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John E. Hart-Floyd Dell Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Hart-Dell

Scope and Content of the Collection

This small collection consists almost entirely of correspondence to and from John E. Hart relating to the writing of his biography of Floyd Dell, which was published in 1971 as part of the Twayne's United States Authors Series. The bulk of the correspondence between Hart and Floyd Dell reflects the creative - and sometimes difficult - process of Hart's project of writing the biography. In addition there are letters of Hart's to and from Dell's wife, B. Marie Dell, the Newberry Library, and a number of publishers. Also, two photographs, two short excerpts from Hart's manuscript, and a few miscellaneous items regarding Hart's academic career.


  • Creation: 1958-1985



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The John E. Hart-Floyd Dell Papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 5 folders at a time maximum (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The John E. Hart-Floyd Dell Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections.

Biographies of John E. Hart and Floyd Dell

John E. Hart was professor English at Albion College (Albion, Michigan) from 1954 to 1982. Professor Hart, a graduate of Kansas Wesleyan University and Syracuse University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1954, was especially interested in American writers of the 1920s and 1930s. His published works include critical studies of authors Albert Halper and Floyd Dell, and he produced numerous scholarly articles.

Floyd Dell, American poet, novelist, playwright, newspaperman and literary editor, was born in Iowa in 1887. Dell found success in Chicago as the editor of and chief contributor to the well-known Friday Literary Review before moving to New York where he settled into the Bohemian literary and artistic world of Greenwich Village.

In 1914 Dell, an avowed Socialist, became editor of Masses and later the Liberator and the New Masses. In 1919, he published his first novel, Moon-Calf, and then continued to write fiction and poetry, plus a critical work on Upton Sinclair and a number of books and articles based on themes of sex, love, marriage, psychoanalysis, education and other topics which interested him.

By 1935 his work had ceased selling, and Dell accepted a job with the WPA, as editor and ghostwriter. In his later years, this "romantic rebel" maintained a copious correspondence until his death in 1969.


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)


Correspondence, works, photographs and miscellaneous material relating to the writing of John E. Hart's biography, Floyd Dell, for the Twayne's United States Authors Series, published in 1971.


The papers are organized alphabetically by type of material: correspondence, photographs, works and miscellaneous.

Collection Stack Location

1 21 5


Gift of John E. Hart, 1999

Processed by

Diana Haskell, 1999; Virginia H. Smith, 2000


This inventory was created with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this inventory do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Inventory of the John E. Hart-Floyd Dell Papers, 1958-1985
Virginia H. Smith
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States