Guide to the Marion Meade Buster Keaton Research Files

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1895-1997
Creator: Meade, Marion
Extent: 10.00 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0512
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Research material compiled by Meade while writing the biography Buster Keaton Cut to the Case.

Administrative Information

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs: Box 15; Film/Video: Box 21; Audio Material: Boxes 19, 20; CDs: Box 20

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Marion Meade.

Preferred Citation: Marion Meade Buster Keaton Research Files, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Biographical Note

Marion Meade's previous biography subjects include Eleanor of Acquitane, Madame Blavatsky, Victoria Woodhull, Dorothy Parker, and Buster Keaton. (The Special Collections Department also has the research files for Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase.) Meade studied at Northwestern University and holds a Master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has contributed articles to The New York Times and The Village Voice, in addition to writing two novels. She lives in New York City.

Content Description

Biographer Marion Meade undertook to write a biography of Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton for publication timed to coincide with the centenary of the film star's birth in 1895. Meade researched the book for four years, interviewing some 200 people who had known or worked with Keaton, gathered published and unpublished photographs, and worked with Keaton collector Jack Dragga to compile a definitive filmography. The result of her work, Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase, was published by Harper Collins Publishers in 1995. It is an excellent introduction to the present collection, which consists of Meade's research files. They have been organized as follows:

Series 1: Subject files, Child abuse to Research sources, files on individuals. Folders include photocopies, clippings, correspondence, notes, fragments of transcribed interviews. Boxes 1 -- 6.

Series 2: Materials relating to persons interviewed. Boxes 7 -- 8. B. Keaton friends and family interviewed. Box 8. C. Miscellaneous. Box 8 .

Series 3: Correspondence with Keaton researchers/writers. Box 9. B. Correspondence with others who knew or met Keaton. Box 10.

Series 4: Chronological log notebook [of Keaton's life], 1895 to Posthumous; Files 1895 to 1966 [with notes and references]. Boxes 10 -- 14.

Series 5: Publication materials for Cut to the Chase: correspondence: photo selections; book production files; reviews; letters received following publication. Box 15.

Series 6: Meade's original typescript, pages [4] + 1 -- 702, 710 -- 795 (Box 16), and a later version with editorial marks indicating revisions and deletions (Box 17); Meade estimates that 40% if the manuscript was cut before publication. An uncorrected proof and copies of the US, UK and trade paperback editions have been cataloged to the "x" collection.
Also typescripts from Kevin Brownlow, Joel Goss, Alan Hoffman, and Jason Scott. Boxes 17 -- 18.

Series 7: Tape recordings of Meade's interviews. Boxes 19 -- 20.

Series 8: Books about Keaton; Keaton videos. Box 21.

The folder titles in this inventory are in nearly all cases taken directly from Meade's folder labels.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Browse by Series:


This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Keaton, Buster, 1895-1966

Motion picture actors and actresses

Genre/Form of Materials:
Drafts (Documents)
Motion pictures
Video recordings

Film & Television Writing and Directing
English & American Literature
Writers Archive at Iowa
Prose Writers
Study of Theatre Arts and Popular Culture