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John Tebbel Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Tebbel, John William, 1912-
Title: John Tebbel Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1936-1985
Quantity: 3.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American author, journalist, and professor of journalism at New York University. Correspondence and typescript drafts, manuscripts, and galley proofs for his books; letters, many in connection with the research for his book on George H. Lorimer, from Carl W. Ackerman, Nelson Algren, Henry Steele Commager, Thomas B. Costain, Marshall Field, Herbert Hoover, Henry B. Hough, Harold L. Ickes, Alfred C. Kinsey, Alfred A. Knopf, John P. Marquand, Mary Margaret McBride, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Kenneth Roberts, Lawrence E. Spivak, and Wesley W. Stout.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

John Tebbel (1912-2004) was an American journalist, editor, educator and media historian. Among other achievements he is know for his A History of Book Publishing in the United States, a 20-year effort published in four volumes from 1972 to 1980.

Born in Boyne City,Michigan, on November 16, 1912, Tebbel graduated from Central Michigan College of Education in 1935 and began his career as a writer and newspaperman, serving as city editor for the Isabella County, Michigan, Times-News. He also worked on a master's degree at Columbia University, which he received in 1937. He wrote for Newsweek magazine and worked as a reporter for the Detroit Free Press. In 1939 he became a writer for the Providence Journal; in 1941 he became managing editor of the American Mercury. Two years later, he joined the Sunday staff of the New York Times, became an associate editor of the publishing firm E.P. Dutton & Co., and acted as an associate in journalism at Columbia. He served as chairman of the Journalism Department at New York University, and in 1958 was named the first director of their Graduate Institute of Book Publishing.

Tebbel was the author of numerous books, including "A History of Book Publishing in the United States," a biography of William Randolph Hearst, and two novels. He was also a regular contributor to the Saturday Review and other magazines.

Tebbel married the former Kathryn Carl with whom he had one daughter.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The John Tebbel Papers consist of correspondence, manuscripts, and published material. A biographical press release is filed at the beginning of the collection.

Correspondence contains incoming and outgoing letters. Letters to and from others are filed at the end of the series.

Subject files consist of bills and statements, a calling card of Jospeh Pulitzer, a legal agreement, and research material for Tebbel's book, From Raqs to Riches.

Manuscripts includes books, a play, and several unidentified items.

Published material contains a 1954 New York University calendar, a newspaper, newspaper clippings about others, a pamphlet, and a poem.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author. Outgoing correspondence is arranged in chronological order. Subject files are arranged alphabetically by type. Manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by type and within that by title. Published material is arranged alphabetically by type.

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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

Special Collections Research Center has the papers of many journalists and publishers; please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings


Ackerman, Carl W. (Carl William), 1890-1970.
Algren, Nelson, 1909-1981.
Commager, Henry Steele, 1902-1998.
Costain, Thomas B. (Thomas Bertram), 1885-1965.
Field, Marshall, 1834-1906.
Field, Marshall, 1893-1956.
Hoover, Herbert, 1874-1964.
Hough, Henry Beetle, 1896-
Ickes, Harold L. (Harold LeClair), 1874-1952.
Kinsey, Alfred C. (Alfred Charles), 1894-1956.
Knopf, Alfred A., 1892-1984.
Lorimer, George Horace, 1869-1937.
Marquand, John P. (John Phillips), 1893-1960.
McBride, Mary Margaret, 1899-
Rinehart, Mary Roberts, 1876-1958.
Roberts, Kenneth Lewis, 1885-1957.
Spivak, Lawrence E. (Lawrence Edmund), 1900-1994.
Stout, Wesley Winans, 1890-
Tebbel, John William, 1912-


Authors, American.
Editors -- United States.
Journalists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

John Tebbel Papers
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: Mar 1967
Revision history: 20 Aug 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Biographical material
Box 1 Press release
Box 1 Ackerman, Carl W.
Box 1 Algren, Nelson
Box 1 Anspach, Charles
Box 1 B
Box 1 C
Box 1 Coe, Charles Richard
Box 1 Coffin, Paris
Box 1 Commager, Henry Steele
Box 1 Costain, Thomas
Box 1 D
Box 1 Davies, Margaret P.
Box 1 E
Box 1 F
Box 1 Field, Marshall
Box 1 Field, Marshall Jr.
Box 1 Firestone, Harvey S.
Box 1 Firestone, Harvey S. Company
Box 1 G
Box 1 Gould, Ben and Beatrice
Box 1 H
Box 1 Hearst, William R., Jr.
Box 1 Hearst Metrotone News, Inc.
Box 1 Hoover, Herbert
Box 1 Hough, Henry B.
Box 1 Ickes, Harold L.
Box 1 J
Box 1 Kahler, Hugh M.
Box 1 Kinsey, Alfred C.
Box 1 Knopf, Alfred A. and Blanche
Box 1 L
Box 1 Lorimore, George B.
Box 1 Lorimore, Graeme
Box 1 M
Box 1 Macrae, Elliot B.
Box 1 Marquand, John P.
Box 1 McBain, Hughston M.
Box 1 McBride, Mary Margaret
Box 1 N
Box 1 Neall, Adelaide W.
Box 1 Patterson, Alicia
Box 1 R
Box 1 Rinehart, Mary Roberts
Box 1 Roberts, Kenneth
Box 1 S
Box 1 Spivak, Lawrence E.
Box 1 Stout, Wesley W.
Box 1 U-V
Box 1 Visual Enterprises, Inc.
Box 1 Winchell, Walter
Box 1 Z
Box 1 Unidentified
Box 1 1947, undated
To and from others
Box 1 Miscellaneous
Subject files
Box 2 Bills and statements
Box 2 Calling card, Joseph Pulitzer
Box 2 Legal agreement
Box 2 Research material for book, From Rags to Riches
Box 2 The American Indian Wars (with Keith Jennison) - draft (3 folders)
Box 2 The Compact History of the American Indian Wars - draft (3 folders)
Box 3 The Compact History of the American Newspaper - draft (2 folders)
From Rags to Riches: Horatio Alger, Jr. and the American Dream - final
Box 3 Preliminary pages, pages 1-319 (3 folders)
Box 3 Bibliography and index
George Washington: Man and Myth
Box 4 Draft (3 folders)
Box 4 Copy (2 folders)
Box 4 Untitled Tebbel manuscripts
Box 4 North of Utopia (with Maggie Smith) - final, carbon, draft, and notes (incomplete?)
Box 4 Miscellaneous pages
Box 4 Paperback Books: A Pocket History
Published material
Box 4 Calendar, New York University 1954
Box 4 Newspaper
Box 4 Newspaper clippings about others
Box 4 Pamphlet
Box 4 Poem

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