Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was born on October 16, 1888 in New York City. He was the youngest of three sons born to James O'Neill who was an actor and Mary Ellen Quinlan (Ella) who followed her husband all around the country. He had two older brothers - James Jr. and Edmund Burke O'Neill. Before Eugene was born, his mother had gone to Denver to be with James Sr. and while gone she left he boys with her mother where they contracted measles and Edmund died. Ella blamed James Jr. saying he purposefully gave his brother the disease and caused his death. James Jr. was sent to boarding school and she never wanted children again. However, Eugene was born in a hotel and spent his early youth in hotel rooms, on trains and backstage. After his birth, his mother was prescribed morphine and this became a life-long addiction cause Eugene much insecurity and anxiety. Once, he walked in on his mother giving herself an injection. James Sr. later took her to the stage with him where she would just sit in a drug-induced stupor. Later, Eugene was educated in Catholic boarding schools and summers at home. He attended Princeton for one year in 1906-07 and then left to start his life experience which nearly proved fatal as he went to sea, lived a derelict's existence, drank and attempted suicide. After living in a sanatorium when he was recuperating from tuberculosis, he turned to what he knew best - the stage and started writing. Many of Eugene O'Neill's plays are derived around his mother's life.
|His Father's Portrait|
|Such tiny writing!!|
After his death, Carlotta wanted his most famous play, Long Day's Journey into Night to be published, but the publisher refused because Eugene had placed a 25 year hold on that play to be published. The crux of the play was that it was his life. However, Carlotta, being nearly destitute told the publishers that Eugene has always said, "It was the ace in the hole" for their older life. Well, the play was given critical acclaim and also helped Carlotta live under her death in 1970 and it was given a Pulitzer Prize posthumously.
Next, we entered into the main living room. Notice the area where a large window should be overlooking the valley. Carlotta was very sensitive to light so she had that bricked in.
These room are on the one wing of the house. Next we ventured upstairs to Carlotta's bedroom.
Eugene's bedroom was next door. This was his bed - a Chinese coffee table! They even have a pair of his boxer shorts on display!! An interesting note: Most of the furniture in the home came from Gump's furniture makers in San Francisco. After O'Neill's death, Gump's took back most of the furnishings - as was the clause - but Katherine Hepburn, being part of O'Neill's Foundation, wrote a letter to Gumps: "Dear Gump, What can I give you to sell back the bed? Think and be kind; you are Gump's". Thanks to that letter, Gump's returned the bed to the O'Neill home and O'Neill foundation.
|Eugene O'Neill's Bed|
|Our tour guide, Alan Hill|
|You can see how Eugene O'Neill's handwriting changed over the years.|
Once we concluded here, we were free to roam around the grounds for about 15-20 minutes. Here are a few from the backyard and land. The other lady walked over to the pool.
From here I decided to photograph the courtyard because of what the tour guide said about Carlotta making paths causing you to walk slowly in the garden and not be rushed. I loved looking in all the nooks and cranny's of the yard.
|This is a small gardener's cottage that is now used by the Eugene O'Neill Foundation|
for those who would like to spend time writing in peace and solitude.