Guide to the John M. Maxwell Papers

Collection Title: John M. Maxwell Papers
Dates: 1916-1924
Identification: 075
Creator: Maxwell, John Milo, 1865-1929
Extent: 3 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The John M. Maxwell Papers consist primarily of drafts and revisions of Maxwell's book, The Man Behind the Mask, which ascribes authorship of William Shakespeare's plays and sonnets to Sir Robert Cecil or George Somers. Maxwell failed in his attempts to get his book published, even though Theodore Dreiser interceded with publishers on his behalf.
Acquisition Information: Most of the materials in this collection were donated in July 1953 to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University by Waldo P. Maxwell, the son of John M. Maxwell. These papers were transferred to the McCormick Library of Special Collections before 1969. All additional materials in box 3 were donated to the McCormick Library in August 2008 by Maxwell's granddaughter, Mrs. Audrey Ellingsworth, or researcher John Niemeyer.
Processing Information: Sigrid Pohl Perry processed the collection in April 2009.
Conditions Governing Access: There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.
Repository: Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections
Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL,
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/spec
Email: special.collections@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3635

Biographical/Historical Information

John Milo Maxwell (1865-1929) began his journalism career and friendship with Theodore Dreiser in 1892 while at the Chicago Globe and the Chicago Tribune. After World War I he returned to his home town to work for the Indianapolis Star and the Union. His most popular drama, The Killer, played on Broadway for three years. Maxwell began researching the issues surrounding Shakespearean authorship about 1908, publishing his first article on the topic in 1916. He completed the first portions of The Man Behind the Mask by 1918. Theodore Dreiser helped him in attempts to interest various publishers between 1919 and 1924, but none were successful.

Scope and Content

The John M. Maxwell Papers consist primarily of drafts and revisions of Maxwell's book, The Man Behind the Mask, which ascribes authorship of William Shakespeare's plays and sonnets to Sir Robert Cecil or George Somers. Maxwell failed in his attempts to get his book published, even though Theodore Dreiser interceded with publishers on his behalf. The five bound volumes of typescript (1916-1919) circulated to publishers. Loose pages (box 2) are from an undated later revision by Maxwell. The material donated by Mrs. Audrey Ellingsworth (box 3) is most likely an earlier revision by him. Photocopies of letters from Theodore Dreiser, James Whitcomb Riley, and John Maxwell which are retained by the family, and photocopies of published articles written by Maxwell, are included in the collection.

Subjects

Personal Name

Salisbury, Robert Cecil, Earl of, 1563-1612

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616

Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Authorship

Somers, George, Sir, 1554-1610


Container List / Contents

  • John M. Maxwell, The Man Behind the Mask, part I. April-October, 1916., 1919Box 1, Volume 1
      Scope and Contents: Pages i-viii, 1-295.
  • John M. Maxwell, The Man Behind the Mask, part II., 1919Box 1, Volume 2
      Scope and Contents: Pages i-iii, 1-278.
  • John M. Maxwell, The Man Behind the Mask, part III.Box 1, Volume 3
      Scope and Contents: Pages i-ii, 1-198.
  • John M. Maxwell, The Man Behind the Mask, part IV.Box 1, Volume 4
      Scope and Contents: Pages i-iii, 1-116, 1-96 [213pp. total].
  • John M. Maxwell, The Man Behind the Mask, part V.Box 1, Volume 5
      Scope and Contents: Pages i-ii, 1-137, Appendices [120pp.; 257pp. total]
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: The Secret Story of William ShakespeareBox 2, Folder 1
      Scope and Contents: pp. i-iii, 1-250.
  • Continuation of [The Man Behind the Mask]: The Secret Story of William ShakespeareBox 2, Folder 2
      Scope and Contents: pp. 251-502. Revision of bound volumes 1-2.
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: The Wheel Slips a NotchBox 2, Folder 3
      Scope and Contents: pp. 1-254 (lacking p. 95). Revision of bound volume 3.
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: The Understanding of the SonnetsBox 2, Folder 4
      Scope and Contents: pp. 255-474. Revision of bound volume 4.
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: Art this PartBox 2, Folder 5
      Scope and Contents: pp. 1-176E. Revision of bound volume 5.
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: Who Was the Singer?Box 3, Folder 1
      Scope and Contents: pp. 1-179. Probably antecedent draft to vol. 1, part I (pp. 1-502)
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: Who Was the Singer?:Box 3, Folder 2
      Scope and Contents: The Examination of the Candidates pp. 180-364
  • [The Man Behind the Mask]: Who Was the Singer?Box 3, Folder 3
      Scope and Contents: pp. 365-452
  • [[The Man Behind the Mask]: Who Was the Singer?Box 3, Folder 4
      Scope and Contents: pp. 453-549
  • Miscellaneous pages with revisions that duplicate pages in vol. 1, part IBox 3, Folder 5
      Scope and Contents: (pp. 1-502) [15]pp.
  • Articles (photocopies), 1916-1917Box 3, Folder 6
    • John M. Maxwell, “The Man Behind the Mask,” Indianapolis Star, 1916Box 3, Folder 6
    • John M. Maxwell, The Man Behind the Mask (Indianapolis: Harrington & Folger), 1916Box 3, Folder 6
    • B.F. Brown & Co.Box 3, Folder 6
        Note:  Printed solicitation for edition of Maxwell's book, The Man Behind the Mask, which was never published
  • "All's Well; or The Mirror Repolished" articles (copies), 1921Box 3, Folder 7
    • Editor's comments on Maxwell's theory, March 1921Box 3, Folder 7
        Note:  pp. 75-6
    • John M. Maxwell, “Sir George Somers None Other than the “faire friend”.”, April 1921Box 3, Folder 7
        Note:  pp. 100-107.
    • John M. Maxwell, “Who Juggled the Hamlet Letters and Why?”, May 1921Box 3, Folder 7
        Note:  pp. 124-134
  • John M. Maxwell, “Did Raleigh and Essex Identify Robert Cecil as Shakespeare?”Box 3, Folder 8
      Scope and Contents: 23pp., typescript of projected article for All's Well which was never published.
  • Correspondence (photocopies only), 1897-1930Box 3, Folder 9
      Scope and Contents: James Whitcomb Riley to John M. Maxwell (1897) Theodore Dreiser to John M. Maxwell (1919-1924) John M. Maxwell to Westminster Gazette (1921) John M. Maxwell to Henry Ellis (1924) Theodore Dreiser to Mrs. [Isabel Maxwell] Parry (1929) Theodore Dreiser to Waldo P. Maxwell (1930)
  • Published selections re: John M. Maxwell (photocopies)Box 3, Folder 10
      Scope and Contents: W.A. Swanberg, Dreiser (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1965), pp. 238-241, 246-247. Theodore Dreiser; American Diaries, 1902-1926 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1982), pp. 262-267, 417. Dreiser-Mencken Letters, vol. 2 (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986), pp. 350-351, 378-381, 398-399, 404-405.
  • Publicity re: "The Man Behind the Mask", 1921Box 3, Folder 11
      Scope and Contents: John M. Maxwell published letter to the editorial offices of the Indianapolis Star, March 25, 1921, 1p. John M. Maxwell, [incomplete overview or introduction to The Man Behind the Mask], 11pp., undated.
  • John M. Maxwell, “That Rock of Ages–Sweet Swan of Avon”Box 3, Folder 12
      Scope and Contents: 9pp. Maxwell argues that “Stratford” has been misidentified.
  • Miscellaneous John M. MaxwellBox 3, Folder 13
      Scope and Contents: [miscellaneous pages re: publication of Shakespeare's sonnets no. 80 and no. 142], 3pp.; plus miscellaneous fragment in Maxwell's hand, 1p.
  • Box FragmentsBox 3, Folder 14
      Scope and Contents: Fragments of original box holding Maxwell papers kept by Waldo P. Maxwell with annotations in his handwriting.
  • "John Milo Maxwell: The Man Behind the Mask," John F. Niemeyer, August 2008Box 3, Folder 15
      Scope and Contents: 6pp. with emails re: Maxwell research by John F. Niemeyer. Photocopies of correspondence between Jens Nyholm, Northwestern University Library, and W.P. Maxwell, 1953 (from Northwestern University Archives); copies of newspaper clippings related to John M. Maxwell (1929)