UNL Libraries
Archives & Special Collections | Finding Aids

Fred Ballard, Theater Scrapbooks

Title: Fred Ballard, Theater Scrapbooks

Creator: Ballard, John Frederick, 1884-1957

Dates: 1912-1957

Quantity: 2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)

Collection Number: MS 0138

Language: English

Restrictions: None

Access and Use: For information on access or copyright, please see our guidelines or email archives@unl.edu.

Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

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

Motion pictures

Lincoln (Neb.)

Chicago (Ill.)

New York (N.Y.)

Boston (Mass.)

University of Nebraska--Lincoln


Theater 20th century


Container List: 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, Xantippe," 1912 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.

If you have questions about the Archives & Special Collections, please email "archives@unl.edu."
Finding Aids | Archives & Special Collections | UNL Libraries | UNL Home
© University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries | Lincoln, NE 68588-4100 | 402-472-9568 |