Skip to main content

Ballard, John Frederick, 1884-1957



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 the John Craig, Harvard Prize and 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."

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

John Frederick Ballard, Theater Scrapbooks

Identifier: MS-0138
Scope and Contents This 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...
Dates: 1912-1957