Fred Ballard, Theater Scrapbooks
Title: Fred Ballard, Theater
Creator: Ballard, John Frederick, 1884-1957
boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Collection Number: MS 0138
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Preferred Citation: Fred Ballard, Theater Scrapbooks (MS 0138). Archives & Special Collections,
University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.
John Frederick (Fred) Ballard was born in Grafton, Nebraska, in 1884 and moved with his
parents to Havelock, Nebraska, in 1891. Ballard enrolled at the University of Nebraska in
1900 and graduated in 1905 with a Bachelor's degree in Literature. He completed a Master's
degree in English Literature in 1907. His thesis was entitled "The
History and Tendancy of American Drama." After college he moved to Chicago on the
advice of playwright Charles Klein to work in theaters and study the theater industry in
order to become a playwright. Ballard's experience in Chicago gave him an idea of how
successful plays were written, acted, and produced. Shortly thereafter he wrote "Believe me, Xantippe," a play that won Harvard's John Craig
Prize, would eventually star actor John Barrymore on Broadway, and become a motion picture.
Ballard also earned another Master's degree from Harvard. He continued to write plays and
many eventually became movies. Some of his more successful plays were: "Believe me, Xantippe," "Young
America," "Ladies of the Jury," "What's Wrong," "We, the
People," "A Rainy Day," "Out of Luck," "The Cyclone
Lover," and "Dollars and Chickens."
Scope and Content:
The collection consists mostly of scrapbooks containing newspaper articles, programs, and
photographs from and about Ballard's plays. The plays represented are "Believe me, Xantippe," "Young
America," and "Ladies of the Jury." There is one
small file of biographical materials, one file of correspondence, and one file containing
legal descriptions of real estate in Kansas City, Missouri. Also included are photographs of
scenes from his plays, which include scenes with actor John Barrymore.
Ballard, John Frederick, 1884-1957
Barrymore, John, 1882-1942
New York (N.Y.)
University of Nebraska--Lincoln
Theater 20th century
Box 1. Folder 1. Correspondence, 1946-1952
Box 1. Folder 2. Legal matters, real estate document
Box 1. Folder 3. Biographical materials
Box 1. Folder 4. Scrapbook, "Believe Me, Xantippe," 1912
Box 1. Folder 5. Scrapbook, "Believe Me, Xantippe," 1912
Box 2. Folder 1. Photographs, "Believe Me,
Box 2. Folder 2. Scrapbook, "Ladies of the Jury," 1929
Box 2. Folder 3. Photograph album, "Young America," 1915
Box 2. Folder 4. Photograph album, "Young America," 1915
Related Material and Resources: Ballard's thesis and other published work can be found by searching the University of
Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries on-line
catalog. There is also correspondence in the Mari Sandoz papers, Spec MS 80 and
the Erwin H. Barbour papers, RG 32/01/01.