Guide to the Ralph Dyar Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Dyar, Ralph, 1884-1955
Title: Ralph Dyar papers
Dates: 1907-1955 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 4.5 linear feet (3 containers)
Collection Number: Ax 255
Summary: Ralph E. Dyar (1885-1955) was an author and playwright who also worked for and wrote about newspapers and newspaper promotion and research. The collection contains literary manuscripts, correspondence, and the working files for the book, News for an Empire: The Story of the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, and of the Field it Serves.
Repository: University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
Contact Information: UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Historical Note

Ralph E. Dyar (1885-1955) was born in Dover, Minnesota on January 4, 1885. He was educated at the University of Minnesota where he received his B.A. in 1907. He became a writer and playwright and was first published in the early Life Magazine. Dyar's most successful play was A Voice in the Dark. It was produced in New York, Boston, and Chicago during 191921, and was turned into a motion picture by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1921.

Dyar's later plays were published as one-act productions and were produced by many local theatres. He also wrote children's books and wrote for the Spokesman Review newspaper. Dyar later wrote a history of that newspaper titled, News for an Empire: The Story of the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, and of the Field it Serves. Dyar married Elsie J. Kiesling and had four children. Ralph E. Dyar died on December 20, 1955.

Content Description

The collection contains literary manuscripts, correspondence, and the working files for the book, News for an Empire: The Story of the Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Washington, and of the Field it Serves.

The manuscript series is divided into seven sections: plays, promotional scripts, motion pictures, short stories and articles, books, addresses and lectures, and miscellaneous manuscripts. The material in each section is mostly organized alphabetically. Most sections contain related correspondence, drafts and revised versions, reviews, and research files. The working files for "News for an Empire" can be found under the Book section. Miscellaneous manuscripts include notebooks (1910-1912), idea, and research notes.

The correspondence series mainly consists of professional letters dealing with publishing matters and the production of Dyars plays, and is organized chronologically, 1907-1955. There is a small group of personal correspondence between Dyar and his daughter Joan (1939; 1952-1955).

Also available in the collection are clippings and reviews about Dyar's work, play programs, scrapbooks about play writing and comics, and biographical material.

The July 1967 Addenda contains play and motion picture manuscripts, short stories and articles, addresses, correspondence, additional materials and correspondence regarding "News for an Empire," notebooks and other miscellaneous manuscripts.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Ralph Dyar papers, Ax 255, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series: Plays, Promotional Scripts, Motion Pictures, Short Stories and Articles, Books, Addresses and Lectures, Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Correspondence, Miscellaneous, Publications, and a 1967 Addenda.

Additional Reference Guides :  

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Acquisition Information :  

Donated by Mrs. Dyar in 1966.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff, 1967.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


  • Personal Names :
  • Dyar, Ralph, 1884-1955
  • Subject Terms :
  • Authors and publishers--Correspondence
  • Children's literature, American--Authorship
  • Playwriting
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Correspondence
    • Manuscripts for publication
    • Screenplays

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