Edward Childs Carpenter

Edward Childs Carpenter (1872 - 1950) was an American writer of novels and plays and a stage director in the early through mid-20th century.[1][2]

Edward Childs Carpenter
Born(1872-12-13)December 13, 1872
DiedOctober 7, 1950(1950-10-07) (aged 77)
OccupationNovelist, playwright, director
Years active1903-1944


Carpenter was born December 13, 1872 (1874 per his gravestone[3]) at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,[4][5][2] a son of Edward Payson and Frances Bradley "Fanny" (née Childs) Carpenter, of the New England Rehoboth Carpenter family.[6][7]

After leaving school, Carpenter became a newspaperman and quickly rose to the position of financial editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer.[1][8] In 1903 he published his first novel, The Chasm, co-authored with Reginald Wright Kauffman,[1][9] which received favorable reviews.[10] On June 1, 1907, Carpenter married the illustrator Helen Alden Knipe; later they collaborated as writers.

Carpenter began writing plays while working at the Inquirer from 1905 to 1916, beginning with The Dragon Fly in 1905 (with Luther Long), followed by a dramatization of his own 1906 novel Captain Courtesy,[2] which was later made into a silent film of the same title, Captain Courtesy. His longest-running plays were The Cinderella Man in 1916, with 192 performances, The Bachelor Father in 1928, with 264 performances (later made into a film, The Bachelor Father), and Whistling in the Dark, co-authored with Laurence Gross, in 1932, with 144 performances (also later made into a film, Whistling in the Dark).[2]

From 1924 to 1927, Carpenter was president of the Dramatists' Theatre, Inc. In 1922, he became the second elected president of the Dramatists Guild of America. He was re-elected in 1929 continuing on as the Guild's fifth president until 1935.[2] He was a member of the Franklin Inn Club in Philadelphia,[11] and The Players and The Lambs clubs in New York City.

Carpenter died in Torrington, Connecticut[12] on October 7, 1950.[3][4][5] He and his wife, writer and illustrator Helen Alden (née Knipe) Carpenter, are interred in Town Hill Cemetery in New Hartford, Connecticut.[5][3][13]


Year Title Genre
1903 The Chasm Book (with Reginald Wright Kauffman)
1905 The Dragon Fly Play (with John Luther Long)
1906 Captain Courtesy: A Tale of Southern California Book (Illustrated by Elenore Plaisted Abbott)
1906 Remembrance Play
1907 The Code of Victor Jallot; a Romance of Old New Orleans Book (Illustrated by Elenore Plaisted Abbott)
1909 The Barber of New Orleans Play
1911 The Challenge Play
1912 The Easy Mark Book
1913 The Tongues of Men Play
1916 The Cinderella Man Play
1916 The Cinderella Man, A Romance of Youth Book (with Helen Knipe Carpenter)
1917 The Pipes of Pan Play
1917 The Three Bears Play
1920 Bab (dramatization of the novel by Mary Roberts Rinehart) Play, Comedy
1921 Pot Luck Play, Comedy
1923 Connie Goes Home Play, Comedy
1926 Scotch Mist Play, Comedy
1928 The Bachelor Father Play
1932 Whistling in the Dark Play, Farce, Melodrama
1933 Melody Play, Musical, Romance
1934 Order Please Play, Comedy
1942 Shylock's Daughter Play, Drama (with Helen Knipe Carpenter)[14]
1942 Queen of the South; from Ancient Rabbinical & Persian Legends Play[15]
1944 Public Relations Play


  1. Oxford Reference: OVERVIEW Edward Childs Carpenter (1872—1950), http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095551917, accessed 2 Mar 2018.
  2. James Fisher: "Carpenter, Edward Childs (1872-1950)" in The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater, http://american_theatre.enacademic.com/225/Carpenter%2C_Edward_Childs, accessed 2 Mar 2018.
  3. Jan Franco: Find A Grave Memorial 109641, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10964441/edward-childs-carpenter, added 15 May 2005.
  4. Internet Broadway Database: Edward Childs Carpenter, Director, Writer, https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/edward-childs-carpenter-5263, accessed 2 Mar 2018.
  5. Internet Movie Database: Biography, Edward Childs Carpenter, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0139321/bio, accessed 2 Mar 2018.
  6. Amos B. Carpenter: Genealogical History of the Rehoboth Branch of the Carpenter Family in America, Carpenter & Morehouse, Amherst, Mass., 1898, p. 676, erroneously listed as Edward Payson Carpenter (Jr.).
  7. Who's Who Among North American Authors, The Golden Syndicate Publishing Company, Los Angeles, Calif., 1921, Vol. 1, p. 38, https://books.google.com/books?id=HKFJAAAAYAAJ, accessed 4 Mar 2018.
  8. Albert Nelson Marquis: Who's Who in America, Volume VII, 1912-1913, A. N. Marquis & Company, Chicago, Ill., 1912, p. 335, https://books.google.com/books?id=v4MGW6mbi0QC, accessed 3 Mar 2018.
  9. The Online Books Page: Online Books by Edward Childs Carpenter, http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Carpenter%2C%20Edward%20Childs%2C%201872-1950, accessed 2 Mar 2018.
  10. Author information and review of The Chasm in The Reader Magazine, Vol. III, No. 1, December, 1903, p. 4, https://books.google.com/books?id=_b9NAQAAMAAJ, accessed 3 Mar 2018.
  11. "Just Gossip" column in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, June 2, 1907, Vol. 156, Issue no. 153, p. 8.
  12. Connecticut Death Index: Edward Childs Carpenter, accessed 2 Mar 2018.
  13. Jan Franco: Find A Grave Memorial 10964433, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/10964433/helen-carpenter, added 15 May 2005.
  14. The Library of Congress Copyright Office: Catalog of Copyright Entries, Published by Authority of the Acts of Congress of March 3, 1891, of June 30, 1906, and of March 4, 1909, Part 1, Group 3, Dramatic Compositions, Motion Pictures, New Series, Vol. 39, Pt. I, No. 1, 1942, https://archive.org/stream/catalogofcopyrig15libr#page/8/mode/2up/search/Carpenter, p. 8, accessed 4 Mar 2018.
  15. The Library of Congress Copyright Office: Catalog of Copyright Entries, Published by Authority of the Acts of Congress of March 3, 1891, of June 30, 1906, and of March 4, 1909, Part 1, Group 3, Dramatic Compositions, Motion Pictures, New Series, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1942, https://archive.org/stream/catalogofcopyrig15libr#page/8/mode/2up/search/Carpenter, p. 255, accessed 4 Mar 2018.
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