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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Phil Stong Manuscripts

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1945-1961
Creator: Stong, Phil
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0705
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Iowa author best remembered for State Fair (film scripts dated 1945, 1961 and 1962 are here), Stong also wrote several books for children, including The Adventures of "Horse" Barnsby and Hirum the Hillbilly. Both of these, and others, are represented in this collection.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 1.

Access: This collection is open for research.

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

Acquisition: Phil Stong gave his manuscripts to the University of Iowa Libraries in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

Preferred Citation: Phil Stong Manuscripts, 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

Philip Duffield Stong was born in 1899 near Keosauqua, Iowa, where his father ran a general store. His father was Benjamin J. Stong and his mother was Ada Evesta Duffield Stong. He attended Drake University graduating in 1919. After teaching in Minnesota, he moved to New York to take courses at Columbia, then went to teach English in Kansas. While teaching he took correspondence course from the University of Kansas. In 1924 he moved back to Des Moines to teach at Drake.

He held a variety of jobs in journalism while trying to become a creative writer. He wrote for most of the leading magazines, but his most famous novel was State Fair, published in 1932, and adapted by Rogers and Hammerstein for their musical of the same name. He went on to write some forty books, children's books, and screenplays.

On November 8, 1925 he married Virginia Maude Swain, a newspaper reporter. He died at his home in Connecticut in 1957.

Manuscripts of some of Stong's books are collected here, as well as letters from Stong to various correspondents. The major collection of Stong's papers is at Cowles Library at Drake University in Des Moines. The 2003 addendum contains letters from Mrs. Stong to a college friend, and provides some details her life with Phil Stong.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE
Series 2: WRITINGS
Series 3: 2003 ADDENDUM

  • Series 1: CORRESPONDENCE
  • Box 1:
  • To Cyril Clemens
  • Washington, Connecticut February 16 - 1936
    Concerning his opinion of Mark Twain as a man and as a personage. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut January 9 - 1938
    Concerning his opinion of Santayana and an argument about him in which he was involved; some remarks about E. A. Robinson and Aristophanes. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut June 20 - 1938
    Listing his favorite books, etc., and recalling some childhood memories. T.L.S. 2 pages
  • Washington, Connecticut March 29 - 1939
    Relating to the time he "acted" with Lionel Barrymore. T.L.S.
  • Washington, Connecticut November 12 - 1939
    Recalling some personal experiences; remarks about Mark Train, and a train named after some of his characters. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut January 9 - 1940
    Concerning some books he has read that have influenced him; some remarks about his present concerns. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut March 27 - 1941
    Concerning his opinions on some writers (such as: Jacobs, Machen, Briffault, Dickens, Galsworthy, Stein, Joyce, Proust, etc.) and how they influenced him. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut February 18 - 1944
    Concerning why he can not write the article about Will Rogers for a while. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut October 12 - 1944
    Relating some of his "Coolidge stories" (also contains an undated part of another letter which concerns Mark Twain’s and Stong’s attitude towards God). T.L.S. 2 pages
  • Washington, Connecticut May 14 - 1945
    A Postcard. Concerning his opinion of Truman
  • Washington, Connecticut July 19 - 1946
    A Letter. Concerning more of his opinion of Truman. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut September 16 - 1946
    Agreeing to preserve the manuscript of the novel he's presently working on for Clemen's library. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut January 24 - 1948
    Concerning Samuel Clemens and the potency of his remarks when he was annoyed. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut January 28 - 1948
    Concerning his opinion of Truman and his qualities and chances for election. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut March 2 - 1948
    Concerning his trip down the Mississippi by stern?wheeler. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut June 18 - 1948
    Sending him the Ms copy of the article he wrote about his Mark Twain trip; some remarks about Truman. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut February 6 - 1949
    Concerning Truman; some remarks about the new house he bought. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut February 19 - 1950
    Mentioning the love letters of Mark Twain. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut April 8 - 1951
    Concerning some questions he has about Mark Twain. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut April 7 - 1951
    Concerning Mark Twain; some remarks about an article he is writing. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut August 27 - 1951
    Concerning his trip, and article on U.S. #1. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut December 4 - 1951
    Concerning his opinions of the possible candidates (Truman, Taft, Stassen, Eisenhower) for the presidency. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Three letters. Washington, Connecticut May 21 to August 12 - 1952
    Sending his thanks for some magazines Clemens sent; and accepting an invitation to visit in October. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut December 1 - 1952
    Explaining why he didn’t visit in October; and stating he voted for Eisenhower. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut July 14 - 1953
    Concerning what he has been doing, and when he will get out West again. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut October 14 - 1954
    Relating an anecdote about G. B. Shaw. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut October 23 - 1954
    Concerning what he has been doing and promising to send Clemens a copy of "Mississippi Pilot." T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut October 17 - 1955
    Concerning a parallel he has noticed between "Roughing It" and "The Canterbury Tales." T.L.S. 1 page
  • Washington, Connecticut February 23 - 1956
    Concerning his early career in writing and how he wrote "State Fair." T.L.S. 1 page
  • To Harvey Davis. Photocopies - 1922-1956
    93 letters, 116 pages. (2 folders)
  • To miscellaneous correspondents, E-Z
  • Ralph Ellsworth. Washington, Connecticut. 3 letters: November 21 and 30 and January 10 - 1945, 1946
    Concerning his manuscripts and his work. 3 T.L.S.
  • John T. Frederick. Washington, Connecticut. November 18 - 1955
    Expressing his appreciation for a review and earlier consideration for Mr. Stong concerning his recent publications with Gold Rush settings. T.L.S. 1 page
  • John T. Frederick. Washington, Connecticut. November 25 - 1956
    Concerning a picture of Mr. Stong; concerning the "education" requirements for teaching at Kansas and Drake. T.L.S. 1 page
  • John T. Frederick. Neodesha, Kansas. January 21 - 1922
    Congratulating Mr. Frederick on the publication of his book. 1 page
  • John T. Frederick. Neodesha, Kansas. May 1 - 1923
    Commenting on Mr. Frederick's novel Druida. A.L.S. 1 page
  • Laurence Fairall. New York City. April 30 - 1934
    Concerning Stong's desire to write something more sound than ""State Fair." T.L.S. 1 page
  • Laurence Fairall. Washington, Connecticut October 16 - 1946
    Concerning the fate of Stong's Fair piece with Life magazine. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Don Farran. Washington, Connecticut November 13 - 1953
    Regarding Stong's Use of Farran as a character in one of his books; concerning movie prospects. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Dr. Percy Fridenberg. Washington, Connecticut February 7 - 1935
    Concerning Stong's book Week-end and illusions and language used in it. T.L.S. 1 page, envelope included.
  • Mrs. Le Compte. Washington, Connecticut. May 2 - 1955
    Concerning Doubleday's delay in sending his book State Fair to Mrs. Le Compte. A.L.S. 1 page. With a letter from Molly Ryan to Mrs. Le Compte and a carbon letter from Mamie Doud Eisenhower to Mr. Stong thanking him for the gift copy of his book State Fair.
  • Frank Luther Mott. Washington Green, Connecticut. September 20 - 1934
    Concerning an invitation to speak at the Times Club in Iowa City; Mentions his recent purchase of a farm in Connecticut. T.L.S. 1 page. Together with a carbon copy of Mr. Mott's reply.
  • Lester Roberts. Washington, Connecticut March 20 - 1945
    Concerning the publication of State Fair and an earlier work. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Grace Van Wormer. Washington, Connecticut. 4 letters - 1947, 1951
    Concerning his manuscripts and copies of his books. 4 T.L.S.
  • V. H. Woods. Washington, Connecticut May 17 - 1935
    Sending a childhood photograph; giving some biographical background material. T.L.S. 1 page
  • Harry Zollars. Bermuda. February 10 - 1936
    Concerning some books to be sent to Connecticut. T.L.S., 1 page with envelope
  • Harry Zollars. New York. March 14 - 1936
    Concerning some books. T.L.S., 1 page with envelope. With three photographs of Stong, one inscribed to Zollars
  • Harry Zollars. New York. August 10 - 1933
    Thanking Zollar for his kind remarks concerning "Stranger's Return"; concerning Stong's new
  • Series 2: WRITINGS
  • Box 1:
  • The Adventure of "Horse" Barnsby.
    First draft (with corrections)
  • The Adventure of "Horse" Barnsby.
    Galley proofs
  • Captain Kidd's Cow Printer's copy (with revisions)
  • Censored: The Goat
    Draft (with revisions) and an original drawing by Kurt Wiese
  • Hiram the Hillbilly
    Draft (with revisions)
  • Hiram the Hillbilly
    Printer's copy (with revisions) and front matter
  • Hiram the Hillbilly
    Page proofs and frontispiece layout
  • Hiram the Hillbilly
    Galley proof
  • Jessamy John (titled the Golden Bubble)
    Draft (with revisions)
  • Mark Twain's River
    Essay, 31 leaves. 28cm. Typescript. This rough draft has many revisions.
  • Missouri Canary
    Draft
  • No-sitch Hound
    Draft (with revisions)
  • The Ozarks
    Draft (with revisions)
  • State Fair - 1945
    Continuity and dialogue taken from the screen, August 17
  • State Fair - 1961
    Shooting Final, September 14
  • State Fair - 1962
    Continuity and dialogue taken from the screen, March 21
  • Series 3: 2003 ADDENDUM
  • Box 1:
  • 9 letters from Virginia Stong to Bertha Craver; 1 letter from Phil [Stong] to Charles [Craver?]
    Gift of Charles Craver