Bird, Mary Mayer. Life of Robert Montgomery Bird. Edited by C. Seymour Thompson. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Library, 1945. An incomplete biography by Bird’s wife that ends two years before his death. The fragments of her manuscript have been pieced together and augmented by letters and documents. A straightforward, modest account.
Dahl, Curtis. Robert Montgomery Bird. New York: Twayne, 1963. Places Bird’s work in context. Dahl concludes that although Bird was successful in writing for the theater, he never produced any drama of lasting literary value. Includes a chronology, an annotated bibliography, and an index.
Foust, Clement E. The Life and Dramatic Works of Robert Montgomery Bird. New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1919. The standard biography. The majority of the book discusses Bird’s life and works after the dispute with Edwin Forrest that drove him from the theater. Includes a genealogy, a bibliography, and the complete texts of four major plays.
Hoppenstand, Gary. “Justified Bloodshed: Robert Montgomery Bird’s Nick of the Woods and the Origins of the Vigilante Hero in American Literature and Culture.” Journal of American Culture 15, no. 2 (1992). A provocative reading of Bird’s most enduring literary achievement.
Richards, Jeffrey H. Early American Drama. New York: Penguin Books, 1997. Richards presents and discusses eight pre-Civil War plays, including Bird’s The Gladiator.
Samuels, Shirley. Romances of the Republic: Women, the Family, and Violence in the Literature of the Early American Nation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. An examination of early American literature that examines Bird’s works as well as those of many others.
Stewart, Margaret E. “Nick of the Woods and Gone with the Wind: Racism, Literature, and the American Chivalric Myth.” Markham Review 12 (Fall, 1982). Another provocative reading.
Wert, Justin R. “Robert Montgomery Bird.” In Nineteenth Century American Fiction Writers, edited by Kent P. Ljungquist. Vol. 202 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit, Mich.: The Gale Group, 1999.
Wilson, Garff B. Three Hundred Years of American Drama. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1973. Briefly recounts Bird’s life and the association of his plays with Edwin Forrest. Describes Bird’s five major plays, with primary consideration given to The Broker of Bogotá. Contains a photograph of Forrest portraying Febro.
Winston, Robert P. “Bird’s Bloody Romance: Nick of the Woods.” Southern Studies 23, no. 1 (1984). Provides another provocative reading.