Yale Celebrates J.M. Barrie, Author of Peter Pan

Manuscripts, photographs, documents and artifacts from the Beinecke’s collections will serve to exemplify Barrie’s creative life and the breadth of his work. A series of films based on Barrie’s plays will be shown on Sunday afternoons in February at the Yale Center for British Art. See attached schedule for the series.

Mainly known today as the author of “Peter Pan: The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up,” Barrie was a celebrity in England and America at the turn of the 20th century for his novels, plays and journalism, beginning with his fictionalized memoirs of his childhood in Scotland, “Auld Licht Idylls,” and continuing through stage successes such as “Quality Street” and “The Admirable Crichton.”

Barrie took his inspiration for “Peter Pan” from the young Llewelyn Davies brothers and their mother. Premiering in December 1904, the play assured Barrie permanent popularity. The story of Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family also entered the realm of legend, explored most recently in the movie “Finding Neverland.”

The Beinecke Library holds a significant collection of manuscripts, letters and personal effects of J.M. Barrie, the majority of which was collected by Walter Beinecke, Jr., son of one of the three brothers who built and endowed the Library.

In observance of the 100th anniversary of the premiere of “Peter Pan” and as a tribute to the late Walter Beinecke, the Library will display some of its most treasured Barrie items, among them: a manuscript of Barrie’s first play, “Bandelero the Bandit”; personal photographs; Barrie’s key to Kensington Gardens; and the sole surviving copy of “The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island,” Barrie’s record of the Llewelyn Davies boys’ adventures, created from his photographs. Also included are Barrie’s notes for a “fairy play;” manuscripts of “The Little White Bird,” with the first appearance of Peter Pan; a rare toy theater of “Peter Pan”; and promotional material related to the play.

The Beinecke Library is open for exhibition viewing Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Peter Pan Film Festival at the Yale British Art Center

The following is the schedule for the Sunday Peter Pan film series at the Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel St., in conjunction with the J.M. Barrie exhibition currently at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library:

February 6
“Peter Pan” (1924) The original Peter Pan film. 102 minutes, Director: Herbert Brenon. Not rated. This silent version, starring Betty Bronson as Peter, was one of the most popular films of the early cinema. Restored with a new orchestral score.

February 13
Double Feature!
“Male and Female” (1919)
102 minutes. Director: Cecil B. DeMille. Not rated.
This silent adaptation of Barrie’s “The Admirable Crichton” shows off DeMille’s newest star at the time, Gloria Swanson.

“We’re Not Dressing” (1934)
77 minutes. Director: Norman Taurog. Not rated.
Bing Crosby and Carole Lombard star in this looser, musical adaptation of “Crichton.” The plot concerns the reversal of class roles when an heiress’s yacht gets stranded on a deserted island. George Burns and Gracie Allen are among the stars who appear in this film. This second feature will start at 3:15 p.m.

February 27
“Peter Pan ” (2003)
114 minutes Director: P.J. Hogan. Rated PG.
The most recent live action film adaptation of the classic story features Jeremy Sumpter as Peter and Jason Isaacs as Captain Hook. The film remains faithful to the original story.

Unless otherwise indicated, films start at 1 p.m. All films are free and open to the public.

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345