Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939

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Sidney Coe Howard was a popular and successful American playwright and screenwriter, becoming the first person to win both a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award. Born in Oakland, California, and educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Harvard, he served as an aviator in World War I. After the war he established a reputation as a journalist, investigating the social issues of the day, and publishing both short stories and translations; he found great success as a playwright, winning the 1925 Pulitzer Prize for his popular realistic romance, They Knew What They Wanted. In the late 1920s and 1930s, he wrote a number of acclaimed screenplays for Samuel Goldwyn, culminating with the Academy Award-winning adaptation of Gone With the Wind.

From the description of Sidney Coe Howard letter to Miss Helen Woodward, 1933 June 20. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 130048239

Playwright, author, Hollywood script writer.

From the description of Sidney Coe Howard papers, 1903-1939. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 122502102

From the description of Sidney Coe Howard papers : additions , 1903-1939. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 86132640

From the description of Letters to Joseph A. Galahad and his sister, Mrs. Harvey , 1919-1922. (University of California, Berkeley). WorldCat record id: 122545263

Biography

Sidney Coe Howard, playwright, was born in Oakland, California, June 26, 1891, the son of John Lawrence and Helen (Coe) Howard. He attended public schools in Oakland and was graduated from the University of California in 1915. As an undergraduate he already displayed an interest in the theater, collaborating with Frederick Faust (who later achieved fame under the pseudonym "Max Brand") in writing the junior farce and the senior extravaganza. For Leonard Bacon's poetry seminar he wrote "Sons of Spain," a blank verse tragedy which was produced in the Forest Theatre in Carmel, California, in 1914. From Berkeley Howard went to Harvard to attend Professor George Pierce Baker's famous "47 Workshop" in playwriting.

During World War I he volunteered his services as an ambulance driver, serving in France and in the Balkans. After U.S. entry into the war he enlisted in the air service and was on active duty as a flyer at the French front. On his return to the United States he settled in New York City and joined the staff of Life, eventually becoming a literary editor. As a free-lance reporter, he also wrote a number of articles on current issues which appeared in The Survey, Collier's and The New Republic, and short stories as well.

While holding down these jobs he found time to work on plays, also, the first of which to appear on Broadway was Swords (1921), a melodrama in verse. For the next two seasons Howard devoted himself to translations and adaptations of foreign plays, and to a collaboration with Edward Sheldon, Bewitched, which won for him increased recognition in the theater world. His first big success came in 1924 when the Theatre Guild produced They Knew What They Wanted which was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. 1926 became his most successful year with two plays, Ned McCobb's Daughter and The Silver Cord winning popular acclaim. Hardly a year followed in which his name did not appear on a play as author or adaptor.

From 1929 onward he did much work also as a screen writer, and until his death he divided his time between the stage and the screen. His list of scenario credits includes such successes as Bulldog Drummond, Arrowsmith, which won an Academy Award in 1931, Dodsworth, and Gone With the Wind, for which he was posthumously given an Academy Award in 1940.

A realistic practitioner of his art and a strong spokesman for the profession, he was elected president of the Dramatists' Guild of the Authors' League of America in 1935, serving in the crucial years when a new basic agreement was hammered out between playwrights and producers. In 1938 he, in partnership with Maxwell Anderson, S. N. Behrman, Elmer Rice and Robert E. Sherwood, formed the Playwrights' Company, pooling their dramatic and financial resources to produce their own plays independently.

He was married twice: in 1922 to Clare Eames, actress, niece of Emma Eames, the opera singer, and in 1931 to Leopoldine (Polly) Damrosch, the daughter of Walter Damrosch.

His life was cut short on August 23, 1939, by a tragic accident when a tractor crushed him against the side of a barn on his farm in Tyringham, Massachusetts. The very morning of his death he had been working on a play based on Carl Van Doren's Benjamin Franklin.

From the guide to the Sidney Coe Howard papers, 1903-1939, (The Bancroft Library.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Sidney Coe Howard papers, 1903-1939. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Federal Theatre Project (U.S.). Federal Theatre Project scripts, 1935-1939. University of Southern California, USC Libraries
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Sidney Coe Howard miscellany, 1934-1980. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Miller, Gilbert. Gilbert Miller collection, 1921-1967 (bulk 1932-1955). Library of Congress
creatorOf Fleming, Victor, 1883-1949. Autant en emporte le vent. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Playwrights' Company. Records, 1938-1960. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Ned McCobb's daughter; a comedy, by Sidney Howard. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection, circa 1800-circa 1998, bulk 1863-1974 Historical Collections, Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, University of Virginia
referencedIn J. B. Matthews Papers, 1862-1986 and undated David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Sidney Coe Howard papers : additions , 1903-1939. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Alien corn, by Sidney Howard. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Burlingame Family Papers, 1856-1967 Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
referencedIn Emeline Clark Roche Collection, 1815-1988 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant papers, 1903-1965 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Cabell, James Branch, 1879-1958. Papers of James Branch Cabell [manuscript], 1917-1930. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Sinclair Lewis' Dodsworth, dramatized by Sidney Howard ... New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Letters to Joseph A. Galahad and his sister, Mrs. Harvey , 1919-1922. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. The late Christopher Bean. Founded upon Prenez garde à la peinture, by Rene Fauchois. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Paul Muni papers, circa 1920-1967 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Labor Research Association Records, 1914-2009 Tamiment Library / Wagner Archives
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Sidney Coe Howard letter to Miss Helen Woodward, 1933 June 20. Pennsylvania State University Libraries
referencedIn Alexander Woollcott correspondence, ca. 1856-1943 (inclusive), 1920-1943 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Theatre Arts Monthly, collection of portraits, ca., ca., 1924-1939 (bulk), 1916-1964 (inclusive). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Sidney Coe Howard papers : additions. UC Berkeley Libraries
creatorOf Theatre Guild. Theatre Guild technical drawings and other production materials, circa 1925-1953. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn George Pierce Baker papers, 1878-1958 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
referencedIn Gilbert Miller Collection, 1921-1967, (bulk 1932-1955) Library of Congress. Music Division
referencedIn Stark, Samuel. Theatre scrapbook collection., 1860-1950 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Photographs from the Sidney Coe Howard Papers [graphic], ca. 1880-ca. 1960. Bancroft Library
creatorOf Fleming, Victor, 1883-1949. Autant en emporte le vent. Bibliothèque nationale de France, BnF
referencedIn Portraits of University of California individuals and groups, ca. 1850-[ongoing] The Bancroft Library. University Archives.
referencedIn Federal Theatre Project scripts, 1935-1939 USC Libraries Special Collections
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Salvation; a play in three acts, by Sidney Howard and Charles MacArthur. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Theatre Guild technical drawings and other production materials, circa 1925-1953 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Alien corn. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Sidney Coe Howard papers, 1903-1939 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. They knew what they wanted. A comedy in three acts, by Sidney Howard. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. The ghost of Yankee Doodle. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Photographs from the Sidney Coe Howard Papers [graphic], ca. 1880-ca. 1960. Bancroft Library
referencedIn Skinner, Frank M. Frank M. Skinner collection, circa 1937-1981. University of Georgia, University of Georgia, Main Library
referencedIn Powell, Dawn. Dawn Powell Papers, 1910-1998. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn Lawrence Graham Brooks papers, 1897-1981 Harvard Law School Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Digges, Dudley, 1879-1947. Dudley Digges papers, 1908-1947. Campbell University, Wiggins Memorial Library
referencedIn Baker, George Pierce, 1866-1935. Papers of George Pierce Baker, 1882-1926 (inclusive), 1890-1926 (bulk). Harvard University, Houghton Library
referencedIn Baker, George Pierce, 1866-1935. George Pierce Baker papers, 1878-1958 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Souvenir programs of motion pictures, 1915-1978. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University.
creatorOf Sidney Coe Howard papers: additions, 1903-1939 Bancroft Library
creatorOf Sherwood, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1896-1955. Papers, 1917-1968 (inclusive) 1934-1955 (bulk). Harvard University, Houghton Library
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Ode to liberty; a comedy adapted by Sidney Howard from Liberte provisoire, by Marcel [i.e. Michel] Duran. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Gone with the wind : screenplay / by Sidney Howard ; from the novel by Margaret Mitchell. Broken Bow Public Library
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Gone with the wind, 1939 Dec. 9 / film editor, Hal C. Kern. Ohio State University Libraries
referencedIn Robert E. Sherwood papers, 1917-1968 (inclusive), 1934-1955 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Junior Farce texts, University of California, Berkeley, 1892-1939 The Bancroft Library. University Archives.
creatorOf Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939. Correspondence to Van Wyck Brooks, 1937. University of Pennsylvania Library
referencedIn Dudley Digges papers, 1908-1947 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Brooks, Lawrence Graham, 1881-1981. Papers, 1897-1981. Harvard Law School Library, HLS Library
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library
creatorOf Selznick, David O., 1902-1965. Studio archive, 1904-1980 (bulk 1936-1955). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Sergeant, Elizabeth Shepley, 1881-1965. Elizabeth Shepley Sergeant papers, 1903-1965. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Baker, George Pierce, 1866-1935. person
associatedWith Brice, Fanny person
associatedWith Brooks, Lawrence Graham, 1881-1981. person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Burlingame family. family
associatedWith Cabell, James Branch, 1879-1958. person
associatedWith Carter, Henry Rose, 1852-1925 person
associatedWith Connelly, Marc person
associatedWith Damrasch, Walter J. person
associatedWith Damrosch, Walter, 1862-1950. person
associatedWith Digges, Dudley, 1879-1947. person
associatedWith Duran, Michel. person
associatedWith Fauchois, René, 1882- person
associatedWith Federal Theatre Project (U.S.) corporateBody
associatedWith Gable, Clark, 1901-1960. person
associatedWith Galahad, Joseph Andrew. person
associatedWith Hench, Philip S. (Philip Showalter), 1896-1965 person
associatedWith Howard, Clara Eames person
associatedWith Howard, Helen C. person
associatedWith Howard, John L. person
associatedWith Howard, Leopoldine person
associatedWith Howard, Leopoldine Damrosch person
associatedWith Howard, Leopoldine Damrosch. person
associatedWith Howard, Sidney Coe, 1891-1939 person
associatedWith Kean, Jefferson Randolph, 1860-1950 person
associatedWith Kern, Hal C. person
associatedWith Labor Research Association (U.S.). corporateBody
associatedWith Lazear, Jesse William, 1866-1900 person
associatedWith Leigh, Vivien, 1913-1967. person
associatedWith Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951. person
associatedWith MacArthur, Charles, 1897- person
associatedWith Matthews, J. B. (Joseph Brown), 1894-1966 person
associatedWith Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. corporateBody
associatedWith Miller, Gilbert. person
associatedWith Mitchell, Margaret, 1900-1949. person
associatedWith Muni, Paul, 1895-1967 person
associatedWith Online Archive of California. corporateBody
associatedWith Playwrights' Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Powell, Dawn. person
associatedWith Reed, Walter, 1851-1902 person
associatedWith Roche, Emeline Clark, 1902-1995 person
associatedWith Samuel Stark person
associatedWith Selznick, David O., 1902-1965. person
associatedWith Sergeant, Elizabeth Shepley, 1881-1965. person
associatedWith Sherwood, Robert E. (Robert Emmet), 1896-1955. person
associatedWith Theatre Guild. corporateBody
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
associatedWith University of California, Berkeley. corporateBody
associatedWith Urquhart, Sidney. person
associatedWith Werner, M. R. (Morris Robert), 1897-1981. person
associatedWith Woodward, Helen, 1882- person
correspondedWith Woollcott, Alexander, 1887-1943 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
California
California--Hollywood
United States
California
Georgia
Subject
Motion picture industry
Drama (American)
Prompt-book
Motion picture plays
Authors, American--20th century
Drama--20th century
Male authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
Poets, American--20th century
World War, 1914-1918
Reconstruction--Drama
Motion picture industry--Miscellanea
Dramatists, American--20th century
Occupation
Authors
Function

Person

Birth 1891-06-26

Death 1939-08-23

Americans

English

Information

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