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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Margaret Thomsen Raymond papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1916-1976
Creator: Raymond, Margaret Thomsen (1900-1985)
Extent: 2.25 linear feet.
Collection Number: IWA0177
Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Summary: Author and editor of children's books and poetry.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

Access: The papers are open for research.

Use: Copyright held by the donor has not been transferred to The University of Iowa.

Acquisition: The papers (donor no. 256) were donated by the Burlington Public Library in 1995.

Preferred Citation: Margaret Thomsen Raymond papers, Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.

Repository: Iowa Women's Archives
Address: 100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5068
Curator: Kären Mason

Margaret Thomsen Raymond, young adult author, was born in Baltimore on July 4, 1900. She lived in Boston and Philadelphia and graduated from the Friends' Select School in Philadelphia. She also attended Columbia University. Her early career was as an editor, working at P.F. Volland & Company in Joliet, Illinois, and serving as associate editor for the 1939 and 1942 editions of Childcraft for the Quarrie Company in Chicago.

During the 1930s and early 1940s she published four books for older girls including Linnet on the Threshold (1930); the teenage love story A Bend in the Road (1934); and Aprilly Weather, a coming-of-age, high school novel published in 1940. As part of her ongoing interest in photography, Raymond collaborated with her friend, Freida Zylstra, on the 1941 story Skylark; A Story of a Girl Photographer Who Flew Over South America. During the 1930s she also wrote a series of biographical sketches with Edward Steiner which were published in the church school magazine The Portal. Some of the articles were illustrated by Margaret de Angeli, a noted children's illustrator.

In 1944 she married Frank Legare George, a poet who wrote under the pseudonym William Stephens. They lived in and around Chicago with his children Johanna, Kenneth, and Frank. She had a lifelong interest in poetry; in 1958 she had a poem accepted for Lyrical Iowa. After her husband's death in 1959 she continued her writing, producing poetry, short stories, magazine articles, and two books for Chicago's Michael Reese Hospital.

Later in her life, Raymond lived in a variety of places before settling in Burlington, Iowa. She continued to write extensively. She edited a volume of her husband's poetry published in 1978 by Ardis Publishers. A major effort during her later years was an unpublished manuscript, "Indoor Games for Indoor Children", with activities for children convalescing at home. She taught continuing education courses and was active in the Inter-Faith Council, the League of Women Voters, Friends of the Burlington Public Library, and the Unitarian Fellowship. She died February 9, 1985 in Burlington.

The Margaret Thomsen Raymond papers date from 1916 to 1976 and measure 2.25 linear feet.  The papers are arranged in four series:  Biographical information, Prose, Verse, and Other writing.  The papers demonstrate the intensive work an author goes through during the creative process; Raymond often made extensive revisions of her work, as many as four to five versions of one poem, for example.  There are no manuscripts of or materials relating to her published novels but there is an abundance of her early poetry, many short stories, and the magnum opus of her later years, "Indoor Games for Indoor Children."  Also included is poetry by her husband.

The Biographical information series (1957-1958 and undated) contains newspaper clippings about Raymond while she lived in Burlington as well as unlabelled photographs of her throughout her life.

The Prose series (1933-1976 and undated) includes drafts of a variety of books Raymond developed.  Included with a final version of "Indoor Games for Indoor Children" is correspondence from many publishers and a complete draft with sketches and examples of activities.  The novel, "Mmelanie Ffey", includes a complete version, four other versions of chapter one, and a detailed review by Fenton Johnson.  "Pink-frosted Angel" includes different versions and sections of the books, many with handwritten corrections.  The folder containing two books for Michael Reese Hospital also includes correspondence and financial agreements.  In general the other writings consist of various drafts and notes.

Other highlights from the prose series include Raymond's column with Edward Steiner titled, "The Gifts They Brought," including the published columns and some drafts; two published versions of her story about African-Americans, "Three Kings' Night"; multiple versions of the play, "Zoo-ology"; and "Pinocchio", a play by her sons.

The Verse series (1916-1975 and undated) includes many poems written by Raymond in the 1920s and 1930s, later revisions, poetry written throughout her career and some verse she wrote for songs composed by Marion Morrey.  Additionally there is the poetry composed by Raymond's husband which she edited for publication after his death; her correspondence with publishers; and his "Sonnets to Margaret."

The Other writing series (1922-1981 and undated) includes course materials from a creative writing course she taught in Burlington in 1958; correspondence from publishers and a commentary on her poetry by her husband; her notes from an Elderhostel program at The University of Iowa in 1981; and notes and notebooks of various writings.

Copies of Raymond's published books, Aprilly Weather, A Bend in the Road, and Skylark, are shelved in the printed works collection.

A copy of William Stephens' book of poetry, Standard Forgings, is shelved in the main library.

Browse by Series:
Series 2: PROSE
Series 3: VERSE

  • Box 1:
  • Newspaper clippings - 1957-1958
  • Photographs
  • Series 2: PROSE
  • Box 1:
  • Proposed books: "Indoor Games for Indoor Children" (4 folders) - 1973
  • Proposed books: "The Big Game"; "The Dailey Dozen", undated
  • Box 2:
  • Proposed books: "Dove in the House"; "Everybody Loves Saturday Night"; "The Great Dr. Degrell," undated
  • Proposed books: "Golden Girl," undated
  • Proposed books: "Hungry Knob"; "Mother Goose," undated
  • Proposed books: "Mmelanie Ffey" - 1973
  • Proposed books: "The Pink-Frosted Angel," undated
  • Proposed books: "Wits End" - 1955
  • Proposed books: Two books for Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago - 1969-1970
  • Short stories: Notes, undated
  • Box 3:
  • Short stories: Titles: A-B, undated
  • Short stories: Titles: C, undated
  • Short stories: Titles: D-F, undated
  • Short stories: Titles: G-I, undated
  • Short stories: Titles: J-L, undated
  • Short stories: Titles: M-R - 1955, 1968
  • Short stories: Titles: S, undated
  • Box 4:
  • Short stories: Titles: T - 1938, 1968
  • Short stories: Titles: V-W, undated
  • Column - 1933-1934, 1936
  • Essays and articles - 1938
  • Plays: Titles: A-S, undated
  • Plays: "Zoo-ology" - 1954, 1976
  • Plays: "Pinocchio" by Frank and Kenneth Stephens, undated
  • Series 3: VERSE
  • Box 4:
  • Poetry (folder 1) - 1916-1925
  • Box 5:
  • Poetry, undated (3 folders)
  • Poetry by William Stephens (3 folders) - 1926-1950, 1974-1975
  • Verse for music - 1954, 1958
  • Box 6:
  • Greeting card verse, undated
  • Series 4: OTHER WRITING
  • Box 6:
  • Continuing Education course - 1958
  • Correspondence from publishers - 1922, 1972-1973
  • Correspondence from Frank Legare George, undated
  • Elderhostel - 1981
  • Notebooks, undated
  • Notes: "Ethelfleda" - 1973
  • Notes: "Ethiopia", undated
  • Notes: "Paper Ideas for Christmas", undated
  • Notes: Miscellaneous, undated

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Raymond, Margaret Thomsen, 1900-
Stephens, William, 1895-1958

20th century

Creative writing
Women and literature


Geographic Names:
United States -- Iowa -- Burlington

Genre/Form of Materials:
Personal papers