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Walter Bernard Scott (1906-1980) Papers

Identifier: 20/29

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Scope and Contents

Note:The Walter B. Scott Papers include the original 12-box series and several additions, for a total of 17 boxes and one oversize folder.  Each addition to the series is described separately.

Description of the Series, Boxes 1-12

The first twelve boxes of the Walter B. Scott Papers span the years 1906 through 1980 and are organized into the following categories: biographical materials, correspondence, publications and reviews, lectures, translations, parodies, research notes, and teaching materials.

A small amount of biographical materials include curricula vitae, clippings, programs, and related materials, as well as records pertaining to Scott's Fulbright professorships, overseas travel, and his participation on the advisory committee for the University of Chicago's Celebration of Chicago Comedy.

Correspondence (incoming correspondence, and copies of outgoing letters), fills about one box and is comprised of both subject and general correspondence. Subject correspondence, between Scott and his close friends, is largely of a social nature and frequently includes Scott's shorter parodies and humorous writings and commentaries. Several folders of general correspondence follow. The general correspondence documents Scott's social and professional concerns.

Scott's publications, here comprise a handful of brief articles and parodies. A small number of unpublished reviews follow in a separate series.

Lectures, mainly relating to the theatre and specific dramatic works, are followed by a few folders of Scott's translations.

Parodies fill nearly one box and are among the most important materials within the Papers. Touching on a wide range of topics and written both for publication and private circulation, Scott's parodies were highly acclaimed by colleagues and critics. A folder of Scott's sketches and drawings is filed after the parodies.

A small amount of research notes is arranged topically into folders.

Teaching materials form the bulk of the Papers and are arranged into course materials, graduate teaching files, and lecture notes. The course materials include syllabi, examinations, outlines, reading notes and, occasionally, student papers and grades. Graduate teaching files are comprised of examinations, notes on dissertations, some correspondence pertaining to individual students, and bibliographies. Lecture notes center on drama and theatre history and document Scott's research and teaching interests.

Oversize materials include a drawing and a tribute to Northwestern's Dean Simeon E. Leland.

Addition to Box 12:

A photocopied pre-publication version of Walter B. Scott's Parodies, Etcetera & So Forth (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1985) has been separated from University Archives accession X185-92) and added to the series. This book appeared originally under the title Chicago Letter & Other Parodies (Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1978).

Additions, Box 13:

This addition consists of one half box of correspondence between Scott and Samuel and Ruthie Bogorad and between Scott and Wallace D. Douglas, as well as a number of Scott’s Gilhooley parodies.

A few items of correspondence between Scott and Josephine and Harrison Hayford from 1944 have been added to Box 1, Folder 14 of the original series.  Also, several of Scott’s parodies have been filed at Box 4, Folders 5 and 7.  Finally, a few items were added to the folder entitled "Finnegan’s Wake Club," Box 3, Folder 26.

Additions, Box 14:

Scott's undated lecture note-cards concerning drama and playwrights are arranged in this half-size box.

Additions, Boxes 15-16

This addition consists of one full and one half-size box spanning the dates 1953 to 1980. The bulk of the addition consists of Scott’s outgoing correspondence, given to Elizabeth Scott by the recipients after her husband’s death.  Most of the letters are from Scott to David and Ellie DuVivier. The letters to the DuViviers fill five folders and span the years 1953-1980; the last one is dated March 7, the week before Scott died. Many of the envelopes, with annotations as to their contents, have been retained. DuVivier, a lawyer, graduated from Princeton in 1932, when Scott was working on his M.A. there. The correspondence follows DuVivier from his New York law firm to Europe, where he joined the Paris firm of Coudert Brothers in 1961, and back to Princeton, where he retired. The content is mostly social, but includes extensive ruminations on literature, U.S. politics, and Evanston, as well as a large quantity of clippings and other enclosures. (For additional correspondence between Scott and the DuViviers, see Box 1, Folders 6-7.)

Box 16 is comprised of other correspondence, parodies, papers, and fragments.  Folder 1 contains general correspondence from 1953-1980, most of it social, but also including a 1980 letter to William Safire’s "On Language" column in The New York Times Magazine and a 1979 letter to the editor in response to a Times piece on Milledgeville, Georgia, where Scott’s mother grew up. Folder 2 contains fragments of correspondence and numerous annotated clippings, most of them undated. Folder 3 contains a lecture delivered in 1972 at the Caxton Club and Folder 4 holds an undated paper Scott wrote while on a teaching fellowship at New York University, in 1929 or 1930.  Folder 5 includes several parodies, many of them short and undated.

Additions, Box 17

This addition to the Walter B. Scott Papers fills one legal-size box and spans the years 1906 to 2002.  The addition includes correspondence, copies of Scott’s parodies, drawings and watercolors by Scott, and biographical materials and correspondence relating to his wife, Elizabeth Franklin Scott.

Correspondence includes both incoming and outgoing correspondence.  One folder contains family letters from Scott’s mother to her son and his wife; and one folder contains postcards that Scott sent to his close friends, David and Ellie DuVivier.  (Note that there is much additional correspondence with the DuViviers in Box 1 and  Box 16.)  Materials in the Parodies folders include a sampler of Scott’s work compiled to honor his sixtieth birthday in 1967 and a folder of miscellaneous items that Scott found humorous and may have saved as inspiration for parodies.  One folder of drawings and two folders of watercolors document Scott’s talent as an artist and his lifelong interest in the arts.  The materials relating to Elizabeth Scott include a few biographical materials, including obituaries and memorials service programs. A 1930 yearbook from the Eastman School of Music does not seem to include a photograph of her, but many autographs of her friends appear throughout the volume.  One folder contains Elizabeth Scott’s correspondence, including letters from her husband.

Note: Some biographical materials relating to Walter B. Scott were added to Box 1, Folder 1.


  • 1906-2002


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is stored off-site and requires two business days advance notice for retrieval. Please contact the McCormick Library at or 847-491-3635 for more information or to schedule an appointment to view the collection.


18.00 Boxes

Language of Materials



Teacher, critic, and parodist Walter B. Scott taught Dramatic Literature in Northwestern's School of Speech (now the School of Communication) from 1939-1976. His Papers document his life, teaching career, and writings. A highlight of the collection is Scott's engagement with a vibrant group of colleagues.


The original donation of the papers of Walter B. Scott are arranged into: biographical materials (in chronological groupings); correspondence (some arranged by correspondent and date; general correspondence arranged by date); publications (in alphabetical order); reviews (unpublished; in alphabetical order); lectures (in alphabetical order); translations (in alphabetical order); parodies (arranged by both format and topic); research notes; teaching materials (course materials, arranged by course); graduate teaching files, lecture notes, arranged by course); oversize materials.

The additions consist of the same types of materials. Some materials from the additionsl have been incorporated into similar materials in the original donation, but most are housed in a boxes 13-17.

Method of Acquisition

Boxes 1-12: The University Archives acquired the Walter B. Scott Papers from Mrs. Elizabeth Scott, Gerald Graff, and Jay Aronson in four accessions between 1980 and 1982 (Accession #80-132, #81-200, #81-225, and #82-4).

Box 13: The materials in this addition were separated from the papers of Harrison Hayford, donated to the University Archives as Accession #98-90

Box 14: Harrison Hayford donated these materials to the University Archives on November 8, 1990 (Accession #90-178).

Boxes 15-16: This addition to the Walter B. Scott Papers was donated to the University Archives by Elizabeth Scott on August 8, 1996 as Accession #96-128.

Box 17: The materials in this accession were transferred to the University Archives by Sheppard Shanley, Associate Director of Admissions, on June 29, 2004 as Accession #04-87.  In addition, three pages of biographical materials relating to Elizabeth Scott were added  from the Archives’ Faculty Biographical Files.

Guide to the Walter Bernard Scott (1906-1980) Papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Library Details

Part of the Northwestern University Archives Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US