Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1899-1979

Variant names

Hide Profile

Cornelia Otis Skinner was an American writer, monologist, and actress. Born on either May 30, 1899 or 1901 in Chicago, Illinois, Skinner was the daughter of actors Otis Skinner and Maud Durbin. Skinner attended Bryn Mawr College, but left during her sophomore year to move to Paris, where she attended the Sorbonne and studied acting at the Jacques Copeau School and the Comedie Francaise.

Skinner began her acting career in 1921, debuting as Dona Sarasate in the stage adaptation of Blasco-Ibanez's Blood and Sand, alongside her father, Otis Skinner. Skinner went on to establish herself as a well-known stage actress in her plays Will Shakespeare (1923), Tweedles (1923), The Wild Wescotts (1923), In His Arms (1924), and White Collars (1925). In 1925, Skinner wrote her first play for her father, the off-Broadway production, Captain Fury.

Skinner continued writing and toured the United States from 1926 to 1929 performing one-woman monologues. In 1928, she married Alden S. Blodget and had one son, Otis Skinner Blodget. In the early 1930s, Skinner's roles focused on historical women, writing and portraying a range of different characters in The Wives of Henry VIII (1931), The Empress Eugenie (1932), The Loves of Charles II (1933), and The Mansion on the Hudson (1935). Additionally, Skinner earned recognition for her adaptation of Margaret Ayer Barne's novel Edna, His Wife, which toured London in 1937 and the United States in 1938, as well as for the lead in George Bernard Shaw's Candida in 1939. In 1952, Skinner won the Barter Theatre Award for outstanding acting on the Broadway stage. That same year her one-woman show, Paris '90, debuted on Broadway. Skinner played fourteen different characters, celebrating the women depicted by French painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Skinner's final stage performance was in The Irregular Verb to Love in 1964.

After retiring from acting, Skinner continued to write, contributing numerous essays to publications such as The New Yorker, Ladies' Home Journal, Vogue, Life, Harper's Bazaar, and Reader's Digest. Compilations of Skinner's essays include Tiny Garments (1932), Excuse It, Please! (1936), Dithers and Jitters (1938), and Soap Behind the Ears (1941). In the 1950s, three more volumes were created: Nuts in May (1950), Bottoms Up! (1955), and The Ape in Me (1959). In 1948, Skinner published the memoir, Family Circle. Other writing projects included Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals (1962), adapting material from her one-woman play Paris '90 about the Belle Époque; Madame Sarah (1967), a biography of Sarah Bernhardt; and Skinner's final book, Life with Lindsay and Crouse (1976), a biography of Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse. Skinner died on July 9, 1979 in New York City.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Flagg, Mildred Buchanan, 1886-1980. Papers, 1876-1955 (inclusive), 1900-1955 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Shumlin, Herman, 1898-. Papers, 1930-1968. Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. From Madame Sarah / Cornelia Otis Skinner. Texas Tech University Libraries, Academic Library
referencedIn Row, Arthur William, 1878-1961. Arthur William Row papers, 1902-1961. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Jackson, Joseph Henry, 1894-1955. Joseph Henry Jackson papers, circa 1931-1955. UC Berkeley Libraries
referencedIn Additional papers, 1872-1975 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Brown, Gertrude Foster, 1867-1956. Additional papers, 1732-1956; bulk: 1815-1956 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Souvenir programs of contemporary personalities, 1880-1993. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962. Papers, 1897-1930 Houghton Library
referencedIn Komisarjevsky, Theodore, 1882-1954. Promptbooks for productions of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, 1859-ca.1900. Houghton Library
referencedIn Scrapbook on opera and theater, 1938-1940. Museum of Performance & Design
creatorOf Schmidt, Karl. Letters, 1883-1937. New Hampshire Newsp Project
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. Promptbooks for productions of Shakespeare's Macbeth, 1757-ca.1920. Houghton Library
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. Promptbooks for productions of Shakespeare's As You Like It, ca 1794-1970. Houghton Library
referencedIn Theatrical letters sent to Herbert I. Jackson, 1898-1944. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Edward Sheldon correspondence, 1899-1959. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Papers, 1899-1960 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Grand Theatre Collection (University of Guelph). The Pleasure of His Company / by Samuel Taylor and Cornelia Otis Skinner ; directed by Paul Soles, 1962 - house program. University of Guelph
referencedIn Theater Collection MS 450., 1870-1982 Sophia Smith Collection
referencedIn New Yorker records, ca.1924-1984 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
creatorOf Cornelia Otis Skinner scrapbooks, 1921-1978 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Cushing, George William, b. 1888. George William Cushing papers, 1904-1959. Detroit Public Library, Detroit Main Library
referencedIn Kirk, Hazel Ida, 1885-1957. Papers, 1886-1957 (inclusive). Harvard University, Divinity School Library
referencedIn John Eldon Thayer collection of motion picture memorabilia, 1916-1979. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Arthur William Row papers, 1902-1961 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Howe, Helen, 1905-1975. Additional papers, 1872-1975 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Brown, Gertrude Foster, b. 1867. Papers, 1732-1956 (inclusive), 1815-1956 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Speer Family Papers, Bulk, 1883-1943, 1802-1982 Bryn Mawr College
referencedIn Alexander Woollcott correspondence, ca. 1856-1943 (inclusive), 1920-1943 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Papers, 1886-1957. Andover-Harvard Theological Library
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. [Letter written by her secretary, Eleanor Walsh] 1967 April 7, New York, N.Y. [to] Roy Jansen, Harrisburg, Pa. / Eleanor Walsh. Office of Commonwealth Libraries, Pennsylvania State Library
referencedIn John Mason Brown papers, 1922-1967. Houghton Library
referencedIn Frederick Wagner autograph collection, 1917-1961. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004 Archives of American Art
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. William and Mary : radio scripts, 1943 September 30 to 1944 March 23. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
creatorOf Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1987 (bulk 1890-1955.). Archives of American Art
referencedIn Ribicoff, Belle Krasne, 1924-. Belle Krasne Ribicoff papers, 1942-circa 2010, bulk 1945-2004. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Swift, Kay, 1897-1993. The Kay Swift papers, 1894-1993 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. Note [n.d.] San Francisco, to Mrs. [M.R.] Machol [n.p.]. University of Michigan
referencedIn Romney Brent papers, 1934-1975 (bulk dates 1969-1975 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Souvenir programs for theatrical productions, 1906-2005. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Skinner family. Papers of the Skinner family, 1874-1979 (inclusive). Houghton Library
referencedIn The Kay Swift Papers, 1894-1993 (inclusive) Irving S. Gilmore Music Library
referencedIn Will Rapport papers, 1931-1964. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
creatorOf Miller, Alice Duer, 1874-1942. Phonorecords of Mrs. Miles Carey [manuscript] ca. 1940. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn Theatre Arts Monthly, collection of portraits, ca., ca., 1924-1939 (bulk), 1916-1964 (inclusive). Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Dean, Marguerite, 1891-1978. Playbills and programs, [ca. 1938-1940]. Boulder Public Library
referencedIn Ward Morehouse papers, 1877-1966, 1924-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence, 1881-1981 (inclusive), 1940-1979 (bulk). Houghton Library
referencedIn Hull, Josephine, 1877-1957. Papers, 1899-1960 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Arthur William Row papers, 1902-1961 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn G. B. SHAW PAPERS: SERIES I. Vol. LXXX (ff. 119). Photographs of productions of 'Androcles and the Lion’, 'Arms and the Man’, 'Back to Methuselah’, 'Caesar and Cleopatra’, 'Candida’, 'Captain Brassbound’s Conversion’, and Anatole France, 'The Man wh..., 1915-1950 British Library
referencedIn Jo Mielziner papers, 1903-1976 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Faversham, Philip. Philip Faversham papers, 1919-1982. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Philip Faversham papers, 1919-1982 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
creatorOf Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979. Interview with Cornelia Otis Skinner [sound recording] / by Bob and Betty Lewis. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Miscellaneous theatrical papers, 1673-1976. Houghton Library
creatorOf Pollack, Peter, 1909-1978. Peter Pollack papers, 1945-1978. Getty Research Institute
referencedIn American Vaudeville Museum collection, 1845-2007, (bulk 1910-1940) University of Arizona Libraries, Library Special Collections
referencedIn Houghton Mifflin Company correspondence and records, 1832-1944. Houghton Library
creatorOf Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1991, bulk 1890-1955. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Oscar Wilde and his Literary Circle Collection: Wildeiana, 1858-1998 William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA
referencedIn Bessie Potter Vonnoh papers, circa 1860-1991, bulk 1890-1955 Archives of American Art
referencedIn Rogan, Felicia Warburg. Felicia Warburg Rogan papers [manuscript, 1959, 1973-1974, 2000. University of Virginia. Library
referencedIn George Freedley papers, 1861-1971, 1935-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Howe, Helen, 1905-1975. Papers, 1872-1975 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Brown, Gertrude Foster, b. 1867. Additional papers, 1732-1956 (inclusive), 1815-1956 (bulk). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Taylor, James H. (James Hughes), 1825-1897. Promptbooks for productions of Shakespeare's The Tempest, 1843-ca.1900's Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adler, Dr. person
associatedWith Afternoon Theatre (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith American Museum of Vaudeville corporateBody
associatedWith Barrymore, Ethel, 1879-1959 person
associatedWith Barrymore, John, 1882-1942 person
associatedWith Barrymore, Maurice, 1848-1904 person
associatedWith Bernhardt, Sarah, 1844-1923. person
associatedWith Blanche Yurka person
correspondedWith Braithwaite, William Stanley, 1878-1962 person
associatedWith Brent, Romney, 1902-1975 person
associatedWith Brent, Romney, 1902-1975 person
associatedWith Brown, Gertrude Foster, b. 1867. person
correspondedWith Brown, John Mason, 1900-1969 person
associatedWith Churchill, Randolph S. (Randolph Spencer), 1911-1968 person
associatedWith Cornelia Otis Skinner person
associatedWith Cowl, Jane, 1884-1950 person
associatedWith Cullen, Frank, 1936- person
associatedWith Cushing, George William, b. 1888. person
associatedWith Dean, Marguerite, 1891-1978. person
associatedWith Duse, Eleonora, 1858-1924 person
associatedWith Eddy, Mary Baker, 1821-1910 person
associatedWith Ellen Terry person
associatedWith Eva Le Gallienne person
associatedWith Faversham, Philip. person
associatedWith Flagg, Mildred Buchanan, 1886-1980. person
associatedWith Freedley, George, 1904-1967 person
associatedWith GERTRUDE (FOSTER) BROWN, 1867-1956 person
associatedWith Gertrude Norman person
associatedWith Gest, Morris, b. 1881 person
associatedWith Gielgud, John, 1904-2000 person
associatedWith Grand Theatre Collection (University of Guelph) corporateBody
associatedWith Hagen, Uta, 1919- person
associatedWith Helen Howe, 1905-1975 person
associatedWith Hesketh Pearson person
correspondedWith Houghton Mifflin Company. corporateBody
associatedWith Howe, Helen, 1905-1975. person
associatedWith Hull, Josephine, 1877-1957. person
correspondedWith Jackson, Herbert I., recipient. person
associatedWith Jackson, Joseph Henry, 1894-1955. person
associatedWith Jansen, Roy. person
associatedWith JOSEPHINE (SHERWOOD) HULL, 1877(?)-1957 person
correspondedWith Kirk, Hazel Ida. person
associatedWith Kirk, Hazel Ida, 1885-1957. person
associatedWith Krasne Ribicoff, Belle person
associatedWith Lewis, Betty Jessel. person
associatedWith Lewis, Robert Foster. person
associatedWith Machol, M. R., Mrs. person
associatedWith Mansfield, Richard, 1857-1907 person
associatedWith Mary Baker Eddy person
associatedWith Mary Fanton Roberts person
associatedWith McNeilly, Donald, 1945- person
associatedWith Mielziner, Jo, 1901-1976 person
associatedWith Morehouse, Ward, 1898-1966 person
associatedWith Morris Gest person
associatedWith Muni, Paul, 1895-1967 person
associatedWith Nance O'Neil person
correspondedWith New Yorker Magazine, Inc corporateBody
associatedWith Pollack, Peter, 1909-1978. person
associatedWith Rapport, Will. person
associatedWith Ribicoff, Belle Krasne, 1924- person
associatedWith Richard Mansfield person
associatedWith Rogan, Felicia Warburg. person
associatedWith Row, Arthur William, 1878-1961 person
associatedWith Row, Arthur William, 1878-1961. person
associatedWith Sarah Bernhardt person
associatedWith Schmidt, Karl. person
associatedWith Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 person
associatedWith Sheldon, Edward, 1886-1946 person
associatedWith Shumlin, Herman, 1898- person
associatedWith Skinner, Cornelia Otis, 1901-1979 person
associatedWith Skinner family. family
associatedWith Swift, Kay, 1897-1993. person
associatedWith Terry, Ellen, Dame, 1847-1928 person
associatedWith Thayer, John Eldon, 1899-1980 person
associatedWith The Afternoon Theatre corporateBody
associatedWith Vonnoh, Bessie Potter, 1872-1955. person
associatedWith Wagner, Frederick, collector. person
associatedWith Welles, Orson, 1915- person
associatedWith Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900 person
associatedWith William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. corporateBody
associatedWith Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983 person
correspondedWith Woollcott, Alexander, 1887-1943 person
associatedWith Young, Roland, 1887-1953. person
associatedWith Yurka, Blanche person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Chicago IL US
New York City NY US
Subject
Authors--Interviews
Comedy programs
Writers
Actress
Theater--United States
Actresses--Interviews
Occupation
Women dramatists, American
Actresses
Women authors--20th century
Activity

Person

Birth 1899-05-30

Death 1979-07-09

Female

Americans

English

Information

Permalink: http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w6bd4pwh

Ark ID: w6bd4pwh

SNAC ID: 85419620