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Prepared by Dean Keller; Revised by Athena Salaba, March 12, 1996; Last Updated: May 2020
Inclusive Dates: 1920-1941
Extent: .16 cubic foot (1 slim document case)
Physical Location: 11th floor
Biographical Note: Richard Austin Freeman was born on April 11, 1862, in London, England and died September 28 (or 30), 1943, in Gravesend, Kent, England. A physician, educator, and author, Freeman began his medical training at Middlesex Hospital at the age of eighteen. He joined a medical expedition to Ashanti and Bontuku in 1889, in which he served as physician, navigator and naturalist. Nine years later he published his expedition experiences in Travels and Life in Ashanti and Jaman (1898). Freeman created for his mystery novels Dr. John Evelyn Thorndyke, a character whose work epitomized the use of scientific methods to solve crimes. Thorndyke was introduced in The Red Thumb Mark (1907).
Freeman's scientific knowledge was reflected in his work, and especially in The Mystery of Angelica Frood (1924), and The Shadow of the Wolf (1925). In his stories he gives primary emphasis in the means of detection rather than the discovery of the criminal. He reveals the criminal before presenting the detective's investigation and solution (inverted stories). Among his works are his first novel Golden Pool (1905), John Thorndyke's Cases (1909), The Mystery of 31 New Inn (1912), The Penrose Mystery (1936), Mr. Polton Explains (1940), etc. He also published the biological-sociological study Social Decay and Regeneration (1921).
Scope and Content: The collection includes letters to Vincent Starrett discussing Freeman's work, publications, and his hope to become better known in America. There are also two letters to P.M. Stone, and a letter from Vincent Starrett to David Borowitz presenting Freeman's autograph letters.
Arrangement: The collection is arranged in chronological order.
Acquisition Note: The collection was donated by Albert and Helen Borowitz in 1995.
Folder -- Contents