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Jules Archer papers

Identifier: Ax 314

Scope and Contents note

The Jules Archer Papers consist of an extensive collection of book manuscripts, articles, short stories, article ideas, outlines, research materials, and correspondence covering a time span from the 1940s through the 1970s. Jules Archer's collection contains many political, historical, and biographical books written for young readers, as well as work written for popular periodicals, including Esquire, Playboy, and Good Housekeeping.

The Jules Archer Papers are arranged into five distinct series. The first of these series is General Correspondence. A large quantity of Archer's correspondence is from his agent, the August Lenniger Literary Agency, over a period of ten years, from 1952 to 1962, as well as correspondence from the author's many publishers, including Julian Messner, Crowell, and Hawthorn Books. Also included in the correspondence are a number of acceptance and rejection letters received during his writing career. Series I: General Correspondence has been divided into Incoming and Outgoing correspondence. The Outgoing correspondence is organized chronologically, beginning in the 1940s and continuing up into the middle of the seventies. The Incoming correspondence is organized alphabetically by the author of the letter, or the institution that the author represented. It should be noted that much of the correspondence relating to his research is not found in this series but has been filed instead with the pertinent work in the second and third series.

Series II: Literary Works contains materials relating to full-length books that were eventually published. Included in this series are various manuscripts and preliminary drafts, along with research notes. This series also includes galley proofs, printers' copies, page proofs, and various production notes. The series is arranged alphabetically by the final title of the work.

Series III: Article Ideas and Outlines, is, as the title suggests, a collection of Archer's article ideas and outlines. With these are his research materials as well as some correspondence from potential markets. Because of the unfinished and sometimes fragmentary state of some of these ideas the arrangement of these articles is somewhat scattered. In an effort to remain true to the author's own arrangement, the articles and ideas are arranged first by title of the work (if it was known), then by the publisher, and lastly by the year or decade it was written.

Series IV is Miscellaneous materials. These materials include library slips, catalogs from publishers, insurance and pension information from the Writers Guild of America, East. Also included in this are random newspaper clippings, business cards, and other ephemeral items. With only two folders, this is the smallest series of the collection.

The final series in the Jules Archer Papers contains photographs from the collection. This is a small series with photographs containing only black and white photographs for Archer's book Epidemic.


  • 1947-1977


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.

Biographical/Historical note

Born on January 27, 1915, in New York City, Jules Archer began writing at the age of six. He first published as a teenager in a variety of venues including a graphic arts magazine entitled PM, a publication of the Bermuda line, Voyager, as well as Venier Quarterly. Archer attended DeWitt Clinton High School in New York City and the College of the City of New York, where he received a degree in advertising.

After college, Jules Archer worked as a publicity and advertising copywriter for Universal Pictures and other companies. Archer left his job when World War II began, serving in the Pacific with the 5th Air Force as a foreign correspondent. Under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, he sent dispatches from Australia, New Guinea, and the Philippines that were published in many national magazines. While serving in Australia he met Eleanor McMahon, whom he married on May 2, 1942.

After the war, Jules Archer devoted himself fully to his work as a freelance writer. Archer has authored over fifty published books for young readers, as well as over a thousand published articles and short stories for popular periodicals, including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Playboy, and Esquire. Archer has also worked as a consultant to World Book Encyclopedia. Archer's books, stories, and articles have been translated into twelve languages, reprinted by the State Department for distribution overseas, adapted for television, and anthologized in various collections.

Jules Archer specializes in writing political, historical, and biographical books for younger readers. Critics have praised Archer for his impartiality in reporting on controversial public figures including IWW leader "Big" Bill Haywood, Earth First! founder David Foreman, and even Vietnamese revolutionary Ho Chi Minh during the midst of the Vietnam War. In an effort to appeal to young readers Archer's biographies are usually written in a fictionalized style, including conversations and thoughts attributed to the characters.

It was Jules Archer's role as a father that led him towards an interest in writing books for young people. Archer was "dismayed at the clap-trap" that his sons, Michael, Dane, and Kerry were given to read in their junior high and high school years. He claimed that, "The textbooks did not tell the truth about how our government operates, nor about our history at home and abroad." Archer once said, "I cannot tell how much good my books have done in developing a new awareness of the whole truth about America and the rest of the world in the younger generation, although they are fortunately in tune with the thinking of many young people about what is wrong in our society and how to correct it." While his books may not have added many new historical facts, Archer's dedication to giving young readers the tools to make historical judgments for themselves makes his literary contribution a significant one.


46.25 linear feet (96 containers)

Language of Materials



Jules Archer (1915-) specializes in writing political, historical, and biographical books for younger readers. The papers consists of an extensive collection of book manuscripts, articles, short stories, article ideas, outlines, research materials, and correspondence covering a time span from the 1940s through the 1970s.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series I: General correspondenceSeries II: Literary worksSeries III A: Article ideas and outlinesSeries III B: Article ideas and outlines (correspondence)Series III C: Magazine assignmentsSeries IV. MiscellaneousSeries V. Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Jules Archer in 1967.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the Jules Archer papers
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Finding aid prepared by Aggie Agapito, April Johnson, and Chris Wolf, Manuscripts Processors
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA