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Little Room records

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Little Room

Scope and Content of the Collection

Scattered records regarding the formation and operation of club from the late 1890's to 1931. Includes correspondence, most of which, both incoming and outgoing, is brief and relates mainly to membership matters. Also, accounts and bills, address cards, an autograph book, executive committee meeting records (1902-1909), membership lists (ca. 1900-1922), and secretarial forms and notices. There is a group of miscellaneous material which includes memorials to several members, a poem, a play, play programs, two photographs of Henry B. Fuller, and a proposal for a men's club to be called The Attic Club. An oversize box holds two photographs, a clipping and a cartoon of the members as they appeared in George Ade's play, Captain Fry's Birthday Party.


  • Creation: 1898-1931



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Little Room records are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Little Room records are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of The Little Room

Early twentieth century Chicago social organization of painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, architects and other workers in the arts.

During the first years of the 20th century there existed in Chicago a weekly meeting of men and women from the arts who called their social gathering The Little Room. The name was taken from the title of a short story written by Madeleine Yale Wynne that appeared in Harper's Monthly in the 1890's, about a mysterious room where a visitor with the right frame of mind would find companionship and happiness. It was a popular story and shortly after its publication the title was appropriated by a group of writers, artists and musicians who wished to get together regularly to enjoy refreshment and good talk. They met one of the studios in Chicago's Fine Arts Building, situated on Michigan Avenue, and continued to do so into the 1930's.

Fostered by novelists Hamlin Garland and Henry B. Fuller, The Little Room had a usual attendance of as many as thirty or forty members and suitable guests who came together for tea and conversation on Friday afternoons or for an occasional evening of light music, drama or some kind of clever presentation. Among the members - some for many years - were George Ade, Hobart Chatfield-Taylor, Henry B. Fuller, Alice Gerstenberg, James T. Hatfield, Franklin Harvey Head, John T. McCutcheon, Anna Morgan, Allen Bartlit Pond, Henry Kitchell Webster and Edith Wyatt.


1.3 Linear Feet (2 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Business records of the Little Room, an early twentieth century Chicago social club composed of artists, writers, musicians, etc., including correspondence, memorabilia and membership material.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Outgoing Correspondence, 1903-1910
Box 1
Series 2: Incoming Correspondence, 1903-1924, bulk 1924
Box 1
Series 3: Activities and Miscellaneous, approximately 1900-1929
Boxes 1, 3 [oversize]
Series 4: Business Records, 1898-1931
Box 2

Collection Stack Location

1 24 4


Gift of Nellie E. Walker, 1950.

Processed by

Amy Nyholm, 1950; Virginia H. Smith, 2001.


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the Little Room records, 1898-1931
Virginia H. Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States