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George Ade papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Ade

Notice of Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials

This collection contains content identified by the library as Culturally Sensitive to Indigenous People(s): descriptions of human remains. For more information please see the Newberry Library’s policy on Access to Culturally Sensitive Indigenous Materials.

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, writings, pictorial materials, and newsclippings dating mainly from 1890 to 1944, documenting the literary and personal life of George Ade.

With the exception of Ade's writings, some photographs and newsclippings, and a few letters, the papers date largely from Ade's later literary career and active retirement. The collection reflects his close relationships with family and friends, and his sustained support of Purdue University and the Sigma Chi fraternity. They are also important sources of material on John T. McCutcheon and the viewpoint of conservatives opposed to the New Deal.

Most of Ade's letters date after 1920 and the bulk are to Evelyn Gilman (Mrs. William T. Gilman), William F. Kurfess, and Franklin J. Meine. One letter to Vause W. Marshall describes Ade's friendship with the illustrator John Francis (Frank) Holme. The small group of incoming correspondence includes letters from Elmer Davis, William Dean Howells, Elbert Hubbard, John T. McCutcheon, and H.T. Webster. There is also correspondence which relates to George Ade, including letters written by or to Fred C. Kelly, William Frederick Kurfess, John T. McCutcheon, Franklin J. Meine and James Rathbun, plus a photostat of a letter from Mark Twain to William D. Howells.

Within the collection is a smaller collection of Ade materials given by the Union League Club of Chicago, gathered by Monroe Cockrell, which concern Ade's friendship with Charles Fernald (both Cockrell and Monroe were officers of Ade's bank, the Continental).

The five boxes of works contain published writings, typescripts and many original manuscripts. Miscellaneous material includes articles about Ade, some Ade family items, memorabilia, a few legal documents and Hazelden-related items. There are two scrapbooks containing two printed Ade stories; also, a box of clippings and 2 boxes of photographs, many of which are of Ade.


  • Creation: 1865-1971



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The George Ade papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The George Ade 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 at

Biography of George Ade

American journalist, humorist and playwright.

George Ade was a small-town Indiana boy, born in the middle of the nineteenth century, who became so famous and rich as a wildly popular and prolific author and playwright, that he could retire to his country estate in the 1920s and spend the rest of his long life writing, entertaining, golfing, traveling and generally making himself and his many friends happy and comfortable.

George Ade was born in Kentland, Indiana in 1866, and graduated from Purdue University in 1887. After a few years as a local newspaper reporter, Ade joined his Purdue friend, cartoonist John T. McCutcheon, at the Chicago Record, where he developed the skill of turning human-interest stories into gentle satirical humor. Ade's columns, entitled "Stories of the Streets and of the Town," which were illustrated by McCutcheon, attracted national attention and were subsequently collected and published as books entitled Artie, 1896, and Pink Marsh, 1897. Ade is probably best remembered for his innumerable fables in slang, columns begun in 1897 and published as books beginning with Fables in Slang in 1899 and ending with Hand-Made Fables in 1920.

The celebrated fables proved to be a bonanza when they went into syndication in 1900, and financial success allowed Ade to turn his considerable energies to the theater. He wrote several popular musical comedies, notably The Sultan of Sulu, and fourteen equally popular, clever, lightweight plays for Broadway, the best being The Country Chairman in 1903, and The College Widow in 1904.

In 1904 Ade bought a 2400-acre estate at Brook, Indiana, named it "Hazelden" and it was there, forever after, he could work, play, and entertain lavishly. He continued writing fables, essays, newspaper and magazine articles, gave speeches and produced newsletters about his travels abroad. Ade was a political conservative, active in Republican politics and the Committee of One Hundred. He was a life-long supporter of Purdue and the Sigma Chi fraternity. Among his many activities was his presidency of the Mark Twain Association of America in the 1940s. In Miami, where he vacationed each winter, he enjoyed the same busy social life that he had in Indiana.

George Ade never married. He died in Indiana in 1944.


7.2 Linear Feet (12 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Correspondence, works, newspaper and magazine clippings, photographs, miscellaneous pictorial items and memorabilia documenting the literary and personal life of George Ade, Midwestern journalist, humorist and playwright, best known for his Chicago Record column, "Stories of the Streets and of the Town," and for his innumerable fables in slang.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence, 1890-1971
Box 1
Series 2: George Ade-Charles Fernald Material, 1921-1948
Box 2
Series 3: Works, 1881-1967
Boxes 3-7
Series 4: Miscellaneous, 1865-1968
Boxes 8-9
Series 5: Clippings, 1900-1970
Box 10
Series 6: Photographs, 1971-1944
Boxes 11-12
Series 7: Oversize
Box 13

Collection Stack Location

1 2 2, 1 16 1


Gift of William F. and Ardis Kurfess, 1971. Gift of the Union League Club of Chicago, 1972.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2004.


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.

Processing Information

This collection contains language or imagery that is offensive because of content relating to: ability, gender, race, religion, culture, sexuality/sexual orientation, or other categories. Library staff have retained the original material in order to present the collection in the context in which it was created and to facilitate historical research.

Inventory of the George Ade papers, 1865-1971
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