Skip to main content

Marion Meade Buster Keaton Research Files

Identifier: msc0512

Scope and Contents

Biographer Marion Meade undertook to write a biography of Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton for publication timed to coincide with the centenary of the film star's birth in 1895. Meade researched the book for four years, interviewing some 200 people who had known or worked with Keaton, gathered published and unpublished photographs, and worked with Keaton collector Jack Dragga to compile a definitive filmography. The result of her work, Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase, was published by Harper Collins Publishers in 1995. It is an excellent introduction to the present collection, which consists of Meade's research files. They have been organized as follows: Series 1: Subject files, Child abuse to Research sources, files on individuals. Folders include photocopies, clippings, correspondence, notes, fragments of transcribed interviews. Boxes 1 -- 6. Series 2: Materials relating to persons interviewed. Boxes 7 -- 8. B. Keaton friends and family interviewed. Box 8. C. Miscellaneous. Box 8 . Series 3: Correspondence with Keaton researchers/writers. Box 9. B. Correspondence with others who knew or met Keaton. Box 10. Series 4: Chronological log notebook [of Keaton's life], 1895 to Posthumous; Files 1895 to 1966 [with notes and references]. Boxes 10 -- 14. Series 5: Publication materials for Cut to the Chase: correspondence: photo selections; book production files; reviews; letters received following publication. Box 15. Series 6: Meade's original typescript, pages [4] + 1 -- 702, 710 -- 795 (Box 16), and a later version with editorial marks indicating revisions and deletions (Box 17); Meade estimates that 40% if the manuscript was cut before publication. An uncorrected proof and copies of the US, UK and trade paperback editions have been cataloged to the "x" collection. Also typescripts from Kevin Brownlow, Joel Goss, Alan Hoffman, and Jason Scott. Boxes 17 -- 18. Series 7: Tape recordings of Meade's interviews. Boxes 19 -- 20. Series 8: Books about Keaton; Keaton videos. Box 21. The folder titles in this inventory are in nearly all cases taken directly from Meade's folder labels.


  • 1895-1997


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


10.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Research material compiled by Meade while writing the biography Buster Keaton Cut to the Case.

Method of Acquisition

This collection was donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by Marion Meade.

Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)