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George Barr McCutcheon Collection

An inventory of his collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: May 1989

Biographical History

George Barr McCutcheon (1866-1928) was an American novelist best known for his fictional works such as Graustark (1901).

McCutcheon was born on July 26, 1866 to John Barr and Clara (Glick) McCutcheon in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. As a boy, McCutcheon taught his brother John how to draw. John went on to become a successful American cartoonist. George McCutcheon attended Purdue University at Lafayette from 1882-1883 before leaving to work as a reporter at the Lafayette Journal. "The Ante-Mortem Condition of George Ramor," printed in the National Magazine in 1896, was McCutcheon's first published short story. Graustark, written in 1901, established McCutcheon as a writer. The novel was written in a single draft at about a thousand words a day. McCutcheon married Marie Van Antwerp Fay on September 26, 1904. He died suddenly on October 23, 1928 while at a luncheon at the Hotel Martinique.

Selected Works

1901 Graustark
1902 Brewster's Millions
Castle Craneycrow
1903 The Sherrods
1904 Beverly of Graustark
The Day of the Dog
1906 Jane Cable
1907 The Daughter of Anderson Crow
1911 Mary Midthorne
1912 The Hollow of Her Hand
1913 A Fool and His Money
1914 The Prince of Graustark
1919 Sherry
1920 Anderson Crow, Detective
West Wind Drift
1924 East of the Setting Sun
1927 The Inn of the Hawk and Raven
1929 The Merivales

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The George Barr McCutcheon Collection consists of three outgoing items of correspondence, one holograph poem, and a single item of miscellany.

The Correspondence, written between 1903 and 1925, includes a letter in which McCutcheon declines an invitation to write an article under the title "Love Me and the World is Mine" (06 Mar 1922), and a discussion of his satirical play about the American legal system (14 Jan 1925). The remainder of the items in the collection relate to McCutcheon's response to an appeal from Mrs. Harry S. New to contribute a poem for inclusion in a small literary magazine, the proceeds of which were to fund a local charity. Also included in the letter is a discussion of McCutcheon's novel, The Sherrods:

You don't believe a man can love two women at once? I've loved a half a dozen at a time. Man is a polygamist by nature, I'm afraid, and he always tries to justify himself if he is caught. The man who loves two women loves himself much the best of the three, but he believes in himself all the time. I am not excusing Jud Sherrod. He was a disgrace and I so intended him to be. The critics are calling him the most contemptible man in fiction of this day. He was weak with a selfishness that he concealed with love. There are a good many men, my dear Mrs. New, who are confident they love two women and I think you usually find them false to both - which was more that Jud was in heart, at least.
But it is a perilous discussion. We can't think alike, you know, so it's best for me to stop my side of it. I'd like to hear more from you, however. Of one thing let me remind you: love is very frequently something else with man.

Also in the collection is a poem, "Your Humble Victim," included in the Writings series. The poem was originally enclosed in the letter to Mrs. Harry S. New in which McCutcheon writes (14 Dec 1903):

I am sending some awful rot for the Katherine Home. Perhaps, if the old ladies had their choice, they'd sooner be homeless. You know I am awful at jingles, or what you like to call them. Rhyme is an abomination with me and I think my scant reputation goes glimmering with this.

The collection also includes an item of Miscellany, a 1930 signed statement by Harry S. New in which he explains the relationship between McCutcheon's letter to Mrs. New and the poem, "Your Humble Victim."

Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains three series: Correspondence, which is arranged chronologically, Miscellany, and Writings.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

The Special Collections Research Center also has a collection of papers from George Barr McCutcheon's brother, John T. McCutcheon.

Subject Headings


McCutcheon, George Barr, 1866-1928.
New, Harry S.


American literature -- 20th century.
Novelists, American.

Genres and Forms

Letters (correspondence)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

George Barr McCutcheon Collection
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

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