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Ring Lardner papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Lardner

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, writings, and estate papers of Ring Lardner, 1885-2003.

Includes courtship correspondence of Lardner and his wife-to-be, Ellis Abbott, and correspondence from magazine editors, family, and friends; copies of published short stories and typescripts of plays, song lyrics, unpublished musical comedies, adaptations of his works written by others, and correspondence between Lardner's biographers; and clippings containing interviews and news stories about Lardner. There are also a few photographs, biographical materials, and significant files concerning Lardner's estate, royalty income, and the copyright status of his works.


  • Creation: 1805-2003
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1885 - 1987



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Ring Lardner papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Ring Lardner papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biography of Ring Lardner

White, American journalist and humorist; writer of short stories, plays, and songs.

Born Ringgold Wilmer Lardner at Niles, Michigan, in 1885, Ring Lardner for a short time attended the Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago before returning to Niles to work. In 1905 he began his journalistic career at the South Bend Times, reporting mostly baseball news. This led to sports reporter jobs with a number of Chicago newspapers. Lardner also worked in St. Louis and Boston before returning to the Chicago Tribune in 1913 to write "In the Wake of the News," a daily column of humorous commentary. In 1919 Lardner moved to Great Neck, Long Island, to write a weekly column for the Bell Syndicate. This column appeared in newspapers across the country.

In 1914 Lardner began to contribute his Jack Keefe short stories to the Saturday Evening Post and published several books of Keefe stories by 1919. With these and later works Lardner established a firm reputation as a humorist. Continuing to produce short stories, Lardner toward the end of his life also began to write plays, including "June Moon" and "Elmer the Great" ("Hurry Kane"), both of which were produced on Broadway. He also wrote songs for a number of musical shows.

Lardner married Ellis Abbott of Goshen, Indiana, in 1911. They had four sons: John A., Ring W., James Phillips, and David Ellis. In ill health during his forties, Lardner died of tuberculosis and a heart ailment in 1933.


9.3 Linear Feet (20 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Correspondence and writings of journalist and humorist author Ring Lardner. Also estate papers, including royalty records through 2003, biographical materials, publicity and reviews, adaptations of writings, and a few photographs.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Biographical Materials, 1805-1971
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Incoming Correspondence, 1911-1987
Box 3
Series 3: Outgoing Correspondence, 1907-1960
Boxes 4-7
Series 4: Works, etc., 1885-1965, bulk 1914-1933
Boxes 8-12
Series 5: Publicity and Reviews, 1915-1992
Boxes 13-15
Series 6: Estate Papers, 1910-2003
Boxes 16-19
Series 7: Photographs, undated-1985
Box 20

Collection Stack Location

1 23 3, 1 45 2


Gift of Ring Lardner Jr., 1962-1985, Alma Ostrander (Mrs. Montgomery Ostrander), 1976, Jonathan Yardley, 1975, and John Lardner, 2008.

Processed by

Diana Haskell, 1976; Pamela Olson, ca. 2008; Alexandra Zukas, 2010.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Ring Lardner papers, 1805-2003, bulk 1885-1987
Alexandra Zukas
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States