MsC 565


Iowa Author Manuscript


  Manuscript Register



Collection Dates: 1951 -- 1973
13.5 linear ft.


This document describes a collection of materials held by the
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Phone: 319-335-5921
Fax: 319-335-5900


Posted to Internet: January1998
Addenda: 1988, 2004, 2006


Acquisition Note: These papers were given to the Univeristy of Iowa Libraries by Richard Pike Bissell and his widow, Marion Bissell, over a period of years. In 2004, Frank J. Anderson donated one linear foot of correspondence and manuscripts. The 2006 addendum, given by Bissell's wife and daughter, Anastasia, tripled the size of the collection.


Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.


Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.


Copyright:  Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"


Use of Collections:  The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections. Nonetheless, access to some items may be restricted by their fragile condition or by contractual agreement with donors, and it may not be possible at all times to provide appropriate machinery for reading, viewing or accessing non-paper-based materials.  Please read our Use of Materials statement.  Prior to using collections, all readers are required to complete and submit a registration form.


Table of Contents


Biographical note


Scope and contents


Series I: Manuscripts


Series II: Frank J. Anderson addendum


Series III: Clippings


Series IV: Correspondence


Series V: Miscellaneous


Biographical Note


Richard Pike Bissell (1913 -- 1977) was a native of Dubuque, Iowa, which is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Although he attended an elite prep school in New Hampshire and was a 1936 graduate of Harvard University, he never escaped the river's lure. After receiving his B.A. in anthropology, Bissell took a job as a seaman on the American Export Lines. In 1938, he married and returned to Dubuque, where he went to work in the family business. The couple bought a houseboat and lived on the Mississippi. Unable to enlist in the Navy during Word War II, he instead joined the crew of the Central Barge Company of Chicago. He worked on towboats on the Ohio, Mississippi, Illinois, Monongahela, and Tennessee rivers, rising from a deckhand to a river pilot.


When the war ended he returned to Dubuque and resumed his work for H.B. Glover Company, the garment factory founded by his grandfather a century earlier. Bissell began writing about his river experiences and had his stories published in journals such as Atlantic Monthly, Colliers, and Esquire. Bissell's greatest success came when he wrote a humorous novel based on the activities at the garment factory. 7 ½ Cents changed the Bissell's lives. The family moved to the East coast so he could turn the book into a musical play for Broadway. Now titled The Pajama Game, it was a smash and soon became a motion picture. This experience provided the fodder for his novel Say, Darling, which also became a Broadway musical.


Richard Bissell wrote twelve books and numerous articles over the course of his career. In 1975, the Bissell's moved back to Dubuque - to the house his grandfather built. He died there on May 4, 1977, at the age of sixty-three.


Scope and Contents


The papers of Richard Pike Bissell, dating from approximately 1952 to 1973, consist of five linear feet of manuscripts. Holograph and typescript drafts, galley proofs, editor's notes, source material and more and combine to document the writing of many of Bissell's novels. Some of the books include: 7 1/2 Cents, The Monogahela, Still Circling Moose Jaw, and High Water.


Frank Anderson was a friend of Bissell's. He was a librarian at Kansas Wesleyan University as well as the proprietor of a bookshop, first in Salina, Kansas and then in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He corresponded with Bissell, collected his books, kept bibliographic citations of reviews of Bissell's books and for biographical sources on Bissell. He published an article about Bissell in The Midwestern Review in 1964. In 2004, Anderson donated these papers to the University of Iowa.


Related Materials


Link to Bissell's page on the National Mississippi River Museum's web site


Box 1


Artwork by John O'Hara Cosgrove for New American Library




Series I: Manuscripts


Subseries A: Book and play manuscripts


 Good Bye Ava


 Original holograph draft (2 folders)

Typescript draft with revisions (2 folders)


How Many Miles to Galena?


Third draft (2 folders)

Unused chapters


The Monongahela (1952)


Coal Queen -- correspondence, 1949

Coal Queen -- original draft with revisions


Coal Queen -- final draft


Early draft with revisions


My Life on the Mississippi or Why I Am Not Mark Twain (Little Brown, 1972)


Printer's copy (2 folders)


Say, Darling


Original holograph draft (2 folders, including in Folder I, letter from Harold Matson)

Typescript 4 folders


 Box 2


Manuscripts, cont.


Say, Darling (cont.)


Printer's typescript

Galley proofs (uncorrected)


 7 1/2 Cents (Little Brown, 1953)


Chapter 20 -- Early draft with revisions




 Source material

Source material (newspaper clippings)


Original holograph draft


 Typescript including letter from Rhoda V. McIntyre


Galley proofs


 Still Circling Moose Jaw


 Source material

Original holograph and typescript drafts of chapters 1 -- 13


 Original holograph and typescript drafts of chapters 14 -- 22


Tentative titles




 Galley proofs with corrections (3 folders)


Editor's notes


Final revisions


Box 3


Manuscripts, cont.


Still Circling Moose Jaw (cont.)


Miscellaneous pages


Travel Bug


Miscellaneous papers

Miscellaneous papers (4 folders)


Travel Bug (cont.)


Miscellaneous papers


1988 Addendum


Manuscripts, cont.


Continuing in Box 3


 High Water (Little Brown, 1954)


Original typescript (photocopy)

Afterword from the reprint done by the Minnesota Historical Society Press (photocopy)


2004 Addendum


Julia Harrington. Unbound page proofs. Gift of Frank J. Anderson


Subseries B: Short manuscripts and fragments


Continuing in Box 3


["The dirty dial"]


"Houseboat on the Mississippi"


["I guess if it hadn't been for our old apple tree"]


["I have been through "]


["It was early evening"]


"The Old Timer"


["On Sam Clemens"]


["Rinert Rinartson is"]


"Summer 1931"


["That day it rained"]


["The Tramps"]


["We came down the next"]




Series II: Frank J. Anderson Addendum


(Gift of Frank Anderson in 2004)


Anderson, Frank J. "The View From the River."


Prepared as a KWU Library Lecture for delivery on March 26, 1963. TMs with holographic corrections. 15 pp.


The Midwest Quarterly, Vol.5:No.4 (July 1964), pp.311-322.


TMs with holographic corrections by Anderson and the editor of The Midwest Quarterly. 11pp.


ccTMs. April 16, 1964 revision. 15 pp.


Bio-bibliographical materials for Richard Bissell. Anderson's notes


Correspondence. Mostly letters from Bissell to others. Correspondents include Mary Richards, Lee (Anderson notes that Lee was Bissell's Boston editor), Frank Anderson, Bill Richards, and Fred Bissell.


Correspondence between Frank Anderson and Richard Bissell


Obituaries for Richard Bissell


Reviews. Copies and tear sheets of book and theatre reviews from various newspapers and journals. Lists of book reviews created by Anderson. Pack of 3 x 5 slips with bibliographic citations for book reviews


River related clippings. Collected by Anderson


Stories by Richard Pike Bissell. Tear sheets from publications, collected by Frank Anderson.


"The Black Gates of Keokuk." The Atlantic, 185:4 (Aril 1950), p. 31 -- 35.


"Candle Salad." The Atlantic, 194:6 (December 1954), p. 45 -- 48/


"The Coal Queen." The Atlantic, 184:1 (July 1949), p. 28 -- 33.


Reader's Digest, 55:329 (September 1949), p. 29 -- 34. Condensed from The Atlantic Monthly.


"Down on the Tennessee." The Atlantic, 185:1 (January 1950), p. 40 -- 45.


Reader's Digest, 56:338 (March 1950), p. 39 -- 44. Condensed from The Atlantic Monthly.


"Facing Up." The Atlantic, 186:1 (July 1950), p. 58 - 62.


"For Houseboaters the Livin' is Easy." Sports Illustrated, 15:8 (August 21, 1961), p. 38 -- 39.


"A Good Natured Tour of Philadelphia." The Sunday Bulletin Matazine (Philadelphia). p. 6 -9.


"Good Old Dubuque." Holiday, 15:3 (March 1954), p.2 unnumbered, 83, 86, 89, 91, 128, 131. Illustrated with photography by Elliott Erwitt.


"A House Can Be a Boat on a River. Author of Broadway Musical Pajama Game Tells About His Floating Home on the Mississippi." Home & Highway, 9:2 (Spring 1960), p. 4 -- 9. Illustrated with photograph of Bissell and his family


"I Don't Wanna Be No Mate." The Atlantic, 196:3 (September 1955), p. 34 -- 37.


"A Lighthearted Tour of America." Holiday, 38:1 (July 1965), p. 30 -- 43, 74, 80, 81, 88, 89. Illustrated with photographs.


"A Nice Cool Drink on the Porch." The Atlantic, 194:2 (August 1954), p 44 -- 45.


"Profit, Prestige, and the Book Business." Publishers Weekly, 159:25 (June 23, 1951), p. 2530 -- 2532.


"Sauer Kraut Day in East Dubuque." The Atlantic, 195:4 (April 1955), p. 50 -- 51.


"Trouble in Brass." Good Housekeeping, July 1957, p. 88, 158 -- 162, 164 -- 165. Illustrated. Included are items about The Pajama Game and Bissell on p. 22 and 32.


Series III: Clippings


Series IV: Correspondence


Series V: Miscellaneous


Christmas cards


Photographs of the Bissell House on Alpine Street in Dubuque, taken in 1989


Programs for The Pajama Game


Artwork by Peter Arno



2006 Addendum


Series I: Manuscripts

Box 4


7 1/2 Cents


Loose page, perhaps from 7 1/2 Cents


Manuscript and typescript. 2 folders


Prototype for  1/2 Cents?




Typescript,  various chapters with holographic revisions


Setting manuscript, 2 folders


Source material and manuscript bits


Synopsis and various chapters.


Very early manuscript


Damn Yankees


Typescript with holographic corrections.


Goodbye, Ava


Down On (or By) the Levee (working title for Goodbye, Ava?).




Manuscript and notes. 2 folders.


Manuscript, bound. Two different copies.


M. B. (Marian Bissell?) copy of play


First treatment, 1961.


Manuscript notes.

Box 5

Musical comedy based on the novel Goodbye, Ava


Musical numbers, cuts, additions and original materials


A new musical comedy based on the novel




Notes and manuscript parts.


Notes from meeting.




Outline and manuscript


High Water


Author's galley proofs


Manuscript, holographic


Manuscript, typescript and handwritten


Notes, etc. Endings not used


Original version, before editor "advice",  typescript


Typescript with holographic corrections


Setting copy


Julia Harrington


Graphics used


Graphics not used


Manuscript, holographic


Original typescript with holographic corrections




Galley proof


Manuscript, holographic


Box 6

Manuscript, typed. 2 copies, 3 folders


Manuscript ideas, scraps, ideas, etc.


Manuscript pages


Typesetters copy


Pajama Game


Estimating script


Final film script


2 copies. One belonged to stage manager Robert E. Griffith




Notices and reviews


Play script, June 1954


Play script, including music and lyric credits




Original manuscript. Contains typescript and holographic portions. 2 folders


Scrapbook. The scrapbook has been disassembled. Includes some sheet music


Setting copies of the play script with holographic revisions

Box 7

Say, Darling


Chapter 1, typescript and holograph draft



Bound script. Final? Has music,costume, set, and lighting credits


Bound script, cc with holographic corrections


Bissell and Burrows work


Bissell scenario


Documents relating to the play


Holographic corrections


Miscellaneous bits and dialog


Notes taken during rehearsals


Pre-production scenarios, proposals, outlines, etc


Scraps of script. 2 folders


Script with various portions, some intended for auditions


Script, typed and holographic. 3 copies


Set designs and other pre-production materials. Includes two publicity shots of two unidentified actresses. In Oversized Box?


Still Circling Moosejaw


Manuscript bits

Mock-up of cover for A Stretch on the River (not used)


Stretch on the River


Bits and pieces

Box 8

Bound typescript with holographic corrections


Chapter outline, notes, early typescript


Early typed manuscript (5 copies -- one fair copy and 4 with holographic corrections)


Loose chapters


Original holograph manuscript


Manuscript under the title A Refining Influence


Mock-up of cover art work (not used)


Screenplay by Noel Houston based on Bissell's book


Unused or out of place manuscript pages

Box 9

You Can Always Tell a Harvard Man


Bound typescript with holograhic corrections and additions


Manuscript, mostly holographic


Manuscript, mixed holograph and typescript




Scraps, with poetry by Wallace Irwin


Typescript with holographic corrections


Uncorrected proof

Series V: Miscellaneous

Box 10

Fortune's Darling . An early version of Goodbye Ava?

Misecellaneous documents, mostly having to do with the Mississippi River

Miscellaneous scenes. From a muscial adaptation of Goodbye Ava?

Tommy Bissell drawings and writings from scrapbook




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