Manuscript Group 1137, William Hamilton Osborne (1873 – 1942), Author, Lawyer, Papers, 1902 – 1937
Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
1137. OSBORNE, WILLIAM HAMILTON (1873-1942), author, lawyer.
Papers, 1902 – 1937. 4 1/2 ft.
A native of Newark, N.J., Osborne studied law at Columbia
University Law School, began to practice as an attorney in the
1890s and subsequently served as counsel for the Authors League
of America. Osborne began his literary career in 1902 by
writing short stories for such magazines as Harpers Monthly
Magazine, McClures, the Saturday Evening Post
and many others. The collection includes numerous manuscripts,
galley proofs, and published versions of Osborne’s novels, plays,
motion picture scripts, essays and short fiction ranging from
love stories to detective tales written between 1902-1937. The
correspondence in the collection consists primarily of business
letters between Osborne and his publishers. A detailed inventory
Gift of Mrs. William H. Osborne, 1980.
N.J. Jan. 7, 1873. Parents, Joseph P. and Kate Hamilton
Osborne, both natives of N.J. Educated at public schools in
Newark; graduated 1890 from Newark High School. Studied law
at Columbia University Law School under Theodore W. Dwight
1890-1891; later at New York Law School 1892-1893, including post
graduate course. LL.B.N.Y. Law School 1892. Admitted
as attorney and counselor at law New York bar March 1894;
admitted as attorney at law N.J. bar Nov. 1894, counselor Nov.
1897. Special Master and examiner in Chancery. N.Y.
office, 120, N.Y. City. Member of N.J. law firm Osborne
& Astley, office 800 Broad St. Newark, N.J.
Since 1902 short story contributor to many
magazines, including harpers Monthly Magazine, harpers Weekly,
McClures, Saturday Evening Post, etc. etc. Author of
Novels, Red Mouse, published Dodd, Mead & Co. 1909, Running
Fight, 1910, Catspaw, 1911, Blue Buckle, 1913, Boomerang, 1915.
Also author 1915 of original motion picture serial Neal of
the Navy, produced by Pathe. Occasional contributor
to legal magazines and weeklies upon legal subjects.
Member Washington Association of N.J. Member
of Executive Committee of Authors League of America.
Politics – regular Republican. Church
– North Reformed, Newark.
Married at Rockaway N.J. June 1, 1898, Lydia
Gelston Spring of Newark, N.J. Children, William Hamilton
O. Jr., and Frederick Spring O.
Residence 213 Highland Avenue, Newark, N.J.
213 Highland Ave., Newark, N.J. Dec. 30, 1915.
N.J. Historical Society,
Attention of Miss. Johnson.
My dear Miss Johnson: –
Pursuant to your very kind request for sketch of myself, I
enclose one which I have made as brief as possible. It is
not necessary to acknowledge receipt.
I am much flattered by the request – it is difficult for me
to understand how my career can be of any interest to an
Wm. H. Osborne
William Hamilton Osborne.
213 Highland Ave.
N.B. William Hamilton Osborne died
December 25, 1942.
Scope and Content Note
This collection is arranged alphabetically,
first by series title, then by content of folder. The
correspondence folders, however, are arranged chronologically.
In several instances two copies of a manuscript are included in a
folder, eiher because the original copy is damaged or because
two copies of the same story differ slightly in content. Published
versions of Osbornes work have been reproduced on acid free
paper to insure their long term preservation.
Osbornes correspondence spans the
years of his literary career – from 1902 to 1937, five years
before his death. The letters deal chiefly with his career
as an author and provide little insight into other aspects of his
life. William Hamilton Osborne wrote novels, plays, motion
picture scripts, essays, and short stories ranging form love
stories to detective tales. This collection includes
numerous manuscripts from each of these categories.
Students of popular American fiction will
find this collection especially useful inasmuch as it may serve
to assess the nature of American reading tastes in the early
twentieth century. In addition, researchers interested in
matters concerning local color will also find the William
Hamilton Osborne papers valuable. Most of Osbornes
stories are set in the New York-New Jersey area during the early
part of the twentieth century. He occasionally refers to
local institutions, such as the Crazy Jane Society of Morristown.
He also draws upon his professional experiences as a lawyer for
subject matter. The dialogue is realistic and contemporary
with his times. According to newspaper clippings his
stories were well received by critics, who described them as
having sound plots with swift action. Some of his
contemporaries, however, commented that he wrote typical
detective stories, followed the laws of romance, and used too
Approx. 80 items.
primarily of literary correspondence between Osborn and
publishers. Included in this group is a record of payments
to Osborne for his stories.
Approx. 35 items.
correspondence, including two letters from lawyers praising
The Running Fight.
Approx. 55 items.
discussion of The Running Fihgt and Neal of the
Navy, a few letters from editors rejecting a manuscript,
and letters discussing contracts. One letter addressed
To Whom It May Concern certifies that Osborne is a
lawyer in Good standing.
Approx. 87 items.
from the American Defense Society, the Vigilantes, the Authors
League of America, and a request for Osbornes biography for
the New Jerseys First Citizens publication.
Approx. 15 items.
Contains a revised
synopsis of a story, an item labeled Editorial Correspondence,
and a letter from the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences,
requesting Osborne to speak to a group of students on the art of
story writing – a list of questions is included.
Essays and Nonfiction material. 12 items.
– Can Our children trust us?
A pro-World War I essay.
– The Nan of the Sixth of September
A tribute to Lafayette.
– Murders and Movies
On how every author acts as his own lawyer.
– Newark Moot Court Society
Brief of the Defendants Counsel – Riggs against
– A proposed radio talk on the practical side of storytelling
– The Situation in Seattle
About the Seattle shipbuilding industry. – 2 copies.
– The Slaughter of Innocents
A discussion of divorce laws in the U.S.
– A Study in Crime
Based on the actual case of The People against Pietro Giannone.
– Your Landlord and Your Lease
– An Autobiography
– Untitled travel guide to Canada, British Columbia, and Northern
Approx. 12 items
– Conquest of New York
– Every Soldier His Own Lawyer – an 8 part
– The Gratitude of Olga – published 1905.
– The Story of Debvoise – published 1904.
– The Thoroughbred
Legal Transactions, 1910-1917
– Contract witht eh publisher for Catspaw –
– Rights to The House of a Thousand Scandals –
– Unsigned agreement between Osborne and Richard R. Seill Jr.,
Neil of the Navy – 1915.
– Agreement between Osborne and Pathe Freres – 1915.
– Agreement with Richard Neill Jr. discussing payments –
– Agreements between Osborne and Small, Maynard & Co.
to make Your Will – 1917.
– Contract with David Perkins concerning the royalties for The
– A certificate naming Osborne as Examiner in the Chancery of New
June 17, 1913.
– Certificate appointing Osborne as Special Master for Essex
– Pamphlet listing prominent contributors to Success Magazine.
– Contract between the Broadway Play Producers, Inc. and Alice
concerning her play – James j. Mulholland and Wife.
– A Library of Congress card acknowledging the copyright of one
– Miscellaneous notes and two copies of notices rejecting
– A sketch of Osborne for a magazine.
– 1913 copyright for Green Eyes
– 1909 copyright for An Elopement
– 1908 copyright for Standing Room Only
– November 1894 certificate stating that Osborne has become an
Counselor at Law.
– 2 Newsletters titled: The Farmers Non-Partisan
League and Flushing
the New Fourth.
Newspaper clippings, ads, reviews for The Red Mouse
and Neil of the
– 17 items.
Newspaper clippings, ads, and reviews for The Running
The Blue Buckle, Catspaw, Boomerang.
Approx. 52 items.
Includes pictures of a play, a playbill naming the cast of
performers, a typed advertisement by Osborne.
Newspaper copies and manuscript copy of the series – Modern
At Close Range.
10 items. Manuscript copies includes
sections 3, 4, and
5 of series.
Miscellaneous Newspaper clippings and ads for plays. 22
biographical articles about Osborne as a lawyer and author.
A review of an actor in the play The Running Fight.
An article on the Republican platform in 1916. An ad for
Lake Placid news. Pages 5-8 of the Newark News – 1903.
Newspaper articles that need repair.
Consist of biographical articles on Osborne and other authors.
Novel and Synopsis
Standing Alibi of H. Stainleigh Storme.
Taint In the Blood.
Barbed Wire Entanglements
Just A Step Too Far
The Akoond of Swat
Brand From The Burning
2 copies of the Cat and The Canary.
An Elopement – 1909
Hearts Sincere – the 4 individual acts.
Approx. 11 items.
Neal of the Navy – 1915 Motion Picture Script
Nick Carters Son
Attached to plays are letters and Osbornes notes.
Plays P & S
Approx. 5 items.
The Paymasters Wife
The Poor Relations – 1910
South Dakota – 2 copies
Standing Room Only – 1908
Scenarios for plays and motion pictures.
Approx. 22 items.
Clang of Cavalry
The Fortunes of John Storme
Hitting the Rainbow Trail (Part I & II) – 1918
Huckleback, the housemover
The Lucky Loaf
Nancy Lee of Annapolis (2 copies)
The Passion Paramount
Pretty Polly – 1915
A Rollicking Ramble
The Room With The Red Rug
The Runaway Girl – 1916
Sairey Gamp – 1915
Secret of the Purple Powder
Secret of the Red Room
The Spiders Web
2 untitled pieces
Short Stories A-B
After Bigger Game
Alias Louis Vardon
All Roads Lead to Rome (part 3)
An Amazing Indiscretion
At the Café Thermidor
The Bishop of the Street
The Bookworm and the Bully
The Bottom Rung
A Brand From the Burning
Short Stories – C
The Cake of Scented Soap
Camp Followers – 1916
The Car that Found Itself
Casting the First Stone
The Cleverness of Covingtons Client
The Coming of the Magnet
Corrupting Mrs. Carnaby
The Counterfeit Corot
Short Stories D- E
The Dangerous Mrs. Deane
Dash of Spice
Decoy (2 copies)
Diamond in the Sky
or Matter of a Wrist Watch
Playing with Dynamite
Ear of Ellenbogen
Effective War Machine
Elbow Touch on Mortgage Hill
of a Gamester
There are also
notes and 1 letter attached to An Effective War
Short Stories F-I
The Fatty Forbes Foundation
The Fewer the Higher
The Fire Bug
Fondness For Peanuts
Far Shorty Cullens Kids
Half a Carat Less
The Haunted Corridor
A Hot-Bed of Ices
Houseboat Mystery – 1915
If you See It On the Screen, Its So
Improvidence or the Rainey Day
Infamous Inoculation – 1918
Short Stories J-L
Jilted (2 copies)
Jim Cradlebaugh, Headliner
a Step Too Far
Just One moment, Please
A Kick in the Shin Bone
Kow Tow de Luxe
The Lady With The Black Eye
Chap from Nowhere
of Lucille Lorraine
letter attached to Just a Step Too Far.
Short Stories M-O
The Magic Motor Horn
With the Husky Voice
Manly art of Self Offense (2 copies)
Carver Comes to Town – with 1918 letter attatched.
of a Name
Hundred and One Broadway
Outrage or So – 1917
Short Stories P
Passing of Peter
Grimwood Goes to War
Poor Fish – 1910
Professor and the Plainclothes Man
Short Stories R
Rat Fit of Yakima Way
Right Eye of Cardamon
Risk of Chance Acquaintance
Closed – Detour – 1921
R.P.& Q. Train Robbery
Rush to Cover
Short Stories S
Out of Court
Help Me God
Sole Survivor – 1916
Strange Case fo Chaloner
Conduct of a Shadowed Bird
Short Stories T-V
The Till Tapper
Tin of Poisoned
To Save His Face
Tracked To Its
Troop Train –
The Trouble Hunter
A Turn of the
Wrist (2 copies) – 1920
Unusual Event In
Vive Le Sabot
Short Stories W-Z
– A Policeman (2 copies)
Watermelon Feast At Firefly
the Wizard of Crooked Craig
Woman From Wingate Street
For the Average Man – 1918
of Castaway Cove
Stories By Gelston Spring
3 pages of The
Defeat of Johnny Ougheltree
The Elixir of
The Garden of My
Absence From the Fair
The House of
Material by other Authors
Play – The
Running Fight, based on Osbornes Novel, by Louis
Play – A Businessman by Lee Arthur.
attached to 1 act play Doctor Felsbergs Patient
Untitled manuscript by Phil Norton.
Untitled novel with missing pages
Untitled novel with missing pages
Untitled novel with missing pages
Miscellaneous stories with missing pages
include: Stairs, Moonshine, Road Closed – Detour, The
Traitor and the King, Two Faced Flossie, What Every Young Man
Wants, and Go to the Spruce, Thou Laggard.
Published magazine Articles, 1904-1926
of these stories are not found in any of the preceding
n.d. (2 copies)
The Taint O
The Leg, n.d.
Photograph and the Millionaire, Saturday Evening
Jan. 9, 1904.
Tewlegger and the Mastodon, The American Home
Deal in Gun Barrels, Leslies Weekly, March 25,
Fight and Victory, Illustrated Sunday Magazine,
Eye-Opener, Sunset, Sept. 1913.
Boudoir Scene, Sunset, March, 1914.
Gascoyne, Illustrated Sunday Magazine, August
and Half, The Blue Book Magazine, Nov. 1915.
Fools and a Frolic, Pictorial Review, Sept.
Stroheim Stethoscope, The Munsey Magazine,
Sole Survivor, Colliers, May 27, 1916.
The Scheme of Sutcliffe, Swindler, McClures
Magazine, April, 1903,
Pound Losers and Pound Keepers, Frank Leslies
1903, pp. 97-99.
Bullock Jr. and the Octopus, McClures
Magazine, October, 1903, pp.
The Alarm of Angelone, Everybodys
Magazine, October, 1905, pp.
The Jilting of Genevieve, Woman, December,
1906, pp. 369-384.
Squeezing the Lemon, The New Broadway
Giannones Girl, Lippincotts Monthly
Magazine, December, 1909, pp.
Press notices concerning William Hamilton Osborne Bookman,
Bookman Advertiser, n.d.
Neal of the Navy, 1915.
Sairey Gamp, 1915
A Pair of Green Spectacles, Case and Comment: The
June 1915, pp. 55-62.
Re. Neal of the Navy, from Moving Picture World,
June 26, 1915, pp.
Mrs. Archibalds Emeralds, Munseys
Magazine, May, 1917, pp. 677-
An Outrage or So, The Black Cat: Clever
Short Stories, November,
Seattles Secret, The Pioneer
(March, 1918, San Francisco), II, no. 12;
Spirit (March 21, 1918), II.
Infamous Inoculation, Saturday Evening Post, March
The Troop Train, Saturday Evening Post, May
Camp Follower, Snappy Stories, April 18, 1919,
On the Sly, Saturday Evening Post, Sept. 6,
The Final Chuckle, Peoples, December
1919, pp. 7-14.
An Amazing Indiscretion, Metropolitan, May
Seeing Things Again, Saturday Evening Post,
May 8, 1920.
A Rush To Cover, Saturday Evening Post, May 15,
Handsomely Trimmed, Saturday Evening Post,
August 21, 1920.
A Turn of the Wrist, Saturday Evening Post,
September 4, 1920.
Swift Work, Saturday Evening Post, November
Road Closed – Detour, Chicago Sunday Tribune,
October 16, 1921.
The Stroheim Stethoscope, Munseys Magazine,