Zona Gale Papers, 1838-1970

Scope and Content Note

The Zona Gale Papers consist of her stories, novels, plays, poems, essays, and articles in manuscript form (both longhand end typed); correspondence between her and her parents and between her and many of the literary figures of her day; author's proofs and galley proofs of some of her writings; genealogical data about the Gale and Beers families; magazines containing articles and stories by her and articles about her; clippings about her and reviews of her works; notes on her adopted daughter, Leslyn; notes and letters about her trip to Hawaii and Japan; manuscripts and notebooks from grade school, high school, and university days; poems end writings of her mother, Eliza Beers Gale; reports on conversations with her father, Charles Franklin Gale; and autographed poems and inscriptions from Tagore, AE, Edwin Markham, Margaret Widdemer, and Ellen Terry.

Also included in the collection are the following: a typescript of the poems of Eben E. Rexford; correspondence between Mrs. Elizabeth Cushing of Portage and the New York Life Insurance Company; a notebook, probably Cushing's; and manuscripts sent to Zona Gale by unknown writers for her criticisms end suggestions.

In classifying the collection, it has been thought advisable--especially since many of the manuscripts are undated--to depart from the usual chronological classification. Correspondence between her and others outside her family is arranged alphabetically, therefore, although all correspondence between her and a particular person is arranged chronologically in so far as possible. Correspondence with the editors of magazines and with publishers is usually filed under the name of the magazine or publishing company and cross-indexed under the editor's or publisher's name. Correspondence pertaining to the University of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Legislature, the National Broadcasting Company, and the City of Portage is filed under those titles.

Literary correspondents include Louis Adamic, Sherwood Anderson, Heywood Broun, Pearl S. Buck, Willa Cather, Margaret Deland, August Derleth, Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Edna Ferber, Hamlin Garland, Joseph Hergesheimer, Fannie Hurst, James Weldon Johnson, Richard Le Gallienne, Meridel Le Sueur, Guthrie McClintic, Christopher Morley, Martha Ostenso, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Carl Van Doren, Hendrik W. Van Loon, Edith Wharton, Margaret Widdemer, and Elinor Wylie. Among her correspondents on social, political, and educational matters are Jane Addams, John R. Commons, Richard T. Ely, John Haynes Holmes, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Her letters to her parents, and theirs to her, form a separate file which is also chronologically arranged.

Gale's writings are organized in three categories: Elementary, high school, and University compositions and notes; Poems (arranged A-Z); and Manuscripts (arranged alphabetically by title). The titled manuscripts files include first drafts, revisions, end typed manuscripts of novels, plays, essays, articles, and reviews. Some of the manuscripts, however, are incomplete. In addition, there are reasonably complete but untitled manuscripts; among them is an incomplete manuscript labeled “My first novel. Published nowhere.” Many untitled fragments of manuscripts are filed at the end.

Genealogical files contain notes and numerous letters from her and to her on the subject of the Gale and Beers genealogies. A Miscellaneous category groups other files at the end of the collection.