Letters & Correspondence

This archive contains the correspondence of John G. Neihardt (1881-1973). Among the outgoing correspondence originally collected by his biographer, Lucile Aly, we find letters that Neihardt wrote to the literary editors of various journals and presses, and the editors of newspapers he worked for (e.g. the Minneapolis Journal, Kansas City Journal Post, Joseph Pulitzer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch), as well as to other writers, such as George Sterling, Upton Sinclair and Mari Sandoz. Through his letters to close confidantes and friends, including Nicholas and Ben Black Elk, we can trace the evolution of his various essays and short stories and his longer works, Black Elk Speaks and A Cycle of the West.

We can also observe the trajectory of Neihardt’s growing literary and intellectual reputation through his letters to public figures such as then-Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and President Harry S. Truman and through the numerous honors and awards he received from state and regional organizations and national literary societies (as well as his “row” with Poetry Magazine and his near-misses with the Pulitzer). Many letters provide information and insights into his joyfully chaotic family life, including their many moves from Bancroft to Minneapolis, to Branson, St. Louis and beyond. Others offer details of Neihardt’s extensive and adventurous research-trips down the Missouri River and along the central portion of the Oregon Trail. His “outgoing” letters were sent as close to home as the Black Hills in South Dakota and as far away as New Delhi, India.

The incoming letters held at the Neihardt Center in Bancroft, NE are equally diverse, dating from the fall of 1900 to late 1973. They include correspondence with writers, critics and thinkers of national stature, such as Jessie B. Rittenhouse, H. L. Mencken, Louis Untermeyer, Sinclair, Pulitzer, Carl Sandberg, Carl Van Doren, and J. E. Boodin, as well as a number of writers with close Nebraska ties, such as Mildred Bennett, Nellie Yost, Marion Marsh Brown and Sandoz.

1355 documents

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