Skip to main content

Wallace Rice Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Rice

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection consists primarily of correspondence and works, with a small collection of miscellaneous material and a few photographs.

The letters, most of which are addressed to Rice, mainly are regarding Rice's professional interests as a critic, lecturer, poet and anthologist, either from fans or from authors regarding permission to republish their work in some collection he was preparing, plus personal and social notes. Among the correspondents are Franklin P. Adams, Jane Addams, George Ade, Francis Fisher Browne, Bliss Carman, Mary H. Catherwood, Clarence Darrow, Finley Peter Dunne, Henry B. Fuller, Hamlin Garland, Edward Everett Hale, Alfred E. Housman, William Dean Howells, Julian Huxley, Ring Lardner, H.L. Mencken, Harriet Monroe, Frank Norris, Bliss Perry, Dorothy Richardson, Charles Edward Russell, George Santayana, Otis Skinner, Lincoln Steffens, Eunice Tietjens, Thorstein Veblen, Owen Wister, Frank Lloyd Wright and Edith Wyatt. There is also a letter from Horace Greeley to a Charles Stacy and two letters from William Gillette to others.

The works of Rice include many articles, both manuscript and published, mostly pasted in notebooks; a typescript of his book written with Clarence Darrow, Infidels and Heretics; also an unfinished novel, a play, song lyrics, speeches and a long story. The bulk of material is verse, both his and of others which he collected for anthologizing.

The miscellaneous material mainly consists of certificates, clippings, invitations and cards, programs, school items, memorabilia relating to Rice's father and ancestors, a notebook of articles and clippings about the Spanish-American War and six copies of the Centennial Bulletin, 1917-1918. Among the photographs are three of Wallace Rice and one of his father, John A. Rice, several cabinet photographs, including Frank Leslie and General William T. Sherman, and a few unidentified.


  • Creation: 1779-1939
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1885 - 1935



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Wallace Rice Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum, and items in each folder will be counted before and after delivery to the patron (Priority I).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Wallace Rice 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 Wallace Rice

Chicago author, anthologist and lecturer.

Wallace Rice, a life-long resident of Chicago, was the son of John A. Rice, the owner successively of the Old Sherman House, the Grand Pacific Hotel, and the historic Tremont Hotel, and a collector of a notable library of Americana. Rice was born in 1859, was educated at Racine College and Harvard, and was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1884. However, he found he had little interest in the law, and a few years later he began his literary career.

Starting out as a newspaper reporter, Rice became a both a drama critic and a book critic. He worked for almost all the Chicago papers and at the same time was a prolific freelance writer. He was the author, coauthor, editor or compiler of more than ninety books and pamphlets. His interests were wide: he wrote pageants for historical occasions, plays and masques, hymns, song lyrics, special histories of utilities and hotels, and he served as a usage counselor for the English Journal. Rice was a member of the Illinois State Historical Society and the Chicago Historical Society and wrote histories of the Chicago Stock Exchange in 1923, the People's Gas Light and Coke Company, and the Palmer House. He also designed the Chicago Municipal flag, adopted in 1917, and the Illinois Centennial flag. Wallace Rice was an ardent writer of verse and a tireless anthologist with such compilations as Ballads of Valor and Victory, The Athlete's Garland, The Humbler Poets: Second Series and The Wealth of Friendship. His own poetry appeared throughout his lifetime in many anthologies, including The Oxford Book of American Verse. Also, with Clarence Darrow he edited an anthology of prose entitled Infidels and Heretics in 1929.

Rice was extremely active in theatrical and club activities and he often wrote articles or lectured on literary and dramatic themes. He was a member of the Cliff Dwellers, the Society of Midland Authors, the Stage Guild, the Playwrights Theater and several other Chicago societies. In 1889 he married Minna H. Angier of Chicago and they had two sons, John A. Rice and Benjamin W. Rice. Wallace Rice died in 1939.


6 Linear Feet (8 boxes and 2 oversize boxes)


Correspondence, almost all addressed to Chicago author, anthologist and lecturer Wallace Rice with a few outgoing letters; also many examples of his works, and a miscellany of associated material including a small collection of photographs.


Papers are organized in the following series, with two oversize boxes at end

Series 1: Correspondence, 1840-1933
Boxes 1-3
Series 2: Works, 1872-1938
Boxes 4-7
Series 3: Miscellaneous, 1799-1942
Box 8
Series 4: Photographs, approximately 1870-1939
Box 8

Collection Stack Location

1 31 7, 1 43 12

Former Owner

Donated by the Lake County Forest Preserve District as part of the Curt Teich Postcard Archives Collection at the Newberry Library.


Gift of Frances V. Rice, 1948 & 1950.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2004.

Inventory of the Wallace Rice Papers, 1779-1939, bulk 1885-1935
Virginia H. Smith
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