rosset, Barney, TLS
Schickel, Richard, TLS
Shefler, Oscar, TLS
Sheldon, Addie O [Mrs. Roscoe Arbuckle], ALS
Shengold, Dr. Leonard, TLS
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.
1902 -- 1903
Series 5: Cut to the Chase production materials; photo selections, sample page proofs, etc.
Jack Dragga photos
Joel Goss photos
Mary Davis photos
Cox, Melissa -- Meade, Marion, [photos and slides of]
Natalie Talmadge images
Sam White photos
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
Index pages in proof with notes on errors
London Sun Times Review
Letters received after publication from readers
De Capo Paper Edition, publicity materials for
Series 6: Manuscripts
Marion Meade, The Cameraman: A Life of Buster Keaton. Original typescript of Cut to the Chase, pages [1 -- 4]+1 -- 702, 710 -- 795.
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.
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.
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.
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
San Diego I Love You
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"