Hutton was born in New York City and educated privately there. He was an inveterate traveler and for about 20 years spent his summers abroad. From about 1870 he contributed continually to periodicals. He was the dramatic critic of the New York Evening Mail from 1872 to 1874. From 1886 to 1898 he was the literary editor of Harper's Magazine. He was one of the organizers of the Authors' Club and of the International Copyright League, and was a member of the Players' Club, the Princeton Club, the Tiger Inn and the Nassau Club. An ardent collector of literary curiosities, his collections are of remarkable interest. In 1892 he received the degree of A.M. from Yale and in 1897 from Princeton.
Hutton died of pneumonia in New York City in 1904.
His writings on dramatic subjects include:
- Plays and Players (1875)
- Curiosities of the American Stage (1887)
- Memoir of Edwin Booth (1893)
- with Brander Matthews, Actors and Actresses of Great Britain and of the United States (1886–87)
He edited the American Actor Series (1881–82) and published a group of delightful literary guidebooks, including:
- Literary Landmarks of London (1887)
- Edinburgh (1892)
- Jerusalem (1895)
- Venice (1896)
- Florence (1897)
- Rome (1897)
- Literary Landmarks of the Scottish Universities (1904)
- "Laurence Hutton Dead," The New York Times, June 11, 1904, p. 9.
- "Hutton, Laurence (1843–1904)." In: New International Encyclopedia, Vol. 10. New York: Dodd, Mead, p. 352.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.
- Moore, Isabel (1905). Talks in a Library with Laurence Hutton. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons.
- Wood, M.E. (1905). Laurence and Eleanor Hutton: Their Books of Association. New York: Privately Printed.
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