Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Burt, Maxwell Struthers, 1882-1954
Struthers Burt Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1845-1957 (mostly 1911-1954)
33 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-33


Struthers Burt was a noted poet, prose writer and rancher in the first half of the twentieth century. The collection includes various copies of some of Burt's own works, correspondence with family and friends from his days at Princeton University, and assorted materials about his family and genealogy.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of manuscripts, typescripts, and proofs of some books ( Along These Streets (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1942), The Delectable Mountains (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927), Diary of a Dude-Wrangler (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1924), Ink & Blood (NY: The Heritage Press, 1946), Philadelphia: Holy Experiment (NY: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1945), Powder River: Let 'Er Buck (NY: Farrar & Rinehart Inc., 1938)), plays, short stories, essays, and poems ( War Songs (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1942), When I Grew Up To Middle Age (NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925)) of Burt (Class of 1904), as well as notebooks containing his ideas for stories, novels, and articles. The collection also includes correspondence from editors, friends, and associates, notably Max Perkins, James Boyd, and other Princetonians, and signed copies of an author's manifesto, written by Burt in 1941 and circulated to well-known American authors, urging U.S. aid to England. The main family members represented in the correspondence are Julia Burt, Nathaniel Burt, Katharine Newlin Burt, and Alice Burt Riley.

Among various documents in the collection are wills, contracts, awards, and approximately 100 photographs (ranging in size from 25x20 cm. to 5x8 cm. and representing a number of print processes including albumen and silver gelatin prints as well as one daguerreotype) and 15 negatives of Burt and his family, as well as genealogical material about the Burt, Farmer, and Lehman families, mainly gathered by Mary Theodora Burt. A large sheet featuring the portraits of a number of Native Americans is also present. The collection also houses three boxes of tear sheets and magazines, some of Katharine Newlin Burt's manuscripts, typescripts (mainly of her short stories), and notebooks, plus small collections of the papers of Jean Brooke Burt, Nathaniel Burt, and others. Included is a reverse glass painting of William Onderdonk, a family member.

Collection Creator Biography:

Burt, Maxwell Struthers, 1882-1954

[Maxwell] Struthers Burt (1882-1954), author, dude rancher, poet, was the patriarch of an American literary family. Burt married Katharine Newlin, whom he had met while studying at Oxford, in 1912. While living in Wyoming, both took up writing and both become very successful, penning short stories, novels, screenplays, poetry, and nonfiction. Much of their work was based on their experiences in the vast wilderness of the West. Their first child, Nathaniel Burt (Class of 1936), was born in 1913 and also became a well-known writer.

While living in Wyoming, Burt was a dude wrangler on the Bar BC Ranch, which he had co-founded in 1912; these experiences led to perhaps his most famous book The Diary of a Dude Wrangler , published by Scribner's-Burt's main house-in 1924.

Burt wrote short stories prolifically through the 1920s, authoring 37 different tales, most published in high-class fiction and poetry magazines like Scribner's , Collier's , or The Saturday Evening Post . As he grew older, Burt shifted his writing towards novels, critical pieces, and "subjective histories", including Malice in Blunderland , Philadelphia, Holy Experiment , and Powder River; Let 'er Buck .

In the late 1920s Burt grew tired of an active dude ranch, and wanted a quieter place in which to write. In 1929 he bought two old ranches, merged them, and formed the Three Rivers Ranch, a Burt family retreat for the next half century.

Despite local opposition, Burt supported the establishment of a national park in the Jackson Hole/Teton Mountain area. Burt helped enlist the financial backing of John D. Rockefeller and his Snake River Land Co., which made the Grand Teton National Park a reality. Burt agreed to sell the Three Rivers Ranch to Rockefeller (who would later give the land to the government) at cost, in exchange for a 50-year lease on that property. The Three Rivers Ranch is now part of Grand Teton Park, having reverted to the Park Service in 1980.

Although raised a Philadelphian, Burt spent much of his time later in life at the Three Rivers Ranch or at his winter estate, Hibernia, in Southern Pines, North Carolina.

1882 Born in Baltimore on October 18 1898-1900 Reporter for the Philadelphia Times 1900 Entered Princeton University 1904 Graduated from Princeton 1904-1905 Studied at the University of Munich 1905-1906 Studied at Merton College, Oxford 1906-1908 Taught English at Princeton 1912 Co-founded the Bar BC Ranch married Katharine Newlin 1913 Son, Nathaniel Burt (Class of 1936) was born 1915 Published first short story, "Water-Hole," in Scribner's 1920 Won the O. Henry Memorial Prize for "Each in His Generation" 1924 Published The Diary of a Dude Wrangler 1929 Formed the Three Rivers Ranch in Moran, Wyoming 1935 Published Malice in Blunderland 1938 Published Powder River; Let 'er Buck 1945 Published Philadelphia, Holy Experiment 1954 Died in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on August 29

Collection History


Gift of William John Buckson, Julia B. Atteberry, Nathaniel Burt, Mrs. Struthers Burt.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Colin Campbell '98 in 1997 . Finding aid written by Colin Campbell '98 in 1997 .

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Struthers Burt Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-33