University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

John Luther Long:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Descriptive Summary

Creator Long, John Luther, 1861-1927
Title John Luther Long Papers
Dates: 1870-1958
Abstract: The papers consist of correspondence, most of it among family members, and manuscripts of Long's works. Drafts of Madame Butterfly and correspondence with fellow playwright David Belasco, with whom Long adapted the story for the stage, are present.
RLIN Record # TXRC92-A9
Extent 20 boxes, 5 galley files, 1 oversize box, 1 oversize folder (8 linear feet)
Language English.
Repository Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

John Luther Long was born in Hanover, Pennsylvania, in 1861. He was admitted to the bar in Philadelphia on October 29, 1881, and became a practicing lawyer. Though his profession was law, he enjoyed literature and throughout his life, he wrote many short stories, plays, poetry, and a few librettos.

On January 17, 1882, he married Mary Jane Sprenkle. The first year of their marriage, Long kept a diary primarily focusing on his work as a lawyer, though he does disclose more personal information here than in most of his correspondence. Bayard, their only child, was born by the summer of 1886.

Mr. Long spent most summer months writing at Spray Beach, New Jersey, going into the city only when necessary. By 1895, his efforts paid off with his first published work, Miss Cherry Blossom of Tokyo. Fascinated with Japanese culture, he wrote several stories set to this theme. According to the Dictionary of American Biography IV, "...he had never been in Japan. His story and atmosphere were based on the observations of his sister, Mrs. Irwin Correll, the wife of a missionary. The details were carefully verified from her experience." Unfortunately, very little of her correspondence exists in this collection.

Over one hundred stories and plays are represented in the collection, and some illustrate Long's own interpretation of himself as "a sentimentalist, and a feminist and proud of it" ( New York Times, November 1, 1927). Much of his writing focuses on romantic relationships between men and women. This theme pervades his writing whether the story is set in America or the Orient. The most famous of his oriental stories was Madame Butterfly David Belasco worked with Mr. Long to produce a very elaborate play from this story. This was the impetus of Long's career as a writer. He worked on several other projects with Belasco, including The Darling of the Gods and Andrea. He also worked with other writers, as well as with actresses Leslie Carter ( Kassa) and Minnie Maddern Fiske ( Dolice). None of Long's writings had the success of Madame Butterfly, which was first produced by David Belasco at the Herald Square Theatre in New York on March 5, 1900. Giacomo Puccini was inspired by this production and chose it for the libretto of his popular opera Madame Butterfly, which premiered in English in New York on November 12, 1906.

Mr. Long chose not to allow the media or public responses of his work to interfere with his desire for a quiet private life. He spent the last two months of his life at a sanatorium in Clifton Springs, New York. He died on October 31, 1927, following an operation.

Scope and Contents

The papers of John Luther Long consist mainly of correspondence and literary manuscripts documenting his career from 1881 to 1927 (bulk 1898-1920). The papers are arranged in three series: Correspondence, 1870-1944, Literary Works, 1893-1927, and Miscellaneous, 1873-1958.

The Correspondence series (boxes 1-8) is subdivided into family and literary correspondence. Arrangement within these subseries is chronological. Family correspondence is fairly extensive between 1885 and 1920, but then drops off considerably. Most of the letters from 1870-1887 are to John from his wife, Mary, and to Mary from her mother. The majority of letters from John to his wife are from 1904 to 1911, during the summer months while he was at Spray Beach, NJ. Long's letters consist primarily of personal and family business matters such as getting the car battery charged or sending him more clean shirts. The remainder of correspondence is dominated by letters from Long's son, Bayard, to his mother and to his friend, Janet B. Walter. Bayard's correspondence with Janet began after high school in 1909, and can be characterized as two friends discussing current thoughts and ideas, though occasionally Bayard mentions his feelings about his father. His letters to her continue through his scholastic endeavors and travels as a young botanist. They remained friends for many years, though the correspondence in the collection ends in the 1940s. There is very little correspondence from Janet to Bayard.

The literary correspondence subseries comprises general correspondence (1893-1922 and n.d.), and correspondence from Alice Kauser (1902-1914), and David Belasco (1902-1919 and n.d.). In the general correspondence folder, there are three items from Leslie Carter, four items from Harrison Grey Fiske, and two items from Minnie Maddern Fiske along with other letters concerning the publication of his works. The correspondence of Long's agent, Alice Kauser, is concerned primarily with contracts between Long and Carter over Kassa, and Long and Mrs. Fiske. Some of the other matters discussed are notes on Hatasu and an offer to buy Darling of the Gods.

David Belasco's correspondence discusses various stages of the following works: Kitsu, Darling of the Gods, Jane and Me, and Madame Butterfly (including a potential sequel). Belasco is friendly in his letters; however, business is the focal point of his correspondence.

Literary Works (boxes 9-17) contain some published titles (1895-1917), though most titles appear to be unpublished versions of Long's short stories, plays, poetry, and librettos. There are versions of Madame Butterfly and a potential sequel, as well as a copy of Madame Glory (perhaps the original title to Madame Butterfly). Several versions of Where Did She Go? appear throughout this series in various stages and in bits and pieces. Long did not date his works, nor did he identify versions. There are some minor title variations, such as Shall He Have a Monument and Shall We Have a Monument. Other works have alternative titles, like The Swordsman, which also has five other titles. Long made holographic notations on many of his typed works, while other titles have few additional comments or changes from the original typed copy.

The literary works are arranged by the size of the material and then alphabetically by title. The four sizes of materials are: oversize, galley proofs, letter size, and half letter size (Long typed many of his stories on small, 4 x 7 inch sheets. Most of these sheets are quite brittle, and required tuxedo boxes to protect them and keep them in order. Hereafter, this material will be referred to as tuxedo box material). Both the letter size materials and the tuxedo boxes contain groups of writings that came to the Ransom Center bundled together. These groupings, called combined works, have been maintained to preserve original order. Many of the works in these groups are not complete and titles are not always apparent. Some works have several titles, all of which are indicated in the folder list using a slash to distinguish one title from another. There are six groups of combined works housed in the letter size section and three groups in the tuxedo box section. The combined works are housed at the end of the alphabetical portion of each section and are listed similarly in the folder list. The letter size, oversize, and galley proofs are in a single alphabetical listing in the folder list, with indications for oversize and galley housing.

The Miscellaneous Series (boxes 18-20) consists of clippings of reviews for books by Long and various theatrical shows, arranged chronologically under each title. Photographs comprise a significant portion of this series, and there are several copies of Mr. Long's promotional photograph. The photographs were removed from the two family albums to preserve the images; unfortunately most of them are not identified. The order in which they appeared in the albums has been maintained.

Bayard Long's school materials from 1895-1909 constitute the next largest section of this series, with various classes represented including math and biology. The remainder of this series are miscellaneous materials such as John Luther Long's diary, address books, receipts, and the Long family seal and arms.



Open for research

Index Terms

Belasco, David, 1853-1931.
Kauser, Alice.
Long, Bayard.
Long, Mary Jane Sprenkle.
Authors, American--New England.
American fiction--20th century.
Short stories, American--New England.
Document Types

Administrative Information


Purchase, 1970

Processed by

Deborah Shelby, 1993

Folder List

Series I. Correspondence, 1870-1944

Subseries A: Family Correspondence, 1870-1944
box folder
1 1 1870-79
2 1880-82
3 1883-84
4 1885 January-May
5 1885 June-September
6 1885 October-December
7 1886 January-April
8 1886 May-December
box folder
2 1 1887
2 1888-95
3 1896-98
4 1900-03
5 1904-1906, July
6 1906 August-September
box folder
3 1 1907
2 1908 January-July
3 1908 August-December
4 1909
5 1910 January-July
6 1910 August-December
7 1911
box folder
4 1 1912
2 1913 January-August
3 1913 September
4 1913 October
5 1914 January-June
6 1914 July-October
box folder
5 1 1915 January-August
2 1915 September-December
3 1916 January-February
4 1916 March-December
5 1917 January-July 10
6 1917 July 11-August
7 1918 January-August 18
box folder
6 1 1918 August 19-December
2 1919 May-July
3 1919 August-September
4 1920 June-July
5 1920 August-September
6 1921
box folder
7 1 1923-24
2 1925
3 1926
4 1928-29
5 1930
6 1933-34
7 1935-37
box folder
8 1 1938-40
1943-44 (oversize housing)
box folder
8 2 Letters from John Luther Long, n.d.
3 Letters to John Luther Long, n.d.
4 Letters from Bayard Long, n.d.
5 Miscellaneous letters and envelopes, n.d.
Subseries B: Literary Correspondence, 1893-1922
box folder
8 6 General, 1893-1922 and n.d.
7 Alice Kauser 1902, regarding Hatasu
8 Alice Kauser 1907-1914
9 David Belasco and Co., 1902-1919 and n.d.

Series II. Literary Works, 1895-1917

Andon (galley housing)
box folder
9 1-3 Andrea
Billy Boy, Collier's, 1905 Dec. 30, v.36 #14, p.16 (oversize housing)
box folder
9 4 The Crag of the Ten Thousand Devils
5-6 The Fox Woman
box folder
10 1 The Fox Woman
2 Glasses
Golgotha (galley housing), see also 13.5
Her Dear Barbarian, Metropolitan, 1914 July, v.40 #3, p. 20 (oversize housing)
box folder
10 3 The Iodine Cure, see also 13.1
4 Japanese Doll
5 Joe Jr.
6-8 Lady Pat, see also 15.3 and 17.6
Little Miss Joy-Sing, Collier's, 1903, v.30 #25, p.9 (oversize housing)
box folder
11 1-2 Luna
3-6 Madame Butterfly, Review in Musical America, 1906 Oct., v.4 #23, p.5 (oversize housing)
The Outrageous Miss Dawn-Dream, Collier's, 1901, v 27 #1, p. 10 (oversize housing)
box folder
12 1 The Pet Shop
2 Red Wampum
3 Seffy
4 Shall He Have a Monument?, see also 13.3
5 The Sot
6 The Story of a Little House in a Little Street Where the Sun Never Came, see also galley housing
Temple of the Countless Gods, Century Magazine, 1914 Feb., v.87 #4, p.493 (oversize housing)
Tom, Dick and Harry Et Caetera (galley housing)
The Unjust Judge, Success Magazine, 1909 Dec., p.777, pt. #1; 1910 Jan., p.15, pt. #2 (oversize housing)
"UNKNOWN" and other poems (galley housing)
box folder
12 7 Where Did She Go?, see also 12.10, 13.3 16.6-7, 17.1-3
Yoshiko, Pictorial Review, 1914 May, p.18 (oversize housing)
box folder
12 8 Combined Works #1
Bushido / The Knight Errant
The Running Away of Mrs. Pilling and Her Running Back
unknown title
My Bill
Another Baby Case
box folder
12 9 Combined Works #2
Strike on the Strasbourg Railway
How to Spell Hate
The Beggar Maid
unknown title
box folder
12 10 Combined Works #3
Love and Babies
Il Bacio / The Winged Victory
The Newsgirl
The Scrub Lady
The "Diamong Studded Speed____"?
The Kiss / Hotari-Ko
Old Tom
The Singer
Les Americains
Smilin' Bill / Bill and Jim
unknown title
The Swordsman / The Samurai / The Princess and the Samurai / The Lady and the Samurai
Where Did She Go?, see also 12.7, 13.3, 16.6-7, 17.1-3
The Swordsman / The Samurai / The Lady and the Samurai / A Story of the Tim of Yoshitsue
unknown title
box folder
13 1 Combined Works #3, cont.
The Screen Maiden
Hoshiko / Lady of the Stars, see also 17.6
After the Loaded Gun / Brown Green and Co. /Brown, Green et Caetera
After 20 Years
His "SETTER" (?)
Prince of Chintz, see also 14.4
The Iodine Cure, see also 10.3
Play...Golden House (?)
The Golden House
The Brass Bullet
Shy Lock v Bassanio
Barry vs Barry
box folder
13 2 Combined Works #4
Shall We Have a Monument?, see also 12.4
The Legend of Ayabe the Samurai
"Pan" (?)
Jane an' Me, see also 14.9
box folder
13 3 Combined Works #4, cont.
Where Did She Go?, see also 12.7, 12.10, 16.6-7, 17.1-3
Scrap Copyright
My Confession
The Chances
Dream Story
The Stag Line
box folder
13 4 Combined Works #4, cont.
Morfina (?)
Aramidzu and Co.
It Happened in Paris
The Love Professor / The Professor of Mathematics
The Lady and I
John's Hundred Dollar Jane
box folder
13 5 Combined Works #5
Sad Story of the Man (or Woman) Who Never Dreamed True
St. Michael's
box folder
13 6 Combined Works #6--Printed stories and notes
The Old Red Bridge
The Phantom Dog
unknown title
The Long Lost Friend or Faithful Christian Instructors
box folder
13 7 Notes, Miscellaneous
Individual Works Housed in Tuxedo Boxes
box folder
14 1 Ace of Hearts
2 Billy-Boy
(3 bound volumes)
3 The Boardwalk Marriage
4 The Golden Geisha / The Prince in Chintz (?), see also 13.1
5 Golgotha see also galley housing
6 Hatasu
7 Holy Matrimony
8 The Hunger Song / Her Love Song Could Not Be Played Alone
9 Jane and Me, see also 13.2
box folder
15 1 Johnny
2 Kassa
3 Lady Pat, see also 10.6-9, 17.6
4 Outrageous Miss Dawn Dream, see also oversize housing
5 St. John
box folder
16 1 The Strange Man
2 unknown title
3 The Vestal
4-5 War
6-7 Where Did She Go?, see also 12.7, 12.10, 13.3, 17.1-3
box folder
17 1-3 Where Did She Go?, see also 12.7, 12.10, 13.3, 16.6-7
Combined Works Housed in Tuxedo Boxes
box folder
17 4 Combined Works #7
Dan / A Three Cent Shine
unknown title
Tom / Tom's Bow - and Mine
Di / The First Shine, see also 17.5
Just Ragg / Top or Pot
unknown title
box folder
17 5 Combined Works #8
Brown vs Green
Di see also 17.4
Passing the Love of Women...Woman
box folder
17 6 Combined Works #9
Naughty Nan
Hoshiko, see also 13.1
Lady Pat, see also 10.6-8, 15.3
Bardolft and Jessica (?)

Series III. Miscellaneous, 1876-1958

box folder
18 1 John Luther Long--Diary 1883
Diploma of John Luther Long (oversize housing)
box folder
18 2 Theater Programs
3 Tables of Contents of Published works, 1911-14
box folder
18 4 Family, 1889-1907
5 Book reviews, 1906-1914
6 Darling of the Gods, 1902-1914, n.d.
7 Edwin Trial, 1914
8 Kassa and Leslie Carter, 1909, n.d.
9 Madame Butterfly, 1906-1914
10 Murder, 1914
11 Mrs. Minnie Maddern Fiske, 1914
12 The Way of the Gods, 1906, n.d.
13 Miscellaneous, 1893-1907, n.d.
14 Account Books, 1885-89, 1896-97
15 Address book and business cards
16 Certificate and Long Family Seal and Arms
Family Crest (oversize housing)
box folder
18 17 Election Book, n.d.
18 Insurance, 1908-1928
19 Invitations and cards
20 Deed of Trust
Map of Pennsylvania (oversize housing)
Miscellaneous Publications (oversize housing)
Ladies World, 1911 December
Metropolitan, n.d.
Pictorial Review, 1915 Nov., v.17 #2
Woman's World 1912 July
Music scores (oversize housing)
box folder
18 21 Receipts, 1876-1928, n.d.
22 Miscellaneous
box folder
19 1 Bayard Long's school materials, 1895-98
2 Bayard Long's school materials, 1899-1908, n.d.
3 Bayard Long, Miscellaneous 1887-1958
box folder
19 4-5 John Luther Long
6 Identified and unidentified
box folder
20 1-2 Photograph Album #1
3-4 Photograph Album #2
5-6 Miscellaneous and unidentified