Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Aug 1987
|08 Dec 2008||converted to EAD (LDC)|
|17 Oct 2012||additions, promoted to regular collection (MRC)|
Overview of the Collection
|Creator:||McFee, William, 1881-1966.|
|Title:||William McFee Papers|
|Quantity:||0.25 linear ft.|
|Abstract:||Papers of the British novelist, author. Died 1966. Personal correspondence, signed/inscribed edition of Pilgrims of Adversity, requests for autographed copies of McFee's books, typescript of "On Keeping a Fool at Court," an essay written for Shadowland magazine.|
|Repository:||Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
William McFee (1881-1966) was a British novelist and author best known for his sea novels, such as Casuals of the Sea (1916).
William McFee was born on June 15, 1881 on his father, John Henry McFee's ship, Erin's Isle during a return trip from India. After completing school at East Anglian School in Suffolk, England, William McFee became an apprentice to the engineering firm of McMuirland's at Aldersgate in London. In 1905, he took a position as a junior engineer aboard a tramp steamer that travelled to Mediterranean, as well as African and Asian ports.
McFee served as a sublieutenant in the British navy during World War I. While serving in the eastern Mediterranean, he met Pauline Khondoff, a Bulgarian refugee. The couple wed in 1920, but divorced in 1932. After the war, McFee returned to his previous employer, the United Fruit Company, where he served as a chief engineer. However, in 1924, he decided to leave the organization to pursue a career in writing.
Most of McFee's works are nautical tales, inspired by his years at sea. He was married twice more, first to Beatrice Allender who died in 1952 and then to Dorothy North. His stepson, Richard McFee, was an electronics professor at Syracuse University. William McFee died on July 2, 1966 at his home in New Milford, Connecticut.
|1916||Casuals of the Sea|
|1928||Pilgrims of Adversity|
|1930||North of Suez|
|1933||No Castle in Spain|
The William McFee Papers consist of Correspondence and Writings.
Correspondence is mostly of a personal nature, with the exception of the miscellaneous items which concern requests for autographed copies of McFee's books.
Writings consist of a copy of the 1928 edition of Pilgrims of Adversity, signed and inscribed to Wallace Maer, and a manuscript of "On Keeping a Fool at Court," an essay on American literature written for Shadowland magazine. In the essay, McFee offers this opinion:
Another remarkable feature of the literary life in America, and making for its degeneracy, is the attitude of women toward books. A certain sensuous idolatory is by no means extinct in the United States. The whole of "modern" American literature, outside of a few supreme humorists, is feminine in texture.
Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by recipient, and Writings alphabetically by title.
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.
Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.
Evans, Montgomery, II.
Gaige, Crosby, 1882-1949.
Hansen, Harry, 1884-
McFee, William, 1881-
Pilgrims of adversity.
English literature -- 20th century.
Genres and Forms
Preferred citation for this material is as follows:
William McFee Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
|Box 1||Evans, Montgomery 20 Sep 1952 (1 outgoing letter)|
|Box 1||Gaige, Crosby 22 Feb 1928 (1 outgoing letter)|
|Box 1||Hansen, Harry undated (1 outgoing letter)|
|Box 1||MacDonald, Duncan 1954, 1956 - letters between MacDonald and Wallace Maer about McFee; from McFee to MacDonald; from McFee to an unidentified person ("Renie") about MacDonald|
|See also Writings : Pilgrims of Adversity|
|Box 1||MacDonald, Pirie 31 Oct 1922 (1 outgoing letter)|
|See MacDonald, Duncan.|
|Box 1||Miscellaneous 1940, 1958 (1 incoming letter; 2 outgoing letters)|
|Box 1||Pilgrims of Adversity 1928 (book), 1954 (inscription) - signed and inscribed to Wallace Maer|
|Box 1||On Keeping a Fool at Court - typescript with author's corrections (6 pages)|