Biographical/historical: Editor, writer and translator, Max Eastman founded and edited The Masses (1913-1917), and The Liberator (1918-1922), and was an editor of the Reader's Digest from 1941.
He published 25 books on a variety of subjects including poetry, the psychology of literature and laughter, and critiques of Marxism. He also translated some of the works of Leon Trotsky and others and compiled and narrated a film history of the Russian Revolution. He was part of the Greenwich Village (N.Y.) leftist, intellectual and artistic circle in the 1910s and 1920s. During this time he met Florence Deshon, a stage and screen actress from Tacoma, Washington. He and Charlie Chaplin competed for her affections. She died of accidental gas asphyxiation in February 1922, despite a transfusion of Eastman's blood. Shortly thereafter, Eastman went to Russia to learn the language and study the Soviet system, but left after an early disillusionment with Stalin.
Content: The collection is primarily photographs of Eastman's silent film star friends, Charlie Chaplin and Florence Deshon.
It contains drawings (undated and unidentified) by Chaplin, personal and family photographs including ones he sent as Christmas cards (1968 and earlier), and negatives and prints from his The Kid (1921). The Deshon material consists primarily of photographs and clippings, particularly relating to her film, Jaffery (1916) with C. Aubrey Smith, and includes a letter from Smith and one (1919) from Samuel Goldwyn concerning her employment in his studio. The collection also contains photographs of Paulette Goddard and other film personalities, an Actors' Equity Benefit Program (1919) annotated by Eastman, and a copy of the Provincetown Plays (1916).