||The Maclyn Arbuckle Collection documents the personal and professional activities
of silent film and theater actor and producer Maclyn Arbuckle, and his father James
Graeme Arbuckle. The collection particularly documents Arbuckle’s acting career (1888-1924)
and production career (1918-1922).
|| Maclyn Arbuckle, cousin of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, was born in San Antonio, Texas, on July 9, 1866. Arbuckle was admitted
to the bar at Texarkana shortly after completing law school but after an unsuccessful
campaign for Justice of the Peace of Bowie County in 1888, left his career in law
after one year to pursue acting. That same year, Arbuckle premiered in his first role
in Shreveport, Louisiana, and acted consistently on the stage until the mid-1920s.
Some of his most famous theatrical roles include "Jim Hackler" in The County Chairman (1903-1907) and "Slim Hoover" in The Round-Up (1907). Other roles include parts in Men and Women (1892-1894), Why Smith Left Home (1898), Misalliance (1917), Daddy Dumplins (1921), Wild Oats Lane (1923), and Poor Richard (1924). In 1918, he helped found the film production company San Antonio Pictures
Corporation. As its president and star actor, he produced a repertoire of "Maclyn Arbuckle Photo Plays"—short silent films that included The Prodigal Judge (1922), a role for which he garnered accolades. He starred in other films in the
1910s and 1920s, including The Reform Candidate (1915), Squire Phin (1922), Welcome to Our City (1922), Mr. Potter of Texas (1922), Mr. Bingle (1922), The Young Diana (1922), and Janice Meredith (1924). Arbuckle lived with his wife, Elizabeth Sheldon Carlisle (married 1903),
at their home in Waddington, New York until his death on March 31, 1931.
||The papers are organized into two series: I. Maclyn Arbuckle, 1882-1990, undated;
and II. James Graeme Arbuckle, 1890-1909, undated. The bulk of the collection is related
to Maclyn Arbuckle and Series I contains clippings, correspondence, diaries, letterhead,
manuscript drafts, notes, photographs, press releases, scripts, and theater programs.
Subseries A. Productions contains clippings, notes, photographs, and scripts related
to Arbuckle’s many film and theater productions and is arranged alphabetically by
||Many of the productions in Subseries A were presented as both theatrical and film
productions; often with different titles. For example, Daddy Dumplins is the theater version of the later film Mr. Bingle. Some photographs are pasted on leaves from a disbound scrapbook and have images
from two different productions glued to opposite sides of the same page. In most cases,
these have been filed by whichever production appears first alphabetically. Subseries
A also includes a selection of light-sensitive unfixed proof photographs from an unmarked
production, which appears to be The County Chairman. These photos must be viewed in a special low-lighting environment; please contact
the Reading and Viewing Room staff for further guidance when requesting these materials.
In addition to material arranged alphabetically by production title, the series contains
a folder of production reviews and other clippings formerly housed in envelopes that
is preserved in its original order.
||Subseries B contains sixteen diaries kept by Arbuckle over the course of his life.
These begin in 1882 when Arbuckle was a teenager in boarding school and continue through
his brief legal career and the early stages of his acting career. Arbuckle meticulously
kept and labeled his diaries, and the organization reflects his original order. Many
of the diaries include clippings and other personal material that have been pasted
directly onto the pages. In most cases, these clippings have been left in place for
preservation and organization reasons; clippings found between blank pages were removed
and sleeved in the same folder as the diaries.
|| Subseries C. Personal and Career Material includes a small quantity of personal and
professional items, including acting association membership cards, clippings, playbills
for productions, personal stationery, and a poster for an auction held at Arbuckle’s
farm in Waddington, New York. A small volume of incoming and outgoing correspondence
regarding contractual and personal matters is present, as well as Arbuckle's correspondence
with his wife and parents. This subseries also includes posed and candid photographs
of Arbuckle around San Antonio, a multitude of headshots, photographs of members of
the San Antonio Pictures Corporation and The Bohemian Club, and photographs of Arbuckle
posing with lion cubs at the Chicago Zoo kept by zookeeper Cy DeVry. Subseries C also
contains various works by Arbuckle including scripts, one-act plays, and other notes
for productions that are not represented elsewhere in the collection.
||Series II. James Graeme Arbuckle contains certificates, clippings, correspondence,
manuscript drafts, and maps related to the professional life of Maclyn Arbuckle's
father, who served as royal vice-consul for Spain and was knighted by the King of
Spain for his work in encouraging improved trade relations between the United States
and Latin America. Of interest are the clippings and letters related to a 1907 performance
of a play about the founding of the state of Texas. During the climactic scene about
the fall of the Alamo, an audience member rolled a cabbage onto the stage. In response,
James Arbuckle got into a physical altercation with the audience member, calling the
actions "an insult… to the flag of Texas." As many of the clippings and correspondence demonstrate, Arbuckle was widely lauded
for his actions. This series also includes a 1910 certificate attesting to Arbuckle's
Spanish knighthood and an undated map of the ground plan of the estate of Santa Catalina
del Río near Oaxaca, Mexico.
||Content warning: This collection contains material that users may consider offensive or harmful, such as terminology, language, and negative stereotypes that may be considered racist, sexist, outdated, or exclusionary. This language was used by the people and organizations that created the material and reflects the period in which they were created. It should not be interpreted to mean that Center staff endorse or approve of the representations or stereotypes implied within. For more, please refer to the Center’s Statement on Language in Ransom Center Descriptive Records.