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Tarkington, Newton Booth (1870-1946) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Tarkington, Newton Booth (1870-1946)

Historical Note:

Booth Tarkington was a Purdue student, from the fall of 1890 - the spring of 1891. He then attended Princeton, where he graduated.

At Purdue he became a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. He was regarded more as a talented artist than as a writer in his college days at Purdue and contributed drawings both to the Purdue Exponent and the Debris. In later years, Mr. Tarkington visited the campus several times.

Tarkington was one of the most prolific writers of his generation. Often he worked from 6 a.m. until evening. Besides his novels he wrote many plays. Twice he won the Pulitzer prize for literature with his novels "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Alice Adams."

Among his best known works were "Seventeen," "The Gentleman from Indiana," "Penrod," and "Monsier Beaucaire." His play "The Man From Home" was a Broadway success. Many of his books were made into movies, and Tarkington who earned almost nothing in the first five years of his career, became rich.

In May, 1940, Purdue officially recognized his greatness by awarding him the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. He was too ill to come to the campus for the award, so the diploma was presented to him at his Indianapolis home by Dr. Edward C. Elliott, then president of the Purdue, who was accompanied by the Purdue trustees and a delegation of faculty members and alumni.


"Booth Tarkington Once Purdue Man, Lafayette Journal and Courier, May, 1946.

"Booth Tarkington's Death Widely Mourned; Beloved Writer Was Hoosier Born," Lafayette Journal and Courier, May 30, 1946, p. 1.

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