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David H. Keller Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MFA
Date: Oct 1968

Biographical History

David Henry Keller (1880-1966) was an American psychiatrist and author of science fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories and novels under the pseudonym Henry Cecil.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School and practiced medicine in his home state for fourteen years before becoming a neuro-psychiatrist in 1914. Until 1933 he practiced his profession in state hospitals in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania. Dr. Keller served as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps during World War I, and again in World War II with the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Dr. Keller, who sometimes used the pseudonym Henry Cecil, began writing science fiction, fantasy, weird and horror stories in the 1920s. His first published work was "The revolt of the pedestrian," which appears in Amazing Stories in February 1928, and over his career he contributed to most of the major science fiction and fantasy magazines in America. His best know story is "The thing in the cellar," one of many tales that developed from his experience in psychiatry.

His first published novel was The Devil and the Doctor, originally titled The Stone Face, in 1941. A limited edition of his last book, A Figment of a Dream, was published in 1962.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The David H. Keller Papers consist of correspondence, writings and printed material in bound volumes, and published books. Most of the material was purchased from Dr. Keller by Colonel H.C. Worden of Klamath Falls, Oregon, who had the material bound into volumes.

The single volume of Correspondence includes the letters of Dr. Keller to Col. Worden, 1953-1954, dealing with their relationship and transactions in regard to the purchase and publication of the manuscripts. Also included are two letters to Dr. Keller from the Experimenter Publishing Company, 1928. Bound in the volume with the correspondence are manuscripts and published material by Dr. Keller, with two original pen and ink illustrations for The Devil and the Doctor.

The Writings, 1924-1954, are also bound. Each volume contains a holograph note by Dr. Keller giving the origin or history of its contents.

Published material, 1924-1962, consists of articles and books.

Arrangement of the Collection

Writings are arranged alphabetically by title. Within Published material, articles are arranged alphabetically by the title of the magazine in which they appeared, and books are arranged alphabetically by title.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has many collections of science fiction authors, including Hugo Gernsback, Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and many others. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Cecil, Henry, 1880-1966.
Keller, David H. (David Henry), 1880-1966.


American literature -- 20th century.
Authors, American.
Fantasy literature, American.
Horror tales, American.
Novelists, American.
Physicians as authors.
Psychiatrists -- United States.
Psychology, Pathological.
Science fiction, American.

Genres and Forms

Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

David H. Keller Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 1968.

Table of Contents


Published material