Booth Tarkington

Booth Tarkington
Booth Tarkington
Born July 29, 1869(1869-07-29)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Died May 19, 1946(1946-05-19) (aged 76)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.
Occupation Novelist/Dramatist

Booth Tarkington (July 29, 1869 – May 19, 1946) was an American novelist and dramatist best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. He is one of only three novelists (the others being William Faulkner and John Updike) to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction more than once.



Booth Tarkington was born Newton Booth Tarkington in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the son of John S. Tarkington and Elizabeth Booth Tarkington, and named after his maternal uncle Newton Booth, then the governor of California. Tarkington was also related to Chicago Mayor James Hutchinson Woodworth through his wife Almyra Booth Woodworth.

Tarkington first attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, but completed his secondary education at Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school on the East Coast.[1] Tarkington attended Purdue University for two years, where he was a member of the university's Morley Eating Club. Tarkington made substantial donations to Purdue for the building of an all-men's residence hall, which the university named Tarkington Hall, in his honor. Purdue awarded him an honorary doctorate.[2]

When a measure of his family's wealth returned after the Panic of 1873 his mother transferred Booth from Purdue to Princeton University. At Princeton, Tarkington was active as a student-actor and served as President of Princeton's Dramatic Association. The Dramatic Association became the "The Triangle Club". According to Triangle's official history,[3] Tarkington made his first acting appearance in the club's Shakespearean spoof Katherine. This was one of the first three productions in the Triangle's history that was written and produced by Princeton students. The Triangle tradition that Tarkington established for productions of students' plays remains to the present day. Tarkington returned to the Triangle stage as Cassius in the 1893 production The Honorable Julius Caesar. Tarkington gained prominence that year at Princeton as a co-author of the play. In addition to role as a founding member of The Triangle Club, he was also among the earliest members of the Ivy Club, the first of Princeton's historic Eating Clubs. He edited the Princeton's Nassau Literary Magazine. known more recently as The Nassau Lit. While an undergraduate he is known to have socialized with Woodrow Wilson, an associate graduate member of the Ivy Club. Wilson returned to Princeton as a member of the political science faculty shortly before Tarkington matriculated; they maintained contact throughout Wilson's life. Tarkington failed to earn his undergraduate degree, the A.B., due to a single missing course in the classics. Nevertheless, his place within campus society was already determined, and he was voted most popular by the class for 1893. In his adult life, he was asked to return to Princeton on two occasions for the conferral of two honorary degrees, an A.M. in 1899 and a Litt.D. in 1918. The conferral of more than one honorary degree on an alumnus(ae) of Princeton University remains a university record.

While Tarkington never earned a college degree, he was accorded many awards recognizing and honoring his skills and accomplishments as an author. He won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction twice, in 1919 and 1922, for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. In 1921 booksellers rated him "the most significant contemporary American author" in a poll conducted by Publishers' Weekly. He won the O. Henry Memorial Award in 1931 for this short story Cider of Normandy. His works appeared frequently on "best sellers'" lists throughout his life. In addition to his honorary doctorate from Purdue, and his honorary masters and doctorate from Princeton, Tarkington was awarded an honorary doctorate(s) from Columbia University, the administrator of the Pulitzer Prize, among other universities.

Many aspects of Tarkington's Princeton years and adult life were paralleled by the later life of another writer, fellow Princetonian F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Tarkington was an unabashed Midwestern regionalist, if somewhat of a world traveller, and set much of his fiction in his native Indiana. In 1902, he served one term in the Indiana House of Representatives as a Republican. Tarkington saw such public service as a responsibility of gentlemen in his socio-economic class, and consistent with his family's extensive record of public service. This experience provided the foundation for his book In the Arena: Stories of Political Life. While his service as an Indiana legislator was his only official public service position, remained politically conservative his entire life. He supported Prohibition, opposed FDR, and worked against FDR's New Deal.

One of the more popular American novelists of his time, his The Two Vanrevels and Mary's Neck appeared on the annual best-seller lists a total of nine times. The Penrod novels depict a typical upper-middle class American boy of 1910 vintage, revealing a fine, bookish sense of American humor. At one time, his Penrod series were as well known as Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Much of Tarkington's work consists of satirical and closely observed studies of the American class system and its foibles. He himself came from a patrician midwestern family that lost much of its wealth after the Panic of 1873 (it was after a measure of wealth returned that his mother transferred him to Princeton to complete his college education). Today, he is best known for his novel The Magnificent Ambersons, which Orson Welles filmed in 1942. It is included in the Modern Library's list of top-100 novels. The second volume in Tarkington's Growth trilogy, it contrasted the decline of the "old money" Amberson dynasty against the rise of "new money" industrial tycoons in the years between the American Civil War and World War I.

Tarkington dramatized several of his novels; some were eventually filmed. In 1928, he published a book of reminiscences, The World Does Move. He illustrated the books of others, including a 1933 reprint of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as his own. He took a close interest in fine art and collectibles, and was a trustee of the John Herron Art Museum. He also collaborated with Harry Leon Wilson to write three plays (see below).

Tarkington was married to Laurel Fletcher from 1902 until their divorce in 1911. Their only child, Laurel, was born in 1906 and died in 1923.[4] He married Susanah Keifer Robinson in 1912. They had no children.[5] Tarkington began losing his eyesight in the 1920s and was blind in his later years. He continued producing his works by dictating to a secretary.[4]

He maintained a home in his native Indiana at 4270 North Meridian in Indianapolis. From 1923 until his death.[1] Tarkington spent summers and then much of his later life in Kennebunkport, Maine at his much loved home, Seawood. In Kennebunkport he has well known as a sailor, and his schooner, the Regina, survived him. Regina was moored next to Tarkington's boathouse, The Floats which he also used as his studio. His extensively renovated studio is now the Kennebunkport Maritime Museum. It was from his home in Maine that he and his wife Susannah established their relation with nearby Colby College.

Tarkington made a gift of some his papers to Princeton University, his alma mater, and his wife Susannah, who survived him by over twenty years, made a separate gift of his remaining papers to Colby College after his death. Purdue University's library holds and showcases many of his works in their Special Collection's Indiana Collection. Indianapolis commemorates his impact on literature and the theatre, and his contributions as a midwesterner and "son of Indiana" in the form of its Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre. He is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.[6]


Julia; frontispiece of a 1922 New York publication of Gentle Julia, by Booth Tarkington
  • The Gentleman from Indiana (1899)
  • Monsieur Beaucaire 1900; later adapted as a play, an operetta and two films: 1924 and 1946
  • Old Grey Eagle (1901)
  • Cherry (1901 - January, February Harper's Magazine) (1903 - book)
  • The Two Vanrevels (1902)
  • Poe's Run: and other poems . . to which is appended the book of the chronicles of the Elis (1904) - co-author, with M'Cready Sykes
  • In the Arena: Stories of Political Life (1905)
  • The Beautiful Lady (1905)
  • The Conquest of Canaan (1905)
  • The Guest of Quesnay (1907)
  • His Own People (1907)
  • The Man from Home (1908) - stage play co-written with Harry Leon Wilson
  • Beasley's Christmas Party (1909)
  • Your Humble Servant (1910) - stage play co-written with Harry Leon Wilson
  • Beauty and the Jacobin, an Interlude of the French Revolution (1912)
  • The Flirt (1913)
  • Penrod (1914)
  • The Turmoil (1915) (first volume of the trilogy Growth)
  • Penrod and Sam (1916)
  • Seventeen (1916)
  • The Spring Concert (1916)
  • The Rich Man's War (1917)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (1918; won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize; filmed 1941 by Orson Welles, remade for TV in 2002; second volume of the trilogy Growth)
  • The Gibson Upright (1919) - stage play co-written with Harry Leon Wilson
  • Ramsey Mulholland (1919)
  • War Stories (1919) - one of Tarkington's stories was included in this anthology
  • The Country Cousins: A Comedy in Four Acts (1921) - stage play
  • Clarence: A Comedy in Four Acts (1921) - stage play
  • Harlequin and Columbine (1921)
  • Alice Adams (1921; won the 1922 Pulitzer Prize; filmed 1923 and 1935)
  • The Intimate Strangers: A Comedy in Three Acts (1921) - stage play
  • Gentle Julia (1922)
  • The Wren: A Comedy in Three Acts (1922) - stage play
  • The Ghost Story (1922)
  • The Midlander (1924) (1927 re-titled National Avenue; third volume of the trilogy Growth)
  • Women (1925)
  • Looking Forward, and Others, consisting of "Looking Forward to the Great Adventure", "Nipskillions", "The Hopeful Pessimist", "Stars in the Dust-heap", "The Golden Age", and "Happiness Now" (1926)
  • The Plutocrat (1927)
  • Claire Ambler (1928)
  • The World Does Move (1928)
  • Penrod Jashber (1929)
  • Mirthful Haven (1930)
  • Mary's Neck (1932)
  • Presenting Lily Mars (1933) (filmed 1943)
  • Rumbin Galleries (1934) Romantic novel
  • Little Orvie (1934)
  • Horse and Buggy Days (1936) Cosmopolitan Magazine, September 1936
  • Some Old Portraits (1939) - essays on 17th century artworks
  • The Fighting Littles (1941)
  • The Heritage of Hatcher Ide (1941)
  • Kate Fennigate (1943)
  • Image of Josephine (1945)
  • The Show Piece (1947)


  1. ^ a b Price, Nelson (2004). Indianapolis Then & Now. San Diego, California: Thunder Bay Press. pp. 122. ISBN 1-59223-208-6. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b ""
  5. ^
  6. ^ http://""


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Booth Tarkington — (um 1910) Newton Booth Tarkington (* 29. Juli 1869 in Indianapolis, Indiana; † 19. Mai 1946 ebenda) war ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Booth Tarkington — Nom de naissance Newton Booth Tarkington Activités Écrivain Naissance 29 juillet 1869 Décès 19 mai 1946 Langue d écriture anglais Distinctions …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Booth Tarkington — Newton Booth Tarkington (n. 29 de julio de 1869, Indianápolis, Indiana, Estados Unidos m. 19 de mayo de 1946, Indianápolis), novelista y dramaturgo estadounidense. Famoso por sus conceptualizaciones satíricas y algunas veces románticas de las… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Booth Tarkington — Felicidad Atesora tus instantes de dicha; serán excelente almohada para tu vejez …   Diccionario de citas

  • Tarkington — is a name, which was used by the Vikings, an ancient Scandinavian people who migrated to England and then to the U.S.. They settled in Maryland, then Virginia, and later moved to Tyrrell County, North Carolina. Later they migirated to Texas and… …   Wikipedia

  • Booth — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Booth puede referirse a: Contenido 1 Personas 1.1 Botánicos 2 Arte 3 Lugares …   Wikipedia Español

  • Booth — may refer to:In architecture:*Isolation booth, device used to prevent a person or people from seeing or hearing certain events *Photo booth, vending machine or modern kiosk which contains an automated, usually coin operated, camera and film… …   Wikipedia

  • Tarkington, Booth — (1869 1946)    Best known for his novels, Newton Booth Tarkington, born in Indianapolis, Indiana, also wrote plays and some of his novels were adapted for the stage. Twenty one Tarkington plays were produced, and he was viewed as a romantic with… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Tarkington, (Newton) Booth — (29 jul. 1869, Indianápolis, Ind.,EE.UU.–19 may. 1946, Indianápolis). Novelista y dramaturgo estadounidense. Se le conoce por retratar con tintes satíricos, humorísticos y en ocasiones sentimentales a los habitantes del medio Oeste estadounidense …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Booth — Booth, William * * * (as used in expressions) Booth, Edwin (Thomas) Booth, John Wilkes Booth, William Tarkington, (Newton) Booth …   Enciclopedia Universal