Searle Dawley
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James Dawley (1877 - 1949)

James (Searle) Dawley
Born in Del Norte, Rio Grande County, Coloradomap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 14 Jun 1918 in Denver, Coloradomap
Died at age 71 in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles County, Californiamap
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Profile last modified | Created 18 Apr 2009
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Notables Project
Searle Dawley is Notable.
Searle Dawley was a Coloradan.
Searle Dawley was a Californian.

James Searle Dawley an American film director, producer, screenwriter, stage actor, and playwright was born on 13 May 1877 in Del Norte, Colorado. He was the son of James Dawley and Angela Searle

While film direction and screenwriting comprised the bulk of James' career, he began working theater, performing on stage for more than a decade and managing every aspect of stagecraft. James wrote at least 18 plays as well for repertory companies and for several Broadway productions.

From 1907 to the mid-1920s, James worked for Edison, Rex Motion Picture Company, Famous Players, Fox, and other studios, during which time he directed more than 300 short films and 56 features, featuring such now-legendary stars as Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Pearl White, Marguerite Clark, Harold Lloyd, and John Barrymore. He also wrote scenarios for many of his productions, including one for his 1910 horror film Frankenstein, the earliest known screen adaptation of Mary Shelley's 1818 novel.

On June 14, 1918, James married Grace Owens Givens, in Denver Colorado. The couple remained together over 30 years, until James' death.[1]


1910 United States Federal Census: Bronx Assembly District 35, New York, New York, United States [2]
Name Sex Age Status Relation Occupation Birth Place
J Searle Dawley M 32 Single Head Colorado
Angela Dawley F 63 Widowed Mother Ohio
Hubert S Dawley M 36 Married Son Illinois

James' died March 30, 1949, of undisclosed causes, at the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills in Los Angeles, California. He was 79 years old. A memorial service was held for him three days later in Los Angeles, followed by the inurnment of his ashes in the columbarium at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory. Silent film star and producer Mary Pickford and director Walter Lang, who early in his career was an assistant to Dawley, were among those who spoke at the service. [3] He was buried in the Chapel Of The Pines Crematory, in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA Find A Grave: Memorial #199199765.

After his death, Grace Dawley donated a selection of her his personal papers, scrapbooks, and several of his Edison production scripts to the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California.


  1. Marriage: "Colorado Statewide Marriage Index, 1853-2006" Citing no. 69575, State Archives, Denver; FHL microfilm 1,690,068. FamilySearch Record: KNQ9-VJ7 (accessed 13 June 2022) FamilySearch Image: 33S7-9B24-CWB
  2. 1910 Census: "United States Census, 1910"
    Citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1635, sheet 7A, family 116, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1003; FHL microfilm 1,375,016.
    FamilySearch Record: M5HC-652 (accessed 13 June 2022)
    FamilySearch Image: 33SQ-GRVS-8MY Image number 00997
    J Searle Dawley (32), single head of household in Bronx Assembly District 35, New York, New York, United States. Born in Colorado.
  3. Death: "California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994"
    Citing Record number: 0;
    FamilySearch Record: QP7W-D24M (accessed 13 June 2022)
    FamilySearch Image: 3QSQ-G9SV-9DPN Image number 00281
    J Searle Dawley death 29 Mar 1949 (age 71) in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States.

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