Log In | Contact Us| View Cart (0)
Browse: Collections Digital Content Subjects Creators Record Groups

Mary Aldis Collection


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Photographs, Lake Forest Players

"More Plays For Small Stages Translated, adapted, dramatized From the French by Mary Aldis"


Contact us about this collection

Mary Aldis Collection, 1910-1949 | Lake Forest College Archives and Special Collections

Printer-friendly Printer-friendly | Email Us Contact Us About This Collection

Collection Overview

Title: Mary Aldis Collection, 1910-1949Add to your cart.

ID: SC/012

Creator: Aldis, Mary, b. 1872 (1872-1949)

Extent: 2.0 Boxes. More info below.

Arrangement: The play scripts, in folders with the original binders, are in a standard 5" Hollinger box.  The large photos, with the reel of microfilm, are in a one flat box.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1990. More info below under Accruals.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The collection consists of three main series of materials that supplement other cataloged holdings relating to Mary Aldis, her family, her estate, her literary work, and her Lake Forest Players/Playhouse.  The first series consists of a small group of five large format photographs, plus one smaller view, of plays at her playhouse.  The second series is a collection of unpublished translations of French one-act plays, written for production and acting by amateurs.  The third series is a reel of microfilm of two scrapbooks of the Aldis Playhouse, the originals held by the Chicago History Museum.

Biographical Note

Mary Reynolds Aldis, wife of Chicago developer Arthur Aldis, wrote one-act plays, poetry, and painted in watercolor. Born in Chicago and educated at St. Mary’s School in Knoxville, IL, she married her husband in 1892. After moving to Lake Forest in 1902, she occupied an estate on the southeast corner of Deerpath Rd and Green Bay Rd. She and her husband added and then converted a cottage on their property into an amateur playhouse which opened on June 11, 1911.

The Aldises were considered pioneers in amateur and community theater in Chicago. Mary’s Lake Forest summer playhouse ran full seasons until 1915 and ended by 1920. The playhouse put on plays by both amateur and professional playwrights and reflected Mary’s tastes as a writer, translator, and dramatist.

Aldis worked to support women's rights and other progressive causes. She, at times, lived independently from her husband and died in 1949 in Milwaukee.

Administrative Information

Accruals: The collection was received at three different times.

Alternate Extent Statement: 2 boxes

Acquisition Source: Lake Forest Library, Estate of Herman Dunlop Smith, Babette F. Inglehart

Acquisition Method: The Mary Aldis Collection came from three sources during the 1980’s. The photographs were donated after the death of Herman D. Smith. The Lake Forest Library transferred the collection of unpublished play scripts. The microfilm was donated by Babette F. Inglehart.

Related Materials:

The Blanche Mason Tellis papers, donated by the late Phyllis Peter Schrock of Lake Forest and a former College staff member, include periodical issues including one with an article on the Aldis Compound.

The Trimmed Lamp, a Periodical of Life and Art, v. V (5), June 1915-May 1916, includes two poems by Mary Aldis, "The Park Bench" (July 1916, 22-24) and "My Secret" (September 1916, 53), correspondence  questioning her poetry as such in "The Park Bench," her reply, her appointment with Harriet Monroe to a judging panel for a December 1916 poetry prize, and her lengthy Jan. 1916 (125-27) letter reporting on the contest, her statement on the art of poetry.  She is also defended by Eunice Tietjens in Sept. 1915, 59.

Related Publications:

Aldis, Mary, b. 1872.  Drift.  New York: Duffield & Company, 1918. </span>

Aldis, Mary (Reynolds), Mrs.  Plays for Small Stages.  New York: Duffield, 1915.  reprinted 1922.

At the Goodman Theatre : an exhibition in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of Chicago’s oldest producing theatre, October 12, 1985-January 11, 1986 / by Sheila Ryan; sponsored by the Special Collections Division, Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall, The Chicago Public Library Cultural Center. Chicago: 1985, 31 pp.

Browne, Maurice, 1881-1955. Too Late to Lament, an Autobiography.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1956 (orig. publ. London: Gollancz, 1955).

Coventry, Kim, Daniel Meyer, and Arthur H. Miller.  Classic Country Estates of Lake Forest, Architecture and Landscape Design: 1856-1940.  New York: W.W. Norton, 2003.

Ingelhart, Babette F. "Mary Aldis" in Women Building Chicago 1790-1990 : a Biographical Dictionary / editors, Rima Lunin Schultz, Adele Hast ; associate editors, Carolyn De Swarte Gifford ... [et al.].  Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 2001. 

Kimbrel, Dawn K.  The Aldis Compound. Lake Forest: Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society, 1994, 44 pp.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Photographs, Lake Forest Players, 1910s],
[Series 2: "More Plays For Small Stages Translated, adapted, dramatized From the French by Mary Aldis", ca. 1918-1920s],
[Series 3: Microfilm],

Series 1: Photographs, Lake Forest Players, 1910sAdd to your cart.
Five large-format (professional) photographs, black and white, which represent scenes of plays acted by Lake Forest Players at Mary Aldis's playhouse.
Box 2Add to your cart.
Item 1: View of scene on stage, "a (tragic play) by Floyd Dell", 1910sAdd to your cart.

Photograph, black and white, 14" by 10.5".

"John Root, Mrs. Charles Hubbard, Martyn Johnson in ? a (tragic play) by Floyd Dell"

The stage background, wallpaper and satin drapes, show a stylized garden mixed flower border pattern.

Item 2: View of scene on stage, "'Le village' by Octave Feuillet", 1910s?Add to your cart.

Photograph, balck and white, in matboard.

"Le Village by Octave Feuillet"

"left to right Frances Shaw (Mrs. Howard Shaw) John Root, Mr. Baggot, Martha Atkinson, M. - - ?"

Item 3: View of scene on stage, "a play by Charles Mather adapted from a short story by Charles Collins", ca. 1916-19Add to your cart.

"Charles mather and ? (Lake Forest University Students) in a play by Charles Mather adapted from a short story by Charles Collins"

Stamped "Photo by International News Service" and, in pencil, "Compliments of HV Lee."

Item 4: View of scene on stage, [in a play, perhaps "Tradition"] "by George Middleton", ca. 1913.Add to your cart.
"Cissy Gizishka, Peggy Barnes (center) (Margaret Ayer Barnes) later-a well-known playwright, Dorr Bradley in ? by George Middleton"
Item 5: View of a scene on stage, "Mary and Rose in By Products", 1912Add to your cart.

Photograph, black and white, 6" x 9" in matboard. Under the image, "Mary and Rose in By Products."

"Cissy Gizicka and Helen Poole in By-Products by Jo Patterson"

Stamped "Frederic H Wagner, Dearborn Ave. and Huron St. Chicago"

Series 2: "More Plays For Small Stages Translated, adapted, dramatized From the French by Mary Aldis", ca. 1918-1920sAdd to your cart.
English-language translations of French one act plays, principally by Mary Aldis.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Translations by Mary Aldis of One-Act French Plays [List]Add to your cart.
Folder 2: More Plays for Small Stages Vol 1Add to your cart.

The Pocket Book

The Helpmeet


The Village

Which One?

The Wanderer


The Miracle

Lady Madeleine

Folder 3: More Plays for Small Stages Vol I (incomplete)Add to your cart.

The Helpmeet

The Brothers

The Village

The Wanderer (2 copies)


Lady Madeleine (3 copies)

Folder 4: More Plays for Small Stages Vol IIAdd to your cart.

The Grasshopper

Smoldering Fire

The Professor's Wife

A Country Doctor

The Red Inn

Two Timid Ones

Central 640

The Lord's Prayer

The Recognition

The Bachelor

Folder 5: More Plays for Small Stages Vol II (incomplete)Add to your cart.

A Country Doctor (2 copies)

The Red Inn

Two Timid Ones

Central 640

The Recognition (2 copies)

Series 3: MicrofilmAdd to your cart.
Microfilm of two scrapbooks, the originals held by the Chicago Historical Museum, of the Aldis Playhouse
Box 2Add to your cart.
Item 1: MicrofilmAdd to your cart.

Page Generated in: 0.214 seconds (using 262 queries).
Using 7.21MB of memory. (Peak of 7.35MB.)

Powered by Archon Version 3.20
Copyright ©2011 The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign