Eugene O'Neill

Monte Cristo Cottage

The Monte Cristo Cottage was the summer home of actor James and Ella O’Neill and their family. Much of the remaining months of the year the family followed James theatrical tours, staying in hotels or boarding houses. Later the boys were sent to boarding schools, so summers in New London were the time for a more settled existence and the one place Eugene O'Neill felt "at home".

Ella O’Neill had friends and family in New London when they decided to summer in the city in 1884. They moved into the Monte Cristo Cottage in 1900 and while Ella was never happy in the house, it made a lasting impression on young Eugene. It is the central feature in his 1956 Pulitzer Prize winning play, Long Day’s Journey Into Night. His 1933 masterpiece, Ah, Wilderness! is set in New London on the 4th of July and features thinly disguised local people. Other of his plays have featured character sketches and inspired the setting for the action. This list includes: Bread and Butter (1914), The First Man (1921), Desire Under the Elms (1924), The Great God Brown (1926), Strange Interlude (1928) Mourning Becomes Electra (1931) The Emperor Jones (1924), and A Moon for the Misbegotten (1947).

…From Touring Eugene O’Neill’s New London by Robert Richter