Elizabeth Head Fetter (1904-1972) began her career as an advertising copy writer in Philadelphia but gave it up in the early 1930's to become a free-lance writer, which she pursued until her death in 1972, writing under the name of Hannah Lees. She also lectured at Bryn Mawr on experimental writing (1952-1956). Her community interests included the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (Housing Committee), The NAACP, and Planned Parenthood.
From the 1930s to the 1970s Fetter wrote numerous short stories and magazine articles on the topics of mental health, medicine, marital problems, travel, nature, and social ills. She often wrote under the pseudonym Hannah Lees.
Her most widely acknowledged book was Help Your Husband Stay Alive (1958), but she received critical praise for her three mystery novels: Prescription for Murder (1941), Death in the Doll's House (1943), and The Dark Device (1944). She was also critically praised for her novels dealing with female psychology: Till the Boys Come Home (1944), and Sweet Death of Candor (1969).
The collection contains professional and personal correspondence including fan mail, day journals and travel diaries, manuscript materials, book reviews by Fetter, photographs and published material.
The correspondence and journals illuminate the conflict Fetter felt between her obligation to her family and her obligation to her own literary talent, her personal philosophy and its eventual interpretation through her novels, and her fear of a loss of creative writing powers. The correspondence with agents Paul Reynolds, Connie Smith, and Pat Schartle are especially complete and illuminating.
Correspondence is separated into professional incoming letters and personal letters, both organized alphabetically by name or title. Outgoing correspondence is organized by date (1931-1971) and there is a separate section of fan mail and responses by Fetter.
Manuscript material is separated into book-length manuscripts, and magazine articles and short story manuscripts. Book-length material includes drafts, outlines, synopsis, notes, proofs, corrections, revisions, and comments organized by title of work. Titles consist of "Ivy and the Id," "Mao," Shadow of a Joke," "Sweet Death of Candor," "Wives and Mothers," "You Never Really Know Anybody," and for an unfinished novel. Magazine and short story material includes drafts, notes, outlines, holograph corrections, and research material organized by title of work.
There is also a section of poetry manuscripts and book reviews by Fetter; material is organized by title of work. Other writings include novel and article ideas, T.V. scripts, a playlet, composition course notes, speech and personal notes, school notebooks, biographical material and photographs. Also available in this section are travel diaries for trips to Russia and Guatemala.
The rest of the collection contains published versions of articles, short stories, and serialized novels organized alphabetically by title.
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[Identification of item], Elizabeth Head Fetter papers, Ax 743, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.