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Dean Southern Jennings papers

Identifier: Ax 734

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, writer's society information, Office of War Information material, and biographical material.

The correspondence series is separated into outgoing correspondence, which is organized by date, and incoming letters that are alphabetically organized by name of sender.

The manuscripts series is separated into two sections: book length and article length manuscripts. Each section is organized alphabetically by title of work and each title often includes drafts, research files, and correspondence relating to that individual work. They include early fact detective pieces as well as Jennings' later polished profiles of Hollywood personalities including Barbara Hutton, Art Linkletter, Jack Warner, Edythe Tate Thompson, Ann-Margaret, Paul C. Smith, Connie Francis, Victor Borge, Ernest Borgnine, and Kim Novak. These profiles may include correspondence or interview with his subjects.

The radio and television show material includes correspondence, contracts, and notes.

There are files on the Mystery Writers of America, Inc. and the Society of Magazine Writers, and the Office of War Information which include correspondence and other documents. Also included in the collection are speeches, article ideas, notes, public relations material, biographical files, photographs and manuscripts by others.


  • 1920-1969

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

Dean Jennings (1905-1969) was born in Rochester, New York, on June 30, 1905. He was the son of Reverend Webster Wardell Jennings and Mary Jennings. He attended school in Munich, Germany from 1911-1915, West High School in Rochester, New York, from 1920-1923, and Lowell High School in San Francisco from 1923-1924.

Jennings began his journalistic career as a reporter for the San Francisco Journal in 1923. He worked as a sports writer for the San Francisco Examiner and the San Francisco Herald in 1924. In 1925 he went to France and worked as a reporter and rewriter for the Paris Herald until 1927. In 1928 Jennings returned to San Francisco and became the chief rewriter for the Call-Bulletin. He remained in this position unil 1934.

From 1934-1935 Jennings was the executive secretary of the Northern California Newspaper Guild. He was regional director of the United States Resettlement Administration in Denver and Indianapolis from 1935-1936. From 1936 to 1937 he was the regional director of the districution and promotion for U.S. Government Films in Chicago and Hollywood. In 1937 he was the regional information representative of the U.S. Social Security Board in San Francisco and the director of the press for the Golden Gate International Exposition. He was the Pacific Coast representative for the U.S. Film Service in 1939, the regional information director for the U.S. Office of Emergency Management in San Francisco in 1941, and regional director of the U.S. Office of War Information in San Francisco from 1942-1943.

During the 1940s Jennings was breaking into the free lance magazine market. His first sales were to detective magazines. Jennings then returned to newspaper work in the early 1950s and wrote a gossip, man-about-town column for the San Francisco Chronicle, called "It's News to Me," from 1951-1953. From 1947-1948, Jennings spent a year in Switzerland writing articles. Jennings wrote under several pseudonyms in the beginning of his career, including Robert Southern, Ward Winslow, Dorothy Cole, Carlton Russell, John Wesley Noble and Foster Rawls.

Jennings married Elsie Virginia Jennings in 1930 and divorced in 1938. He was then married to Doris Lucile Drury from 1940-1952, and to Mary Elizabeth Foster from 1953 until his death. He had six children.


16.5 linear feet (11 containers) : 11 records storage boxes

Language of Materials



Dean Jennings (1920-1969) was a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, columnist, and regional representative and director for multiple government agencies, mostly having to do with film or press. The collection consists of correspondence, manuscripts, writer's society information, Office of War Information material, and biographical material.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Mary Elizabeth Foster Jennings, circa 1973.

Guide to the Dean Southern Jennings Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Tanya Parlet
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

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

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA