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Joseph S. Pennell (1903-1963), novelist and short story writer, was born in junction City, Kansas and educated at the University of Kansas and Oxford. He was a newspaper reporter and teacher.
His first novel, The History of Rome Hanks and Kindred Matters (1944) was a book "based on the author’s recollections from his own Kansas family as well as his reading of more than 1,000 Civil War books and the 128 volumes of the Official Records, Pennell depicted in Rome Hanks the lives of ordinary soldiers with gripping realism."
Pennell’s second novel, The History of Nora Beckham: A Museum of Home Life (1948), continued his family’s Kansas saga, focusing on the life of Pennell’s mother. A projected third volume, entitled The History of Thomas Wagnal, apparently further continued the family’s Kansas saga and exists in manuscript, and is part of the Pennel collection.
He married Elizabeth Horton in St. Louis in 1945. After she died from an overdose of sleeping pills in 1949, he married her sister, Virginia Horton, who survived him. He had no children.
In 1947, Pennell moved to Oregon and he published one more book, Darksome House, a collection of his poems, in 1959. He lived in Oregon for sixteen years until his death, at the age of 60, in 1963.
Source: Biography Reference Center website: http://web.ebscohost.com/brc/detail?sid=0393e300-942e-4578-8e76-a9b345aa9a22%40sessionmgr110&vid=6&hid=104&bdata=JnNpdGU9YnJjLWxpdmU%3d#db=b6h&AN=35194877
The collection consists of correspondence, diaries, literary manuscript material, an autobiography, idea notebook, published newspaper pieces, photographs, and the personal correspondence, diary and manuscripts of Elizabeth Pennell, nee Horton.
Pennell's diary contains repeated references to the toil associated with creative work. It is written from 1932-1937 and has three later entries, 1946, 1948, and 1951.
Correspondence include sixty five letters from Pennell to Elizabeth Horton (Pennell), 1945, and 304 letters received. Major correspondents are: Jean Benedict (1941-1942, 18 letters) Luada Boswell (1941-1943, 40 letters) Martha Gellhorn (1931, 1936, 23 letters); Marian Ives (1945-1951, 20 letters); and the publisher of Rome Hanks Maxwell Perkins (1943-1946, 61 letters).
Book manuscripts include unpublished chapters of The History of Rome Hanks, the originals of Nora Beckham and The History of Thomas Wagnal. Also available are manuscripts of two other novels, a holograph science fiction novel titled Atmen, and an autobiography, not completed. Other manuscripts include thirty five short stories and essays.
There are also poetry manuscripts and a notebook of ideas. The notebook contains a wide range of potential subjects, character possibilities, scraps of description, dialogue, and pertinent historical information.
The papers of Elizabeth Pennell, nee Horton, include her diary, 1927-1928, when she was enjoying life in Paris and North Africa, letters to Claude Kent (1927-1928) and George Reese (1933-1934), and letters from Ramsay Brown (1933-1938). Her manuscripts include Bali notes and other Bali subjects, college themes, and other topics.
There is a file of Pennell family miscellany.
Graphic materials include a photograph album of Elizabeth Pennell's, and photographs by Joseph Judd Pennell of Junction City, Kansas and Fort Riley, 1897-1925.
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[Identification of item], Joseph Stanley Pennell papers, Ax 194, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.