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Robert J. Casey papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Casey

Scope and Content of the Collection

Works, correspondence, and personal material of Robert J. Casey.

The Works series is by far the largest series in the collection; the bulk of Casey's papers consist of typescript and print versions of Casey's literary output. The works cover most of Casey's life, from his early aspirations as a writer in his college years to his last newspaper articles. Casey's travels in Cambodia and other part of Asia, his adventures on Pitcairn Island and Easter Island, his wartime stories, Chicago local stories, travelogues, and mystery novels are all represented. The remainder of the collection consists of some biographical material, letters, some photographs, scrapbooks, and artifact material.


  • Creation: 1894-1964



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Robert J. Casey papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Robert J. Casey 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 at

Biography of Robert J. Casey

Journalist, foreign correspondent, and author based in Chicago from the 1920s through the 1960s.

Robert Joseph Casey was born March 14, 1890, in Beresford, South Dakota, and attended St. Mary's College in St. Mary's, Kansas from 1907 to 1911. Casey enlisted in the Army in 1918 and served at Verdun and Meuse-Argonne as an artilleryman. He earned three citations for bravery in combat before his discharge as a captain in 1919. In 1927, Casey wrote (anonymously) The Cannoneers Have Hairy Ears; A Diary of the Front Lines about his wartime experiences, and this book was acclaimed for its gritty and realistic depictions of an American soldier in World War I.

In 1920 Casey joined the Chicago Daily News, where he worked as a columnist and foreign correspondent for twenty-seven years. In Chicago, Casey wrote features, chronicled the gang wars of the era, and compiled "slice of life" stories which were published in the paper under column titles "Vest Pocket Anthology," "Such Interesting People," and "More Interesting People." During the 1920s and 1930s, Casey also traveled through Indochina, Cuba, Pitcairn Islands and Easter Island, and many other sites, and wrote about his adventures in newspaper columns and books. In 1940, Casey covered the blitz in London and its aftermath; he was also in Hawaii and the Pacific right after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

After his coverage of World War II in France, Africa, and the Pacific, Casey came back to Chicago to write. He had been married to Marie Driscoll, who died in 1945; in 1946 Casey married Hazel MacDonald, a reporter and fellow Chicago-based foreign correspondent he first met in 1933. After Casey's retirement from the Daily News in 1947, he continued to write books and freelance newspaper articles. In 1955 he was named Press Veteran of the Year by the Chicago Press Veterans Association. After being under treatment for several years for a heart condition and high blood pressure, Casey died of a stroke on Dec. 5, 1962 at St. Francis Hospital, Evanston, at the age of 72.


13.4 Linear Feet (29 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Works, correspondence, and personal materials of writer Robert J. Casey, who served in World War I and covered World War II for the Chicago Daily News. Casey was also a humor columnist, novelist, and nonfiction writer who traveled all over the world and wrote of his adventures in newspapers and in books.


Papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Biographical, 1909-1964
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Correspondence, 1911-1964
Box 3
Series 3: Works, 1918-1964
Boxes 4-25
Series 4: Photographs, 1894-1962
Box 25
Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1907-1956
Boxes 26-28
Series 6: Artifacts, undated, approximately 1939-1945
Boxes 27-29

Collection Stack Location

1 8 7, 1 9 7, 1 16 3


Bequest, Hazel M. Casey, 1963.

Related Materials

See also Hazel McDonald papers, Midwest Manuscript Collection, The Newberry Library, Chicago.

Processed by

Alison Hinderliter, 2007.


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 Robert J. Casey papers, 1894-1964
Alison Hinderliter
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2011-08-17: Revisions, additions, and updates were made.

Repository Details

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

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States