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Darrow Family Scrapbooks

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Darrow

Scope and Content of the Collection

Mainly mounted newspaper clippings, in no particular order, about incidents in the life and career of Clarence Darrow and to a lesser extent, Paul Darrow. Also, some published articles and speeches by Clarence Darrow. Included are items regarding contemporary issues, particularly of Chicago politics in the 1890's; some material relating to relatives and acquaintances of the Ohls and Darrows, school papers of a youthful Paul Darrow, and miscellaneous ephemera. The Clarence Darrow material includes press coverage of the Leopold and Loeb trial (1924) and the Scopes trial (1925), with newspaper transcripts of the court proceedings of the latter, and articles on Darrow's trip to Europe in 1895. Two of the scrapbooks were compiled by Jessie Ohl Darrow, one by Paul Darrow, and the fourth by someone unknown, probably Jessie.


  • Creation: approximately 1881-1925



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Darrow Family Scrapbooks are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Darrow Family Scrapbooks 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.

Biography of Jessie Ohl Darrow

First wife of Clarence Darrow.

Jessie Ohl, daughter of Michael Ohl, owner of a gristmill and sawmill near Warren, Ohio and successful investor of farmland in Minnesota, married Clarence Darrow in 1880. Their son Paul Edward was born in 1883. Satisfied at first with practicing law in Ohio, Clarence Darrow became increasingly restless and ambitious for a more worldly environment, and in 1887 the couple abruptly moved to Chicago. Jessie gradually became unhappy with big city life and as their interests diverged, they grew apart.

Jessie Ohl Darrow eventually married again, a Judge Brownlee from Ashtabula, Ohio.

Biography of Paul Darrow

Son of Clarence and Jesse Ohl Darrow

Paul Darrow, born in 1883, always had a difficult though affectionate relationship with his famous father. Their personalities and interests were very different, and Paul found he had to struggle to get out from under his father's shadow. After Paul's graduation from Dartmouth, he disappointed his father's ambitions for him and instead of taking an interest in politics and the law, chose to spend his life as a very private citizen with a modest career in business.

Paul Darrow married Lillian Anderson and in 1908 they moved to Estes Park, Colorado, where they had three daughters. Here Paul successfully managed the Greeley gas works in which both he and his father had a financial involvement. The family moved back to Chicago about 1930. Father and son, despite their different natures, continued to maintain an agreeable relationship until Clarence Darrow's death in 1938.


1 Linear Feet (4 flat boxes)


Four scrapbooks of newspaper clippings, school papers and a few pieces of memorabilia. Scrapbooks contain many articles by and about the career of Clarence Darrow; also, some articles referring to Greeley, Colorado, sometime home of Clarence Darrow's son Paul, and a collection of Paul's early school papers. Other clippings are miscellaneous articles about other Darrow family members. Two of the scrapbooks apparently were kept by Clarence Darrow's first wife, Jessie Ohl Darrow, one by her son Paul Darrow, and one by someone unknown, possibly Jessie.


The scrapbooks are organized chronologically, by date of earliest clipping.

Collection Stack Location

1 13 1


Gift of Mrs. G.E. (Blanche) Chase and Mrs. Mary D. Simonson, granddaughters of Clarence Darrow, 1993.

Processed by

Virginia H. Smith, 2003.


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 Darrow Family Scrapbooks, approximately 1881-1925
Virginia H. Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 08/17/2011: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States