Scope and Contents note
The Norma Bicknell and Robert Stuart Mansfield Papers include many manuscripts, correspondence and miscellaneous material. The majority of the manuscripts in the collection are of the standard 17 to 21 page magazine fiction length. A common background for many of the stories seems to have been determined by Norma Mansfield's childhood in rural Eastern Washington, since many of the stories deal with ranching and with outdoor life in the West. The Mansfields collaborated only occasionally on stories, examples included in the collection are "Fool's Mate" and "Printer's Ink". Also, the collection includes over 450 letters written by Carl Brandt to both of the Mansfields during the years from 1937 to 1957; in addition, business details relating to the sale of material are well documented in agency correspondence.
- Creation: 1929-1970
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.
Conditions Governing Use note
Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.
Norma Bicknell and Robert Mansfield met and married in 1925 while students at the University of Michigan; as undergraduates, both studied creative writing under the direction of Donal Hamilton Haines. Of the two writers, Robert Mansfield was first to have material accepted for publication. 1927 saw the beginning of a long series of publications over a period of ten years in young peoples' magazines such as the Haversack, The Torchbearer, the Class Mate, and the High Road. By 1930, the same magazines, along with The American Girl, were publishing Norma Mansfield's short stories on a regular basis as well.
While Robert Mansfield continued at the University of Michigan, earning a Master's Degree in Journalism, Norma Mansfield began work on the first of four juvenile books, which were to be published in the 1930s. Each of the books first appeared in serial form in Tthe American Girl under the titles, Keeper of the Wolves, Boss of the Ragged O, McCallister Patrol, and The Girl from Frozen Bend. While waiting for a teaching position to open up for Mr. Mansfield, the couple spent what they called their "bohemian years" traveling, camping, and selling enough magazine fiction to provide a small income. During the depression, Robert Mansfield held a position as instructor in the University of Washington School of Journalism. It was at this time that he began writing and selling adult fiction to the Saturday Evening Post, Collier's and Liberty. While the early years of his career was divided between the interests of writing and teaching, by the late 1930s, Mr. Mansfield devoted himself almost entirely to teaching. For this reason, other then seven short stories published in magazines in the 1940s and one co-authored book from 1970, examples in the collection of his writing date primarily form the 1920s and 1930s. In the 25 years that Robert Mansfield taught at the University of Washington, he became full professor and, finally, acting director of the School of Journalism. As a teacher, he was particularly noted for his short story seminars. In 1959, he left the teaching profession to become assistant public relations manager of the Boeing Airplane Company of Seattle.
Norma Mansfield's success as a writer of short stories for magazine publications began after 1937, when she turned from juvenile to adult fiction. It was in this year that she turned from juvenile to adult fiction and began her twenty-year-long working relationship with the New York literary agent, Carl Brandt. Under Brandt's guidance, Norma Mansfield's fiction was submitted to and accepted by magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post, Liberty, Collier's, Cosmopolitan, American, McCall's, and Woman's Home Companion. The Saturday Evening Post alone published more than 27 of her short stories.
5.5 linear feet (5 containers)
Language of Materials
Norma Bicknell (1906-1965) and Robert Mansfield (1906- ) met and married in 1925 while students at the University of Michigan; as undergraduates, both studied creative writing. The collection includes many manuscripts, correspondence and miscellaneous material.
Collection is organized into the following series:
Series: Correspondence (Norma Bicknell) (1929-1960)
Series: Manuscripts (Norma Bicknell)
Series: Publications (Norma Bicknell)
Series: Correspondence (Robert Mansfield)
Series: Manuscripts (Robert Mansfield)
Series: Publications (Robert Mansfield)
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Gift of Norma Bicknell and Robert Stuart Mansfield in 1974.
Processing Information note
Collection processed by processing staff, April 1974.
Genre / Form
- Authors, American -- 20th century
- Children and Youth
- Literary agents -- Correspondence
- Publishers and publishing
- Publishers and publishing -- Correspondence
- Short stories, American -- Authorship
- Western stories -- Authorship
- Women authors, American -- 20th century
- Young adult literature, American -- Authorship
- Guide to the Norma Bicknell and Robert Stuart Mansfield Papers
- Complete Description
- Finding aid prepared by processing staff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid is in English
- Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.