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American Literature Archival Collections in USC Special Collections: Rupert Hughes

Guide to the collections of American Literature held by USC Libraries Department of Special Collections

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Rupert Hughes was born in Lancaster, Missouri, on January 31, 1872, and grew up in Keokuk, Iowa. He attended the Western Reserve Academy, and received a BA from Adelbert College, Cleveland, in 1892, and a MA from Yale University in 1893. His writing career began with a book for boys which was serialized in the highly regarded St. Nicholas magazine, and he was assistant editor for several magazines. He eventually wrote more than fifty books, including a well-received biography of George Washington. Hughes served in the New York National Guard during the Spanish-American War, as a captain in the Mexican border service in 1916, and in the infantry in WWI. He was active in the formation of the California State Guard in 1940, and was commander of the Second Regiment from 1941-43. He was an influential American writer on music and composed piano pieces and songs. More than fifty movies were written and/or directed by Hughes or were based upon his stories and novels.  Howard Hughes was his nephew.  He founded and served for decades as president of the Hollywood Writers Club, and also headed the Screen Playwrights, the American Writers Association, and the Authors' League of America. He died in Los Angeles September 9, 1956.

Image is cropped from a photograph from the Library of Congress's George Grantham Bain collection.

Collection Overview

The Rupert Hughes papers contain the archives of the novelist, biographer, screenwriter and director, and musicologist, including subject files, manuscripts and draft typescripts, correspondence, published articles, and personal memorabilia. Much of the material is heavily annotated or corrected, and several of the items are present in two or three versions. The collection also contains four large bundles of manuscript and typescript produced by Rupert Hughes in the writing of his biography of George Washington, including the first eight chapters of the work's unpublished fourth volume in heavily revised typescript form.