On this day in 1904, the play Peter Pan, by James Barrie, opens at the Duke of York’s Theater in London.
Barrie was born in 1860 and studied at the University of Edinburgh. He worked as a reporter for the Nottingham Journal for two years after college. He moved to London in 1885 and became a freelance writer. His first collection of sketches, Auld Licht Idylls, was published in 1888 and became a success, followed by an account of his days working in newspapers, called When a Man’s Single. He published a collection of stories in 1889 and a bestselling novel, The Little Minister, in 1891.
The Little Minister was dramatized in 1897, and Barrie shifted his focus from prose to drama, enjoying a series of successes. In 1904, he wrote Peter Pan. Although he wrote many other plays, few are still performed today, and none had the staying power of Peter Pan. In 1913, he was made a baronet and in 1922 received the Order of Merit. He became president of the Society of Authors in 1928 and chancellor of the University of Edinburgh in 1930. Barrie died in London in 1937.