This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.
This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.
|Size||0.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 250 items)|
|Abstract||Sam Byrd was an author, actor, and producer, of Mt. Olive, N.C. The collection is chiefly correspondence, clippings, and other material, 1940-1955, relating to Byrd's activities in the United States Navy in World War II; his novel, Hurry Home to My Heart (1945); the staging of an historical pageant in Duplin County, N.C., in 1949; and especially his proposed co-production, with Oliver Sayler, of stage adaptations of Edgar Lee Masters's Domesday Book and James Joyce's Ulysses in New York City, 1954-1955. Volumes include a photograph album and a European travel notebook, 1953.|
|Creator||Byrd, Sam, 1908-|
|Curatorial Unit||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.|
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Sam Byrd (1908-1955) was an author, actor, and producer. Byrd was born in Mt. Olive, N.C., and attended the University of Florida but dropped out to go to New York City, where he started with small roles in Broadway plays. He played the original Dude Lester, 1933-1936, in Tobacco Road and received the Literary Digest Award for Best Young Actor on Broadway for the 1933-1934 season. He was Curley in Of Mice and Men, 1937-1938, and at the same time produced Caldwell's Journeyman. In 1940 he produced Roark Bradford's dramatization of the John Henry stories, and in 1941 produced a play, Good Neighbor.
He published three books: Small Town South (1942); South Atlantic Shakedown (for the United States Navy in World War II) and Hurry Home to My Heart, following the Normandy landing; and two celebration pageants, "For Those who Live in the Sun," for the Jewish Congregation in Charleston, S.C., and "The Duplin Story" for Kenansville and Duplin County, N.C. At the time of his death he was working on two novels and dramatic productions of Edgar Lee Masters' Domesday Book and James Joyce's Ulysses.
His wife was Patricia Bolam. He first met her during World War II when she was a child, adopted her in 1946 when she was 12, brought her to his home Prospect Hill Plantation near Charleston, S.C., educated her at Ashley Hall there and in Paris and married her in 1951.Back to Top
The collection is chiefly correspondence, clippings, and other material, 1940-1955, relating to Byrd's activities in the United States Navy in World War II; his novel, Hurry Home to My Heart (1945); the staging of a historical pageant in Duplin County, N.C., in 1949; and especially his proposed co-production, with Oliver Sayler, of stage adaptations of Edgar Lee Masters's Domesday Book and James Joyce's Ulysses in New York City, 1954-1955. Volumes include a photograph album and a European travel notebook, 1953.
Correspondence, 1940-1949, deals with Samuel Byrd's naval affairs and his receipt of the Guggenheim Fellowships. There are items about Byrd's being an ensign and various military matters, 1942; his receiving the Bronze Star, 1946; and his being promoted to lieutenant commander, 1948. There is some material on Byrd's novel Hurry Home to My Heart, 1945, and publishers' opinions on a projected work, 1948. Correspondence in 1949 relates to Byrd's contributions to the Duplin County Historical Association's Bicentennial Celebration.
Material from 1950-1953 consists mainly of financial data. Byrd was in England and New York City during this time. Some of the most significant correspondence begins in 1954 and involves dramatic productions of Edgar Lee Masters' Domesday Book and James Joyce's Ulysses. Much of this correspondence consists of letters from Sayler to Byrd and exchanges between Sayler and Trevor Passmore. Plans for the productions are discussed extensively, 1954-1955, including matters of direction, casting, script-writing, and music. Padraic Colum wrote the outlines for the Joyce production, "Ulysses in Nighttown," and there are typescripts of his outlines for acts one and two, 1955. There is also comment in correspondence on the Joyce Trustees and their attitudes toward stage and film rights.
Items dated after Byrd's death in 1955 involve the Wayne Historical Society's commemoration of Byrd in the form of a speech delivered by William Bridges, in Mt. Olive, N.C., 1958, and correspondence with the University of North Carolina Library about the papers, 1971-1972.
Also included are clippings related to Byrd's stage career, marriage, and receipt of the Guggenheim fellowships; play programs, playbills, and bookjackets; photographs; a European travel notebook, 1953; and an original copy of "The Story of Duplin."Back to Top
Photographer: Leigh, New York, N.Y.
Bradford, Roark, circa 1940-1950 #03975, Series: "Sam Byrd Papers, 1904-1972 and undated." P-3975/53
Photographer: Lucas and Monroe
|Photograph Album PA-3975/1|
Processed by: SHC Staff
Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007
Updated by: Kate Stratton and Jodi Berkowitz, September 2009; Dawne Howard Lucas, July 2021
This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.Back to Top