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Annette Turngren papers

Identifier: Ax 557

Scope and Contents note

This collection contains material for a manuscript, a few pieces of artwork for Flaxen Braids and The Copper Kettle. Also included in the collection are several published books


  • 1939-1969


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

My home when I was a child was a grain and dairy farm near Montrose, Minnesota. My parents had come from Sweden in their youth and settled there, and I was the youngest of their nine children. There were few other children in the neighborhood, but there were so many of us, and always a few cousins or family friends visiting, that we never felt lonely. We did everything together, went swimming in the muddy Crow River, skated on pasture ponds, and had a homemade tennis and volleyball court out under the trees, and on winter evenings a big kitchen table around which we all played games or did our lessons or read our books.

Though libraries were far away, books found their way into our home somehow, and a Christmas without books under the tree would have been no Christmas at all. The loft above the woodshed held a many years’ accumulation of reading matter and one of the delights of my childhood was to hide away under the dusty rafters and lose myself in some fascinating book or delve into a stack of old magazines.

Even at the age of nine, I dreamed of becoming a writer. In spite of her busy life, my mother sometimes wrote poems and sketches which were published in a Swedish magazine, and one of my sisters had begun writing stories and broken into print. I longed for the same glory, but though I filled the blank pages of my father’s discarded old ledgers with one “novel” after another, I always left them half done. Yet I was sure I was going to write books someday. No other future had any appeal for me.

When I was thirteen we moved to Minneapolis. In my senior year in high school, and after some experience on the school paper, I decided that I would become a journalist. Armed with a letter from the dean of girls, I set off for the Minneapolis Journal to offer my services to the editor, but though I walked back and forth in front of the building most of the day, I never had the courage to go in. So ended my career in journalism.

That fall I entered the University of Minnesota, where I studied to become an English teacher. Dreams of a writing career were laid aside and might never have been taken out and dusted off except for one of my instructors, who suggested I try writing for children. The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea, mostly because I have always liked children.

During the years I was teaching, I wrote for young people’s magazines, but I never thought of attempting a book. Then one summer when I was listening to some of my mother’s recollections of her childhood in Sweden, I thought, “Why not write it down and weave it into a story?” It wasn’t until I was hard at work on Flaxen Braids, my first book, that I realized this was what I had really wanted to do ever since I was nine—write a book. Only now I was better equipped to do it.

Flaxen Braids, my mother’s story, was published in 1937. The following year I visited Sweden and there wrote a second book, The Copper Kettle, most of it on the little island of Oland where my father was born, basing the story on his childhood.

Several girls’ mysteries followed before I came to New York City to work on teen-age magazines and in a book publishing house. New York is still my home. I often return to Minnesota, and a number of my books have had that state as their setting.

Source: Wilson Biographies Plus online database


1.5 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Collection comprises a manuscript, art work and books associated with American writer Annette Turngren. Included is a draft manuscript of Mystery plays a golden flute. There are illustrations by Dorothy Bayley for The copper kettle, and for Flaxen braids. And there are a number of Turngren's published books, including The copper kettle; Choosing the right college; and Mystery of the water witch.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: IllustrationsManuscriptsPublished works

Processing Information note

Collection processed by processing 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 Annette Turngren 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 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