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Mari Sandoz Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Sandoz, Mari, 1896-1966.
Title: Mari Sandoz Collection
Inclusive Dates: 1935-1965
Quantity: 1.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American novelist, chronicler of pioneer and Native American life on the Nebraska plains. Correspondence (1935-1950), principally with Atlantic Monthly Press editor Paul Hoffman; typescript drafts and revisions of an article, a book, These Were the Sioux, and two essays; and galley proofs.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

Mari Susette Sandoz (1896-1966) was an American novelist and chronicler of pioneer and Indian life on the Nebraska Plains. Born on the Sandoz homestead in northwestern Nebraska, Sandoz was the eldest daughter of Swiss immigrant parents Jules Ami and Mary Elizabeth (Fehr) Sandoz. She started school at nine and wrote her first story shortly thereafter. She taught in country schools, attended business college, and at intervals between 1922 and 1931 studied at the University of Nebraska, supporting herself with part-time and full-time jobs, including research on the Sioux and other work for the Nebraska State Historical Society.

In 1935 the publication of Old Jules, a biography of her pioneer father, established her as an important writer on the American West and won the Atlantic Monthly prize. Her second book, the novel Slogum House, was published in 1937. From 1943 until the 1960s Sandoz spent half her time in New York City, returning to Nebraska to gather material for her writing.

Besides numerous short stories and magazine contributions, Mari Sandoz wrote Love Song to the Plains (1961), Old Jules Country (1965), and These Were the Sioux (1961). Her novels include The Tom-Walker (1947), Winter Thunder (1954), The Horsecatcher (1957), and Son of the Gamblin' Man (1960). In 1964 the publication of The Beaver Men marked the completion of her Great Plains series (previous titles in the series were Crazy Horse, Cheyenne Autumn, The Buffalo Hunters, The Cattlemen, and Old Jules).

For further biographical information, see the "Autobiographical sketch of Mari Sandoz' early years" in Hostiles and Friendlies: Selected Short Writings of Mari Sandoz (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1959)

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mari Sandoz Collection is divided into correspondence and writings.

Correspondence contains both incoming and outgoing letters; the bulk consists of 24 letters from Mari Sandoz to Paul Gerhard Hoffman of the Atlantic Monthly Press, written between 1935 and 1938. Hoffman was Sandoz' editor for Old Jules, Slogum House, Capital City, Crazy Horse, and The Horsecatcher. With the letter of 3 Dec 1935 are two letters (24 May 1900 and 3 Nov 1907) from her father Jules Ami Sandoz and one letter (20 Dec 1893, Zurich) from Rosalie Epprecht to Jules Sandoz. Enclosed with the letter of 11 Dec 1935 is an undated letter from Mamie Meredith to Mari Sandoz. Letters of 15 Oct 1935 and 10 Oct 1937 include snapshots of Mari Sandoz. There is one incoming letter (24 May 1950) from Helen Hector, associate editor of Reader's Digest, in two copies.

Writings contains manuscripts and production material for work dating from the late 1950s to 1965. Besides typescripts for three short pieces, there are manuscripts of production material for three books: The Cattlemen, Old Jules Country, and These Were the Sioux. The latter title is the most heavily represented, with typescripts in four stages of revision and both galley and page proofs.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Letters are arranged chronologically. Writings are arranged alphabetically by type and within that by title.

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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.

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Related Material

See also the Felie Woodrow Clark Thesis, which contains biographical and bibliographical material about Sandoz.

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Subject Headings


Hoffman, Paul.
Sandoz, Mari, 1896-1966.

Associated Titles

These were the Sioux.


American fiction -- West (U.S.)
Western stories.
Dakota Indians.
Women authors, American.
Women novelists, American.


West (U.S.) -- In literature.

Genres and Forms

Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Mari Sandoz Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Manuscripts and production material of These Were the Sioux, gift of Mari S. Sandoz, 1962. All other material gifts of James F. Carr, 1960 and 1967.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: EL
Date: Aug 1975
Revision history: 2 Apr 2008 - converted to EAD (MRC); 19 Dec 2018 - correspondence updated (MS)

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Box 1 Hoffman, Paul 1935-1938 (25 items)
1935 - Jul 10, Jul 16, Jul 17
1935 - Aug 3, Aug 24
1935 - Sep 18
1935 - Oct 15 (photograph enclosed), Oct 15, Oct 31
1935 - Dec 2 (telegram), Dec 3 (with 3 enclosed letters), Dec 11
1936 - Mar 4
1936 - Jul 10
1936 - Sep 24, Sep 26
1936 - Dec 16
1937 - Sep 22
1937 - Oct 10 (photograph enclosed)
1937 - Nov 26
1937 - Dec 7
1937 - Dec 15
1938 - Jan 22
1938 - Apr 12
1950 - May 24
Box 1 "What the Sioux Taught Me" 1960 - typescript
The Cattlemen
Box 1 Corrected galley proofs
Box 1 Page proofs
Old Jules Country
Box 1 Page proofs
These Were the Sioux
Box 2 First revisions undated - typescript, revised
Box 2 Second revisions undated - typescript, revised
Box 2 Second manuscript 1961 - typescript copy, revised
Box 2 Second castoffs undated - typescript, revised
Box 2 Front matter copy and layout
Box 2 Master galley proofs
Box 2 Author's page proofs of front matter
Box 2 Author's page proofs
Box 2 Author's corrected page proofs of front matter, pp. 1-13
Box 3 Publisher's corrected page proofs
Box 3 Signatures, unbound
Box 3 Introduction to The Cheyenne Indians by George Bird Grinnell (1962) Jul 1962 - typescript, revised
Box 3 "Some thoughts on the origins and the writing of Son of the Gamblin' Man" Aug 1960 - typescript copy

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