Jacques Futrelle papers
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Jacques Futrelle papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040. reference@atlantahistorycenter.com
Creator: Futrelle, Jacques, 1875-1912
Creator: Futrelle, May, b.1876
Title: Jacques Futrelle papers
Dates: Bulk, 1901-1914
Dates: 1901-1914, 1936, 1969, 1995-1996, undated
Quantity: 0.25 linear ft. (1 document case; 3 oversize folders)
Identification: ahc.MSS919

Biographical/Historical Note

Jacques Futrelle was a pioneer detective story writer. He grew up in Atlanta. He was the son of Wiley Harmon Futrelle, a Confederate veteran, who taught in one of the preparatory colleges in Atlanta. On July 17, 1895 Futrelle married Lily May Peel (she was always known as May) also of Atlanta. The Futrelles left Atlanta and moved first to New York City where Futrelle briefly worked for the New York Herald, and then to Scituate, Massachusetts. During this time Futrelle started to write a mystery detective story featuring Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, aka The Thinking Machine. In 1902 Futrelle received an offer to manage a small repertory theater in Richmond, Virginia. He also wrote and acted in several plays at theaters in Baltimore, Maryland and Knoxville, Tennessee. May Futrelle collaborated with her husband on several of these plays. Despite Futrelle's success in the theatrical world, he and May decided it was not for them and at the end of two years they moved back to Scituate. The Futrelles continued to have an interest in the theater and wrote several more plays. In 1904 Futrelle found work on the editorial staff at the new newspaper the Boston American. in 1905 the first Thinking Machine story "The Problem of Cell 12" was published in installments in the Boston American. It was such a success that Futrelle was asked to submitt more stories. Futrelle wrote several more Thinking Machine stories as well as several humorous sketches. May Futrelle also continued to write. In 1912 Jacques and May Futrelle went on a trip to Europe. They sailed home on the Titanic. Jacques Futrelle went down with the ship. May Futrelle survived. May Futrelle continued to live in Scituate until her death in 1967. (Adapted from article in Box 1, folder 13)

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of manuscript and published copies of stories, programs for plays, information about Jacques and May Futrelle and some family information.

Index Terms

Detective and mystery stories, American
Futrelle, Jacques, 1875-1912
Futrelle, May, b.1876
Titanic (Steamship).
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Personal narratives

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Jacques Futrelle papers, MSS 919, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1996

Description Control

This collection was processed in 2013.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Container List




11Information about the collection, 1996
2Futrelle home in Scituate, Massachusetts; Mrs. Futrelle’s formal calling card, undated
3Wiley H. H. Futrell, Co. A, 5th Regiment, Georgia Reserve Infantry - brief memoir of the Civil War, undated
4“The Man Who Found Kansas”, typed manuscript, 1905
5“Mixed Up With Kansas”, typed manuscript, 1905
6“Taming A Kansas Cow”, typed manuscript, approximately 1905
7“The Green Eyed Monster”, typed manuscript (copy), 1906
8“The Problem of the Life Raft”, typed manuscript, 1906
9“The Taming of Luke”, typed manuscript, 1908
10 Summer Time Magazine, 1969: “The Problem of Cell 13"; “The Mystery of the Silver Box”; “The Case of the Flaming Phantom”, 1969
11Programs for performances of plays, 1901-1914
12Colonial Theater - program & newsletter (includes article about Futrelle), 1914
132 articles: “Jacques Futrelle and the Thinking Machine”, by Freddie Seymour & Bettina Kyper & “Titanic Survivors’ Personal Accounts: Mrs. Jacques Futrelle, part one”, The Titanic Commutator, vol. 19, no. 3, Nov./Jan., 1995-1996
14Book: The Thinking Machine: Jacques Futrelle, by Freddie Seymour & Bettina Kyper, 1995



MSS OS 5.241“The Grinning God”, published in 2 installments in Sunday Magazines: 1) The Wraiths of the Storm; 2) The House That Was, undated



MSS OS 5.242“The Flaming Phantom”, London Daily Express, May 11-16, 1936



MSS OS 5.243“Enter Santa Claus, R.U.E.”, by Mrs. Jacques Futrelle, Saturday Evening Post, Dec. 21, 1907