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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Hartzell Spence Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1941-1962
Creator: Spence, Hartzell (1908-2001)
Extent: 13.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0701
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Born in Clarion, Iowa, Spence graduated from the University of Iowa in 1930. From 1930 to 1941 he was the United Press bureau manager in Des Moines, and saw service during WW II in the Army Air Forces where he was the founder and first editor of Yank, the Army weekly newspaper. After the war, he worked as a free-lance writer, particularly noted for his reporting on religion. He also published several novels, wrote a comic strip (David Crane) and scripts for the weekly radio program, One Foot in Heaven, broadcast on the ABC network, 1944-1945. This collection consists of drafts for numerous articles and stories, including those for The Story of Religion in America, published in Look, 1957-1960.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 2.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Mr. Spence over the course of the years 1946-1965.

Preferred Citation: Hartzell Spence Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman
Email: lib-spec@uiowa.edu
Website: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc

Born February 15, 1908, in Clarion, Iowa, the son of a minister, Hartzell Spence graduated magna cum laude from the University of Iowa in 1930. From 1930 to 1941 he was the United Press bureau manager in Des Moines, and saw service during WW II in the Army Air Force where he was the founder and first editor of Yank, the Army weekly newspaper. He was removed as editor after fifteen months because of creative differences. After the war, he worked as a free-lance writer, particularly noted for his reporting on religion. He published several novels and wrote a comic strip (David Crane). His first published novel was One Foot in Heaven, which became a best-seller and went through three printings. It was made into a motion picture starring Frederic March and Martha Scott in 1941. He wrote a sequel, Get Thee Behind Me, which was also very popular. He wrote the scripts for the weekly radio program, "One Foot in Heaven," broadcast on the ABC network, 1944-1945.
 
By 1947, Spence was a gentleman farmer at his home, Gaston Hall, a thirty-room, 700 acre estate in Virginia. Spence turned his experiences with the old showplace into a book titled Happily Ever After.
 
Hartzell Spence died May 9, 2001.

This collection consists of correspondence, drafts and manuscripts of articles, essays, and novels, as well as tear sheets for some of the articles.
Spence has correspondence in two other collections at the University of Iowa: Elizabether Clarkson Zwart (located in the Women's Archives) and John Carey MsC0389

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