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Margo Benary-Isbert papers

Identifier: Ax 394

Scope and Contents note

The Margot Benary-Isbert papers include manuscripts for Aufruhr in Vogelsang and Das Abenteuer des Alterns; correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, including letters from readers; forty-eight original illustrations in ink and watercolor, and seven in ink; and twenty-one published works. These books are Die Arche Noah (1948); Grootmoeder en Haar Eerste Kleinkind (1951); Mädchen für Alles (1953); Sternschnuppe im Schnee (1954, second printing); Anemoon en de Boze Uil (1955); Schloss an der Grenze (1956, second printing); Heiligenwald (1956, third printing; with 1956 translation); Annegrete op Heiligenwald (1956); Arken (1956); Förtrollningen (1957); Kevät Nooan arkissa (1958); Rönngården (1958); Rønnebærgården; Annagret und Cara (1962, fifth printing; with 1951 translation); A Arca (1963); Unter dem Sichelmond (1965); Das Abenteuer des Alterns (1966, first edition); Die Grofsmutter und Ihr Erstern Enkel (1966, with 1959 translation); Gefährlicher Frühling (1966, second edition); ...ein heitrer Abend krönt den reichen Tag (1968); and Ich reise mit meinen Enkeln (1971).

The collection also includes drafts, page proofs, and printer's copies of ...ein heitrer Abend krönt den reichen Tag. Several files contain lecture correspondence, published articles, publicity materials, and biographical information.


  • 1950-1971


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

Margot Benary-Isbert was born on December 2, 1889, in Saarbrucken, Germany, the daughter of Adolf and Toni (Ippel) Isbert. She married Wilhelm Benary, a psychologist and seed firm executive, in 1917 and they had one daughter, Eva Toni. She attended the College St. Carolus and the University of Frankfurt.

Benary-Isbert began her career as a secretary from 1910-1917 at the Museum of Ethnology and Anthropology in Frankfurt, Germany. She fled to West Germany when, at the end of World War II, the Russians took over the area in which her husband's estate was located. In 1952 she moved to the United States, where she worked as a writer until her death in 1979. She received American citizenship in 1957.

Most of Benary-Isbert's books were written and published originally in German; some were later translated into English and published again. Her children's novels include Die Arche Noah (1948), translated as The Ark (1953), which won first prize at the New York Herald Tribune's Spring Book Festival in 1953; Die Ebereschenhof (1949), the sequel to Die Arche Noah, published as Rowan Farm in 1954; Heiligenwald (1953), published as A Time to Love (1962); and Schloss an der Grenze (1956), translated and published in 1956 as Castle on the Border. She wrote at least seventeen other books, including Annegret und Cara (1951), which won the Jane Addams Children's Book Award from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in 1957. The book was translated in 1967 and titled Blue Mystery.

Benary-Isbert is known for her "depictions of humane, realistic characters" A reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement wrote that, "Benary's people are people; they are solid, real characters and their lives and their hopes and their sorrows matter to the reader." Benary-Isbert drew much of her inspiration from her own experiences living in Germany during and after the World War II period. She was also interested in portraying nineteenth-century German history, a time before Germany was unified as a state. Her narratives are admired for being richly detailed and of a consistently high quality, perhaps higher than many other books in the same genre of the time.

Margot Benary-Isbert died on May 27, 1979, in Santa Barbara, California.

(Source: Gale Literary Databases. "Margot Benary-Isbert." Contemporary Authors. 28 October 2003. 11 July 2005.


4.5 linear feet (5 containers)

Language of Materials



Margot Benary-Isbert (1889-1979) was an author of books for young people. The collection includes manuscripts, original illustrations, published books, and correspondence relating to Benary-Isbert's interest in German history and people, and her experience of post-war Germany.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Margot Benary in 1971

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 Margo Benary-Isbert papers
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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