Collection Dates: 1925 -- 1968
1.5 linear ft.
This document describes a collection of materials held
Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1420
Posted to Internet: January 1998
Acquisition Note: This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by J. Hyatt Downing over a period of years.
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.
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John Hyatt Downing was born on March 18, 1888 in Granville, Iowa. His family first moved to Hawarden, Iowa before settling in Blunt, South Dakota. Downing worked on his father's ranch and then left to work with railroad surveyors in the West. Returning to attend the University of South Dakota, Downing graduated in 1913. After graduation he held a number of jobs including newspaper reporting and fiction writing in Sioux city. He also worked for the Internal Revenue Service in South Dakota. During this period he met and married Mary McGinnis. They had one son, John, born in 1921. The family next moved to New Mexico because Downing had contracted tuberculosis. By 1925, he had recovered and they returned to the Midwest.
He worked as an insurance agent in Saint Paul, Minnesota, while writing short stories as a sideline. From 1925 to 1930 he published a number of stories in Scribner's Magazine which were well received by the critics. However, after a promotion from the insurance company, Downing stopped writing. After a seven-year layoff, he quit his job, returned to Sioux City, and dedicated himself to a writing career. His first novel was published in 1938, closely followed by four more. After his best seller, Sioux City, sold to the movies, the Downing's once again moved, this time to Los Angeles. Although the book was never filmed, Downing found work at Twentieth Century Fox writing publicity and radio scripts. He continued to write and publish, although with less and less success. His last published story appeared in Reader's Digest in 1963. J. Hyatt Downing died ten years later, at the age of eigthy-five.
The papers of J. Hyatt Downing consist of 1.5 linear feet of manuscripts dating from 1925 to 1968. The arrangement is primarily alphabetical, with the short stories and an unpublished novel grouped separately. The papers include such items as correspondence, biographical material, drafts and published versions of short stories, and a typescript draft of his last unpublished novel. . A description of Downing and this collection may be found in Books at Iowa, no. 8 (April 1968) p. 11 -- 18, 23: "The Chronicle of an Era," by Anthony T. Wadden.
Correspondence, 1925 -- 1966
Gregory Peck material
Scrapbook (including correspondence)
"And Then It Was Spring"
"Closed Roads" (Scribner's Magazine, August 1925)
"The Distance to Casper" (Scribner's Magazine, February, 1927)
"The First Illusion" (Scribner's Magazine, May 1930)
"Furlough" (Farm Journal, July 1943)
"Girl of Many Faces"
"The Great MacLeod "Typed draft
Collier's, November 13, 1948
"Head of the Family"
"Headwork" (Liberty, November 6, 1946)
"The House on Bad Woman Creek"
'How Does Your Garden Grow"
"If Darryl Zanuck..."
"Just for the Night" (Good Housekeeping, Octoner 1940)
"The Longer Shot"
"A Man Needs a Horse"Typed Draft
Collier's, February 23, 1946
"The Man Who Killed Jeb Stuart"
"The Marshal's Friend" (True, April 1947)
"Old Cimmarron - On the Santa Fe Trail" (Westways, August 1951)
"One of the Boys"
"Out of the Dark"Typed draft
Liberty, May 10 and 24, 1947
"The Return of Willie Scroggs"Typed draft with corrections
Country Gentleman, July 1947
"Rewards" (Scribner's Magazine, April 1926)
"The Sage of Virgin Creek"
"Sir, the King!"
"Star Without Glamor" (Collier's, October 20, 1945)
"Sun-Kissed Bangtails" (Collier's, March 2, 1946)
"This Is Where He Walked"
"Treasury of the Past"Typed draft
Holiday, November 1946
"We Went West" (Scribner's Magazine, May 1928)
"Woman In A Hurry"
Garth (unpublished novel)
Typed draft (2 folders)