Guide to the Harry Behn Papers
1914-1968

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Behn, Harry
Title: Harry Behn papers
Dates: 1914-1968 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 2.0 linear feet (2 containers)
Collection Number: Ax 420
Summary: Harry Behn (1898-1973) was a writer, teacher, and founder of various media groups. The collection includes books, plays, screenplays, correspondence, and mementos relating to Behn's interest in children's literature and educational programs.
Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, 97403-1299
(541) 346-3068
spcarref@uoregon.edu

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Harry Behn (1898-1973) was born in Yavapai County, Arizona. He was the son of Henry K. Behn, a miner, and Maren (Christensen) Behn. Although he began his education at Stanford University in 1918, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1922 from Harvard University. Behn married Alice Lawrence and had three children: Pamela, Prescott, and Peter. Behn worked in a number of different professions over his lifetime. He was a scenario writer for motion picture studios from 1925-1935; a teacher of creative writing at the University of Arizona in Tucson from 1938-1947; he founded the university radio bureau in 1938 and managed in until 1947; he founded the University of Arizona Press in 1960; and also founded the Phoenix Little Theater in 1922, managing it until 1923. In addition, Behn was the vice-president of the Tucson Regional Plan from 1940-1947.

Behn created twenty-one books for children, including several volumes of poetry, translated two, and wrote numerous screenplays and scripts for radio programs. His books include Siesta (1931), The Little Hill (1949), All Kinds of Time (1950), Windy Morning (1953), The House Beyond the Meadow (1955), The Wizard in the Well (1956), The Painted Cave (1957), Timmy's Search (1958), The Two Uncles of Pablo (1959), Sombra (1961), Roderick (1961), The Faraway Lurs (1963), Cricket Songs (1964), Omen of the Birds (1964), The Golden Hive (1966), Chrysalis: Concerning Children and Poetry (1968), What a Beautiful Noise (1970), More Cricket Songs (1971), Crickets and Bullfrogs and Whispers of Thunder: Poems and Pictures (1984), Trees: A Poem (1992), and Halloween (2003).

In 1923, Behn was awarded a fellowship for graduate study in Sweden for one year. He won Graphic Arts awards for three of his children's books, The Little Hill, All Kinds of Time, and The Painted Cave. All Kinds of Time also was one of thirty classics selected by the New York Public Library and by Life magazine. Omen of the Birds won the Honor Award from the Boys' Club of America; Cricket Song received the Award of Merit from Claremont Graduate College.

Behn commented to Junior Authors, "After I graduated from Harvard...I started a little theater in Phoenix, Arizona. Then I was sent to Sweden disguised as a scholar. After wandering a while about Europe, I drifted to Hollywood where I wrote scenarios for several movies, including La Boheme, The Crowd, Hotel Imperial, The Racket, The Big Parade, and Hell's Angels. Then I taught at the University of Arizona, lived on a small ranch, organized and directed the university radio bureau, founded and edited the Arizona Quarterly, worked very hard for Tucson Regional Plan, and I can't remember what else, all at once. With a burst of ambition, I organized a broadcasting company, sold it, and moved to Greenwich, Connecticut...Greenwich reminds me of mountainous Arizona where I grew up. I was born in McCabe, a mining camp, now a ghost town, but my earliest memories are of Prescott, with its Army post to guard us against the Apaches, or the Apaches from us, I'm not sure. But many of the people came from New England; there were pines and oak trees, and a real winter, and frogs peeping in the spring, just as they are today, here in Greenwich. I must go out now and see how much more the leaf buds have opened..."

(Sources: Gale Literary Databases. "Harry Behn." Contemporary Authors. 28 Oct. 5003. 1 July 2005. More Junior Authors; Junior Authors Electronic (1963) Updated 1999. Copyright (c) by The H. W. Wilson Company.)

Content Description

The Harry Behn Papers consist of four books; twenty-eight screen treatments, screenplays, scenarios, and continuities for film and television; nine plays; five radio scripts; a series of correspondence comprising sixty-one letters; and mementos including a scrapbook and one folder of both American and European playbills from the 1950s.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Manuscripts Librarian of the Division of Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Harry Behn Papers, Ax 420, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of Harry Behn in 1968

Processing Note :  

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.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Box
Folder
1 1 Miscellaneous
1 2 Novels. The Little Hill and Chrysals
1 3 Novels. Siesta and Sombra
1 4 Treatments. The Big Parade
1 5 Screenplays. Billy the Kid
1 6 Screenplays. La Boheme
1 7 Screenplays. The Bugle Sounds
1 8 Treatments. The Cabaret
1 9 Scenarios. Crop-The Tenth Anniversary
1 10 Treatments. The Crowd
1 11 Scenarios. Frozen River
1 12 Screenplays. Giants are Mortal
1 13 Treatments. Grand National
1 14 Screenplays. Hell's Angels
1 15 Screenplays. Honor
1 16 Screenplays. Honor
1 17 Screenplays. In Praise of Love
1 18 Screenplays. A Man Stands Alone
1 19 Treatments. The Marble Faun
1 20 Screenplays. The Mob
1 21 Treatments. Passing Strangers
1 22 Screenplays. Proud Flesh
1 23 Scenarios. The Racket
1 24 Treatments. Roughshod
1 25 Scenarios. Secrets of the Chateau
1 26 Screenplays. Texas Rangers
1 27 Treatments. Timber
1 28 Treatments. Two Little Savages
1 20 Screenplays. Two Nights in a Jungle
1 30 Screenplays. Viennese Lovers
1 31 Story ideas. Washington
1 32 Scenarios. White Silence
1 33 Three act plays. Arctic Voyage
1 34 One act plays. Binding of the Sheaf
1 35 One act plays. Broadway Eve
1 36 One act plays. Camera
1 37 Story ideas. Chicken Every Sunday
1 38 Three act plays. Crossing for Two
1 39 Three act plays. A Doctor In Spite of Himself
1 40 One act plays. The Heroes
1 41 Three act plays. In Praise of Love
1 42 Radio scripts. A Challenge to Drums
1 43 Radio scripts. Dust Over Transuaal
1 44 Radio scripts. Highland Mary
1 45 Radio scripts. Pieces of Eight
1 46 Radio scripts. U-Go-1917
1 47 Correspondence. Miscellaneous
1 48 Correspondence. Harry Behn, H.K. Behn, Mrs. H. K. Behn
2 48 Scrapbook
2 48 Playbills

Subjects

  • Personal Names :
  • Behn, Harry
  • Behn, Harry--Correspondence
  • Subject Terms :
  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Children's literature, American
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Playbills

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