Drinkwater, John, 1882-1937

Alternative names
Birth 1882-06-01
Death 1937-03-25

Biographical notes:

Drinkwater, a British playwright and poet, worked for an insurance company. In 1909 he became manager of the Birmingham Repertory Company, and his most successful plays included "Abraham Lincoln," "Mary Stuart," and "Bird in Hand." Drinkwater also published several critical literary biographies.

From the description of Manuscripts and Correspondence, 1914-1916. (Temple University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 122612764

John Drinkwater was an English author and actor, probably best known for his historical plays. Born in Leytonstone, Drinkwater was a fine athlete but an indifferent student, and left school in his mid-teens to take a job as a clerk. He worked for several insurance companies in different cities, and began writing poetry after experiencing an inspirational epiphanic moment. He continued to write poetry and prose, and became active in the theater as an actor and director with the Pilgrim Players, later known as the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Drinkwater also wrote plays, some of them in blank verse, and became known for his biographical plays centered on figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Cromwell, and Robert E. Lee. His work is generally considered flawed but articulate.

From the description of John Drinkwater letter to Miss Forbes, 1920 March 29. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 123906113

English poet and playwright.

From the description of John Drinkwater papers [manuscript], 1922-1929. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 648020870

Poet and dramatist.

From the description of Papers 1912-1920. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 702670273

From the description of Letters 1922. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 702669810

Epithet: playwright and theatre manager

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001185.0x00039f

John Drinkwater (1882-1937), the poet, biographer, dramatist, and theatre manager, was born in Leytonstone, London. He had a distinguished theatrical career, founding and becoming the manager of the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1913. His first verse-play was Copetua (1913), which was followed in 1918 by his more successful Abraham Lincoln . Drinkwater produced numerous popular biographies and autobiographies and wrote the poetry for many musical pieces and special events. His Collected poems were published in 1923, and his Collected plays in 1925.

From the guide to the Literary papers of John Drinkwater, with related material, 1906-1939, (Leeds University Library)

English dramatist and poet.

From the description of A Town Window : place not specified: autograph manuscript of the poem signed, 1914 Feb. 28. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270539223


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  • Literature--20th century
  • English literature--20th century
  • English poetry--20th century
  • Scrapbooks England 20th century
  • Male authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • English drama--20th century
  • English poetry
  • Manuscripts--English


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  • Karlsruhe, Baden-Wurttemberg (as recorded)
  • Pisa, Italy (as recorded)
  • Viareggio, Italy (as recorded)
  • Great Britain (as recorded)