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Theodore V. Olsen papers

Identifier: Ax 393

Scope and Contents

The Theodore V. Olsen papers contain mainly literary manuscripts and professional correspondence. Many of the author’s novels, and some shorter works, are represented in draft, outline and/or proof forms. Included with many items are brief introductory remarks typed by Olsen himself or possibly by an assistant. Of particular value to the researcher are the many working drafts that help exhibit Olsen’s creative process. However, one wishing to research the life and personality of the author would find few in-depth materials.


  • 1955-1983


Conditions Governing Access

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

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

Theodore Victor Olsen was a popular author of western novels and stories. He was born in Rheinlander, Wisconsin on April 25, 1932 and died there of a stroke on July 13, 1993. He was educated at Stevens Point State College (now University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point), earning his B.S. in 1955. To Olsen’s credit are 40 novels and numerous short stories; some of these attributed to the pseudonyms Joshua Stark, Christopher Storm and Cass Willoughby. Although Olsen sold his first novel only months after his college graduation, the first years of his career were difficult. The popular pulp western magazine had declined, closing an outlet on which the previous generation of western writers had depended. He waited until 1959 before another novel was sold. Faucett Publishing bought his next five novels during the years 1960-1961. From this point on Olsen was able to sustain a career as a freelance writer. Olsen’s work is highly regarded for its dramatic effectiveness and careful presentation of historical information. Numerous pieces exhibit an interest in Native American culture through sympathetic writing. Although his fame rests mainly on his writings in the western genre, Olsen considered his historical novel, There was a Season (1972), on Jefferson Davis to be among his most important. His novel Arrow in the Sun (1969) was produced as a film in 1970 under the title Soldier Blue.


4.5 linear feet (11 containers)

Language of Materials



Theodore Victor Olsen was a well-known writer of western novels and stories, and other works inspired by American history. A native of Wisconsin, he was born in the town of Rheinlander in 1932 and died there in 1993. This collection contains many examples of his writing, from throughout his career, in draft and proof forms. Also included are many business-related correspondence.


The collection is organized into the following series: Manuscripts; Correspondence; Miscellaneous; Addenda I; and Addenda II.

Physical Description

6 containers

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 Theodore V. Olsen Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Erick Arenas
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written 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