The collection consists of business and personal letters, photographs, newspaper clippings, and manuscripts of published and unpublished works by Bacheller. It also contains material on some of the people about whom Bacheller wrote, such as Philo Scott and Jane Gentry.
Born in Pierrepont, NY, and a graduate of St. Lawrence University, Bacheller was a best-selling turn-of-the-century author who later founded the Bacheller Syndicate which introduced several major authors, e.g. Stephen Crane, to American readers. His final career was that of circuit lecturer for the J. B. Pond Lyceum Bureau. Bacheller spent his final years in Winter Park, FL, home of Rollins College.
Although Bacheller was appointed Sunday editor of The New York World under Joseph Pulitzer in 1898, he discontinued his journalistic work in 1900, for he had found a new interest to which he wanted to devote all his time -- writing fiction. His first book, Master of Silence had been published in 1892, followed by Still House of O'Darrow in 1894. However, it was not until he became a full-time writer that his real success began -- with the best seller Eben Holden published in 1900.
His fame as a novelist placed him in demand, and he joined the lecture circuit, with James Pond as his agent, reading selections from his novels, essays and short stories. Also, he served as a war correspondent during the First World War in France.
Bacheller was always interested in education and young people. He served on the boards of trustees of both St. Lawrence University and Rollins College in Florida. He also established the Irving Bacheller Contest, an essay and oratorical contest for Florida high school students, and endowed a professorship of creative writing at Rollins College. He received two honorary masters degrees from St. Lawrence and honorary doctorates from St. Lawrence, Middlebury College, and Rollins College.