MsC 601

Iowa Author

  Manuscript Register


Collection Dates: 1942 -- 1970
4.5 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: January 1998

Acquisition Note: These papers were given to the Libraries by Henry Felsen in installments from 1963 to 1970.

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 Please read The University of Iowa Libraries' statement on "Property Rights, Copyright Law, and Permissions to Use Unpublished Materials"

Use of Collections: The University of Iowa Libraries supports access to the materials, published and unpublished, in its collections.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 Manuscripts Statement.

Biographical Note

Henry Gregor Felsen was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 16, 1916. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1933. He attended the University of Iowa for two years before dropping out because he could not afford the tuition. Felsen later returned to Iowa City and found work on the Iowa Writer's Project, doing articles for the Iowa Guidebook.

He married Penny Vincent, whom he met at the University. They struggled through the depression while he worked on and off for the WPA and tried to sell books. When his wife landed a job with Look Magazine, he became a full time writer. In 1940, with Darrell Huff (an editor at Look), Felsen started writing detective stories. He then became a staff writer for David C. Cook Publishing Co. Shortly after that, Felsen published his first book, Jungle Highway. He quit his job after only eight months to freelance in New York. In the next eighteen months, he wrote and sold nine books and hundreds of stories. A member of the Marine Corps during World War II, Felsen was stationed in the Pacific theater and wrote for the Leatherneck magazine. He returned to Iowa in 1946 and remained there most of his life. From 1964 -- 1969, Felsen taught part time at Drake University in Des Moines. He left Iowa in 1977 and spent his later years traveling. Henry Gregor Felsen died in 1995, at the age of 78. He is survived by his widow, Karen, two children, and two step-children.

A prolific and popular children's writer, Felsen wrote about sixty books. Some of his most popular were those in a car series, including: Hot Rod, Street Rod, and Crash Club. About eight million copies were sold in this series alone. Hot Rod was so poular that it remained on a bestseller list for children's books for nearly thirty years. Some of his other books became movies, while his stories appeared regularly in the Saturday Evening Post.

Scope and Contents

The papers of Henry Gregor Felsen consist of 4.5 linear feet of manuscripts and date from 1942 to 1970. Except for some folders of correspondence, the collection is made up entirely of his literary manuscripts which are arranged alphabetically by their titles. There are notes, outlines, and typescript drafts for many of his books and short stories, including his first novel, Jungle Highway.

Box 1

Biographical information from The Junior Book of Authors, 1951

Clippings, 1950 -- 1995

Correspondence, Dodd, Mead -- October 6, 1964-April 3, 1970 and undated .

Correspondence, Random House -- January 24, 1963-July 31, 1969 and undated.

Correspondence, Harriet Wolf -- October 19, 1948.

Anyone for Cub Scouts? (Published 1954). Typescript and printer's copy.

Bertie Makes A Break (Published 1949)

Author's notes; typescript and carbon, incomplete.

Related material -- Including: letter, May 14, 1948; "Allenby's Present Future," typescript and carbon; "Kind-Hearted Allenby," typescript and carbon; "Social Elephant Allenby," carbon; "Revolt Against Allenby," typescript; "Blame it on Allenby," typescript and carbon; "The Manly Art of Mirabeaux Hoberstone," carbon typescript; "That Troublemaker Allenby," typescript; and "Tee for Two", reprint.

Bertie Takes Care (Published 1948). Carbon typescript.

Poodle's Progress (early title of Bertie Comes Through) (Published 1948):

Carbon typescript.

Related material -- Including: "Herbie Troddle Churns the Track", typescript and carbon; "Chapter One",typescript and carbon; "Herbie Troddle Gets Rattled", carbon typescript; "The Band Beats Herbie Troddle", carbon typescript; "Herbie Troddle Tries a Cheer", carbon typescript; "Open Wider", (2 copies); "Allenby Asks and Answers", reprint; and "Bertie Poddle Saves His Life", reprint.

Boy Gets Car (Published 1960). Carbon typescript, (2 folders).

The Boy who Discovered The Earth (Published 1955)

Typescript and printer's copy; carbon typescript; and cover letter, March 5, 1956.

Playmate From Space (early title). Author's notes; correspondence, March 10 - August 7, 1954; Typescript and incomplete carbon.

Davey Logan, Intern (Published 1950). Incomplete typescript; carbon typescript; carbon typescript; letter, September 13, 1948; author's notes. (3 folders)

The Dawn is Red. Several typesccript drafts of opening pages and author's notes.

"How the Princess Almost Lost Her Head". Incomplete carbon typescript.

"Iowa". Incomplete typescript and carbons, with author's notes.

Jungle Highway (Published 1942). Printer's copy and typescript (with minor corrections).

Letters to A Son in Uniform. Typescript drafts and revisions with author's notes.

The Poor Man's Guide to Hypchondria. Typescript and incomplete carbon with author's notes.

Rag Top (Published 1954 as Cup of Fury)

Typescript; printer's copy; carbon typescript with corrections and revisions. (3 folders)

Carbon typescript; chapter one and outline; typescript and carbon of chapter one; author's notes; holograph pages; carbon typescript.

 Box 2

Rag Top (cont.)

Typescript. (3 folders)

Carbon typescript.

Roving Correspondent (early version of Flying Correspondent) (Published 1947)


Carbon typescript.

Some Follow the Sea (Published 1944). Carbon typescript; carbon typescripts of two versions of chapter 10. (2 folders)

Stock Car Racer (early title of Fever Heat) (Published 1953). Correspondence, October 15 - November 12, 1953; outline; author's notes; incomplete carbon typescript.

A Teen-Ager's First Car. Letter, January 14, 1966; typescript and carbon; drafts and revisions; holograph revisions and notes.

3 + 3. Typescript and holograph drafts; revisions and notes.

To My Son The Teen-Age Driver (Published 1964). Photocopy of typescript; typescript and carbon with corrections and revisions. (2 folders)

Postcard for a new edition of Hot Rod. August 2010. Gift of Holly Felsen Welch.

Printout of a crowdfunding request for making a movie of Felsen's short story Gentle Rain. Gift of Helly Felsen Welch.

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