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.