Guide to the James E. Sisson III Papers,
1951-1986

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Sisson, James E.
Title: James E. Sisson III Papers
Dates: 1951-1986 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 9 boxes (7 linear feet)
Collection Number: USU_COLL MSS 290
Summary: This collection contains the personal and professional papers of James Edward Sisson III. It includes biographical information on Sisson in the form of personal papers and personal correspondence, but the bulk of the collection is related to author Jack London.
Repository: Utah State University. Special Collections and Archives
Manuscript Collection

Merrill-Cazier Library
Utah State University
3000 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-3000
Phone: 435 797-2663
Fax: 435 797-2880
Email: scweb@usu.edu

Languages: Material in English 

Biographical Note

James Edward Sisson III was born August 16, 1916 in Vernon, Alabama to Daniel W. and Susie Brown Sisson. Sisson graduated from Lamar County High School as valedictorian in 1935, and a year later enrolled in Florence State College. In 1939 Sisson graduated with at B.A., and worked for two years as a teacher in Jackson County, Alabama. After the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor, Sisson served in the US Army from 1941 to 1945 as a cryptographic technician in the Signal Intelligence Unit, in both New Guinea and the Philippines. Once the war had ended, Sisson enrolled at Auburn University, Alabama to study English and by 1947 Sisson had earned a second B.A. and a M.A. Thereafter, Sisson taught at Mississippi State University and Georgia Tech before enrolling in Duke University in 1953 to further his studies. During this time Sisson was diagnosed as having both tuberculosis and a form of skin cancer on his face, which later disfigured him. In 1957 Sisson enrolled in the University of California at Berkeley for a Ph.D. in English, studying under Professor James D. Hart. From 1967 to 1969 Sisson worked as a library assistant at The Bancroft Library. In 1970 Sisson became actively involved in researching and writing about Jack London. Discovering an unpublished literary work of London's housed at the Library of Congress, Sisson had London's Gold published by the Holmes Book Company in 1972. Sisson soon earned a reputation that led him to be one of the nation's leading Jack London research scholars. Over time Sisson became internationally known for his abilities to aid researchers seeking information on Jack London. Some of his recognized works include The Fiction of Jack London: A Chronological Bibliography (1972), Jack London: First Editions (1979), and Jack London's Articles and Short Stories in ‘The Aegis’ (1981). Sisson died in the 1986.

Content Description

This collection contains the personal and professional papers of James Edward Sisson III. This ten box collection contains biographical information on Sisson in the form of personal papers and personal correspondence, but the bulk of the collection contains materials relevant to those conducting research on Jack London. Those desiring to use this collection for research on Jack London can primarily find information on him in the form of (1) Sisson's research papers (2) incoming correspondence from both domestic and foreign Jack London researchers, (3) a collection of unpublished poems by numerous authors about Jack London, (4) and rare newspaper clippings and articles by and about Jack London.

Box 1 contains Sisson's personal papers and papers concerning his research on Jack London. These papers consist of biographical information on Sisson, his graduate school papers, his address books, and some bibliographical notes on Jack London and London's father.

Boxes 2—8 contain Sisson's personal and professional incoming and outgoing correspondence. Outgoing correspondence is organized chronologically and incoming correspondence is organized alphabetically, then chronologically. Letters of correspondence were placed in separate folders when a single author sent more than ten letters, or if the letters were sent by Sisson's family. Some of Sisson's personal letters, such as letters from let his mother can be found in Boxes 6 and 7, while letters from his sister can be found in Box 5, Fd 2. Special interest letters, such as the seven incoming letters from Becky London Fleming (Jack London's daughter) are located in Box 3, Fd 6. Many letters, which comprise the bulk of this collection, are from domestic Jack London researchers. Numerous incoming letters from international researchers, such as from Sakae Fujiwara (from Japan, working on translating London's writing into Japanese), Eiji Tsujii (another researcher from Japan), and Jean Louis Postif (a London researcher from France, whose letters are written in French) comprise a sample of the materials in this collection.

Box 9 contains typescripts of Jack and Charmian London correspondence, Sisson's research papers on Jack London, over two-hundred unpublished poems about Jack London, and a variety of hard-to-come-by publications about Jack London. Folder 1 contains reproductions of three Jack London letters, a photocopy of a book announcement by Jack London, and a reproduced letter of Charmian London. Folder 3 contains photocopies of a government file concerning the desire of officials to censor Jack London's socialist writings. The poems have been organized in the order they were received, in an attempt to preserve Sisson's desire to have them published. This box also contains two newsletters, one of which contains an article on Jack London's popularity in Russian literary circles.

Box 9 and 10 contain a wide variety of reproduced rare newspaper articles by and about Jack London, such as one article in Russian and one article in German. These newspaper articles are primarily from California newspapers, but a substantial number come from Midwest and New England newspapers. Of particular interest is a set of newspaper articles from The Socialist, of Melbourne, Australia a journal in which Jack London was especially active.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

No restrictions on use, except: not available through interlibrary loan.

Restrictions on Use :  

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.

Permission to publish material from the James E. Sisson III Papers must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.

Preferred Citation :  

Initial Citation: James E. Sisson III Papers USU_COLL MSS 290, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.

Following Citations:USU_COLL MSS 290, USUSCA.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Correspondence is arranged chronologically.

Processing Note :  

Processed in March of 2005

Acquisition Information :  

The papers of James Sisson were donated to USU Special Collections & Archives in 2004 by Helen Abbot, the granddaughter-in-law of Jack London.

Related Materials :  

Those desiring additional information on Jack London should see USU Special Collections & Archives: Collection The Papers of Jack & Charmian London Mss 10

Those desiring to view the photos of James E. Sisson III should inquire with the USU Special Collections & Archives Photograph Curator.

Those desiring to further research James E. Sisson III should see the collection housed at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Bancroft Library catalogued as: BANC MSS 87/167c, James E. Sisson Papers, (1950—1986)

Bibliography :  Sources:
  • Source: Collection Mss 290: Box 1, Fd 1.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Papers, 1961-1963
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Box
Folder
1 1 Biographical materials Undated
1 2 Papers concerning Sisson's grandfather who fought in the Civil War Undated
1 3 Membership and ID cards Undated
1 4 Graduate school papers Undated
1 5 Financial papers Undated
1 6 Address booklets (four) Undated
1 7 Complied bibliographies (by Sisson) of Jack London's works (one bibliography contains French publications of London's work) Undated
1 8 Bibliographies (compiled by Sisson) of W. H. Chaney (J. London's biological father) and J. Reimers Undated
1 9 Papers concerning Gold, by Jack London, (edited by Sisson and performed by a high school drama club) Undated
1 10 Compilation of Jack London's travels Undated
1 11 Jack London Newsletter, (two issues) 1973
1 12 Essays, concerning Jack London, edited by Sisson Undated
1 13 Notebooks, school notes for English courses, (two items) 1961—1963
1 14 Notebooks, school notes for English courses, (two items) 1961—1963
1 15 Notes, school notes for English courses (loose) 1961—1963
1 16 Notes, school notes in French taken from a binder (loose) Undated
1 17 Miscellaneous papers Undated
1 18 Photograph of James E. Sisson Undated

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Correspondence, 1897-1986
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Outgoing and incoming (A—C) 1963—1986
Box
Folder
2 1 Outgoing 1963—1979
2 2 Outgoing 1980—1986
2 3 Incoming, A Undated
2 4 Incoming, B Undated
2 5 Incoming, Bates, Mike, (of Jack London Echoes) 1981—1984
2 6 Incoming, Beilke, Marlon 1972—1975
2 7 Incoming, Beilke, Marlon 1976-1986
2 8 Incoming, Beilke, Marlon Undated
2 9 Incoming, C Undated
3 1 Incoming, Clark, Margaret 1969—1985
3 2 Incoming, Colvin, Delma 1966-1986
3 3 Incoming, D—E Undated
3 4 Incoming, Ebbett, Luella “Grams” 1964-1971
3 5 Incoming, F Undated
3 6 Incoming, Fleming, Becky London (daughter of Jack London, seven letters) 1983-1986
3 7 Incoming, Fujiwara, Sakae (from Japan, working on translating London's writing into Japanese) 1969-1970
3 8 Incoming, G Undated
3 9 Incoming, Gaskin, Jackie 1954—1986
3 10 Incoming, H Undated
3 11 Incoming, Henry, James L. 1973-1982
4 1 Incoming, Hensley, Dennis E. 1976-1982
4 2 Incoming, I—J Undated
4 3 Incoming, Kingman, Russ (of the Jack London Museum) 1973-1986
4 4 Incoming, L Undated
4 5 Incoming, Labor, Earl 1972—1986
5 1 Incoming, Lachtman, Howard 1971-1979
5 2 Incoming, Lewis, Ethel (Sisson's sister) 1951-1986
5 3 Incoming, M. Undated
5 4 Incoming, N—O Undated
5 5 Incoming, Nelson, Ralph 1956-1964
6 1 Incoming, P—R Undated
6 2 Incoming, Postif, Jean Louis (London researcher from France, letters are written in French) 1978-1985
6 3 Incoming, Potter, Fred H. 1978-1986
6 4 Incoming, Runk, Virgina H. 1964-1971
6 5 Incoming, S Undated
6 6 Incoming, Schmidt, Klaus (London researcher from Germany) 1977-1980
6 7 Incoming, Shinjo, Tetsuo (London researcher from Japan) 1977-1978
6 8 Incoming, Sisson, Icie (Sisson's aunt) 1953-1986
6 9 Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) 1951
6 10 Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) 1952
7 1 Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) 1953
7 2 Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) 1954
7 2a Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) 1954
7 3 Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) 1955—1966
7 4 Incoming, Sisson, Susie Brown (Sisson's mother) Undated estimated 1950s
7 5 Incoming, T—Z Undated
7 6 Incoming, Tsujii, Eiji (London researcher from Japan) 1973-1980
8 1 Incoming, Votaw, Homer C. 1982—1987
8 2 Incoming, Weiderman, Richard (of Wolf Books and “The London Collector”) 1970—1977
8 3 Incoming, Woodridge, Hensley 1970—1972
8 4 Incoming, Zamen, Mark E. 1983—1985
8 5 Incoming, unidentified senders 1959-1983
8 6 Third party correspondence concerning Sisson

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Sisson's research papers on Jack London, and poems and publications about Jack London. , 1901-1971
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Jack and Charmian London correspondence (five letters) 1901-1920
Box
Folder
9 1 J. London outgoing correspondence to Strunsky, Anna
(typescript)
1901 January 22
9 1 J. London outgoing correspondence to Strunsky, Anna
(typescript)
1901 January 22
9 1 J. London incoming correspondence from ‘Blanche’
(typescript)
1911 March 20
9 1 J. London personal endorsement of book to ‘Gram’
(photocopy)
1903 June 6
9 1 C. London outgoing correspondence to Hervey, Mr.
(photocopy)
1920 December 21
Box
Folder
9 2 Four Yukon mining claims/deeds
(reproduction of original)
1897
9 3 Government file, correspondence and papers concerning the government's desire to censor Jack London's socialist writings, and papers concerning a legal conflict over London's article “A Good Soldier”
(photocopies)
Undated
9 4 Complied collection of poems on Jack London Undated
9 5 Complied collection of poems on Jack London, continued Undated
9 6 Complied collection of poems on Jack London, continued Undated
9 7 Newspaper article on Jack London from Literatoopnaya Rossiya (the article is in Russian) 1971
9 8 Newspaper article on Jack London from Literarisch-Musikalische (of Vienna) 1927
9 9 The Chaney Chronicle 1972
9 10 Quarterly Newsletter of the San Francisco Book Club (contains an article on the popularity of Jack London's writings in Russia) 1962
9 11 Newspaper clippings about Jack London Undated
10 Oversized newspaper articles by and about Jack London (loose). Undated

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Subjects

    • Personal Names :
    • London, Jack.
    • Sisson, James E.

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