• Eugene O'Neill at Tao House

    Eugene O'Neill

    National Historic Site California

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  • Eugene O'Neill NHS Reduces Days Open

    We will be closed for tours Mondays through Thursdays. Guided tours by reservation are on Fridays and Sundays at 10 & 2. Our self-guided Saturdays Without Reservations shuttle pick-up will be at 205 Railroad Ave., Danville, at 10:15 AM, 12:15 & 2:15 PM.

Nobel Prize for Literature

Eugene O'Neill's 1936 Nobel Prize for Literature

Nobel Prize

In 1936, Eugene O'Neill was the first American playwright to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The Nobel Prize is the highest international recognition given to honor the creativity of the human mind.

On November 12, 1936, O'Neill received word that he had won the Nobel Prize while living in Seattle, Washington. At the time, he was not able to go to Stockholm to receive the award, but did write the acceptance speech. On February 17, 1937, O'Neill received his Nobel Certificate while in Oakland Merritt Hospital.

After O'Neill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936, the demands on the famous playwright became even greater. He wanted only time and solitude to write his plays while he was still healthy. Tao House and Carlotta's protectiveness were what he needed. "He doesn't like giving out energy," she wrote, "that could be, and should be, kept for his work." O'Neill was temporarily discouraged by World War II, believing the theatre frivolous in the face of the world's "tragic drama," but was soon working again, observing, "You can't keep a hophead off his dope for long."

English Translation:

The Swedish Academy
at its meeting of 12 November 1936
in accordance with the provisions of the will of
Alfred Nobel
of 27 November 1895
has determined to award the
1936 Nobel Prize for Literature to

Eugene O'Neill
for the power, honesty and
deep-felt emotions of his dramatic works,
which embody an original concept of tragedy

Stockholm 10 December 1936

Did You Know?

Greta Garbo in the 1930 MGM film based on O'Neill's play

Greta Garbo made her talking picture debut in the 1930 MGM version of O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize winning play “Anna Christie.”