Mansfield, Norma BicknellMansfield, Robert Stuart, 1906-
Norma Bicknell and Robert Stuart Mansfield papers
1929-1970 ( inclusive )
5.5 linear feet (5 containers)
Norma Bicknell (1906-1965) and Robert Mansfield (1906- ) met and married in 1925 while students at the University of Michigan; as undergraduates, both studied creative writing. The collection includes many manuscripts, correspondence and miscellaneous material.
Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Norma Bicknell and Robert Mansfield met and married in 1925 while students at the University of Michigan; as undergraduates, both studied creative writing under the direction of Donal Hamilton Haines. Of the two writers, Robert Mansfield was first to have material accepted for publication. 1927 saw the beginning of a long series of publications over a period of ten years in young peoples' magazines such as the
The Torchbearer, the
Class Mate, and the
High Road. By 1930, the same magazines, along with
The American Girl, were publishing Norma Mansfield's short stories on a regular basis as well.
While Robert Mansfield continued at the University of Michigan, earning a Master's Degree in Journalism, Norma Mansfield began work on the first of four juvenile books, which were to be published in the 1930s. Each of the books first appeared in serial form in
Tthe American Girl under the titles,
Keeper of the Wolves, Boss of the Ragged O, McCallister Patrol, and
The Girl from Frozen Bend. While waiting for a teaching position to open up for Mr. Mansfield, the couple spent what they called their "bohemian years" traveling, camping, and selling enough magazine fiction to provide a small income. During the depression, Robert Mansfield held a position as instructor in the University of Washington School of Journalism. It was at this time that he began writing and selling adult fiction to the
Saturday Evening Post,
Liberty. While the early years of his career was divided between the interests of writing and teaching, by the late 1930s, Mr. Mansfield devoted himself almost entirely to teaching. For this reason, other then seven short stories published in magazines in the 1940s and one co-authored book from 1970, examples in the collection of his writing date primarily form the 1920s and 1930s. In the 25 years that Robert Mansfield taught at the University of Washington, he became full professor and, finally, acting director of the School of Journalism. As a teacher, he was particularly noted for his short story seminars. In 1959, he left the teaching profession to become assistant public relations manager of the Boeing Airplane Company of Seattle.
Norma Mansfield's success as a writer of short stories for magazine publications began after 1937, when she turned from juvenile to adult fiction. It was in this year that she turned from juvenile to adult fiction and began her twenty-year-long working relationship with the New York literary agent, Carl Brandt. Under Brandt's guidance, Norma Mansfield's fiction was submitted to and accepted by magazines such as
The Saturday Evening Post,
Woman's Home Companion.
The Saturday Evening Post alone published more than 27 of her short stories.
The Norma Bicknell and Robert Stuart Mansfield Papers include many manuscripts, correspondence and miscellaneous material. The majority of the manuscripts in the collection are of the standard 17 to 21 page magazine fiction length. A common background for many of the stories seems to have been determined by Norma Mansfield's childhood in rural Eastern Washington, since many of the stories deal with ranching and with outdoor life in the West. The Mansfields collaborated only occasionally on stories, examples included in the collection are "Fool's Mate" and "Printer's Ink". Also, the collection includes over 450 letters written by Carl Brandt to both of the Mansfields during the years from 1937 to 1957; in addition, business details relating to the sale of material are well documented in agency correspondence.
Use of the Collection
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Preferred Citation :
[Identification of item], Norma Bicknell and Robert Stuart Mansfield Papers, Ax 765, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.
Collection is organized into the following series: