ISABEL M. PATERSON PAPERS

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

West Branch, Iowa

 

The papers of Isabel M. Paterson document the life and career of novelist, book review columnist, and conservative political commentator Paterson (1886-1961).  The collection was acquired from the executor of Paterson’s estate in three accessions in 1995, 1997, and 1999, and consists of approximately 7.8 linear feet of manuscript and published material.

 

Biography

 

Novelist and newspaper columnist Isabel Paterson was born Isabel Bowler on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada on January 22, 1886.  When she was very young, her family moved to the West, and she grew up on a cattle ranch in Alberta.  A voracious reader who was largely self-educated, her public schooling during these years was brief and informal—two years in a country school, from the ages of 11 to 14.  In her late teen years, she left the ranch for the city of Calgary, where she took a clerical job with the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  At the age of 24, she entered into a short-lived marriage with Kenneth Paterson.

 

It was during these years, in a foray south of the border, that she landed a job with a newspaper in Spokane, Washington.  Initially she worked in the business department of the paper, but was eventually transferred to the editorial department, and her journalistic career began.  Her next position was that with a newspaper in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she wrote dramatic reviews for two years.  She eventually moved to New York, where she landed jobs working on the feature page of the New York American, as well as in the editorial department of Hearst’s Magazine.  One of her earlier assignments for the American was to write about an hour-long flight she had made in an open cockpit airplane in 1912, which was still quite a novelty at that time. 

 

In 1922 she joined the staff of the New York Herald-Tribune, where she remained until 1949.  At this newspaper, she wrote daily book reviews, as well as pieces for the Sunday Books section.  She was best known, however, for her weekly column “Turns With a Bookworm,” which mixed literary anecdotes and reviews with her evolving conservative political views.  During these years she also published a number of novels of her own, including The Shadow Riders (1916), The Singing Season (1924), The Road of the Gods (1930), Never Ask the End (1932) and If It Proves Fair Weather (1940).  Her best known work was a non-fictional one, however, The God in the Machine (1943).  Conservative and libertarian thinkers have cited this defense of the right to property and individual free will as an influential work alongside Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.  It also provided the intellectual underpinnings of the conservative views that found their way into her Herald-Tribune columns, including her refusal to accept Social Security benefits since they were in contradiction to her antipathy for the New Deal.

 

After leaving the Herald-Tribune, Paterson continued to write and publish, and a few of her articles made their way into William Buckley’s National Review, among other publications.  Isabel Paterson died at the home of her close friends, Muriel and Edward Hall, in Montclair, New Jersey on January 10, 1961.

 

Scope and content

 

The papers of Isabel Paterson are divided into the following series:

 

General name and subject file (2.3 linear feet): Largely comprised of correspondence, including files from fellow writers Will Cuppy, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand.  Although most of this correspondence dates from her lifetime, also included are files from scholars interested in her work in the decades following her death.

 

Writings (1.8 linear feet): This series includes correspondence about her works, drafts of published articles, and manuscripts for a few of her books, including The Singing Season and The God of the Machine.  Among the correspondents are editors from magazines that she published in, including John Chamberlain of Freeman and William Buckley, Jr. of The National Review.

 

Legal (0.4 linear foot): These files include documents relating to property she owned, settlement of her estate, and her naturalization as a U.S. citizen in 1928.

 

Book Collection (3.3 linear feet): Books owned by Paterson, often with underlining and annotations in her own hand.

 


 

ISABEL M. PATERSON PAPERS

Box and Folder Inventory

 

BOX    CONTENTS

 

1                  Name and Subject

 

Correspondence

           

            A – B, Miscellaneous, 1927-49

 

            American Legion Controversy, 1951

 

            Balch, Earl, 1945

 

            Busey, Garreta

 

 Letters From Isabel Paterson, 1936, Undated

 

                                                 Letters To Isabel Paterson, 1928-49

 

                                                 Letters To Muriel Hall, 1962-65

 

                                    C – D, Miscellaneous, Undated

 

                                    Coleman, Alta May, Undated

 

                                    Censorship, 1946

 

                                    Cox, Stephen, 1988-98

 

                                    Cuppy, Will

 

                                                To Isabel Paterson, Undated

 

Folder 1

 

                                                            Folder 2

 

                                                            Folder 3

 

                                    Edmunds, Everard, 1956

 

                                    Education in the United States, 1953-59

 

 

Name and Subject

 

                                    Correspondence, Continued

 

                                                Elson, Robert T., 1957

  2

Farley, Lillian (Dina) Fischer, (Originals at New York Public

 

              Library)

 

            1924-32

 

            1933-60

 

Field, Rachel, 1930

 

Fischer, Lillian, 1927-58

 

                                                Gilbert, Rodney, 1957

 

                                                Glenn, Isa, 1931-32

 

                                                Griffith, H.M., 1952

 

                                                Hall, Ted, Undated

 

                                                Hall, Muriel

 

1961

 

                                                            1979-92

 

                                                Henry, R.S.

 

1942-43

 

1944

 

                                                            1945

 

                                                            1946-49

 

                                                            1950-64

  3

                                                Herdman, Ramona, 1950-59

Hitchcock, Harry, 1929

 

                                                Hoiles, R.C., 1950-62

           

                                                Kirk, Dr. Russell, 1964-65

 

                                                Knowlton, Marcus and Meredith, 1959

 

                                                Lane, Rose Wilder, 1932-45

 

                                                Lecomte de Nouy, Mr. And Mrs. Pierre, 1947-56

 

                                                LeFerre, Robert, 1960-64

 

                                                Luckhart, Grace, 1927-61, Undated

 

                                                Manion, Clarence, 1949

 

                                                McGinnis, Dick, Undated

 

                                                Mitchison, N., Undated

 

                                                Paterson, Isabel (To Muriel Hall)

 

                                                            1944-49

 

                                                            1950-52

 

                                                            1954-55

 

                                                            1956

 

                                                            1957, Folder 1

  4

                                                            1958-60

 

                                                R Miscellaneous, 1935-49

 

Rand, Ayn

 

                                                            From Isabel Paterson, 1943-48

 

                                                            To Isabel Paterson, 1943-50

                       

                                                Roberts, Nat, 1929-35, Undated

 

                                                Rascoe, Burton, 1945

 

                                                S Miscellaneous, 1938-60

 

                                                Scholars Interested in Isabel Paterson, 1969-73

 

                                                Social Security, 1937-55

 

                                                Stribling, T.S., Undated

 

                                                Sprague, Ted and Grace, Undated

 

                                                Stone, Grace, Undated

 

                                                T-Y Miscellaneous, 1923-46

 

                                                Teale, Edwin Way, 1949-50

 

                                                Unidentified, 1908-16

  5

                                                Vogt, Gertrude, 1950-61

 

                                                Wall, Mildred, 1952-61

 

                                                Welles, Mary and Samuel, 1936-43, Undated

 

                                                Welles, Ted, 1949-85

 

                                                Wylie, Elinor, Undate

 

                                    Cuppy, Will, clippings, 1927, Undated

 

                                    New York Herald Tribune, Personnel Obituaries, 1953-83

                                   

Paterson, Isabel, Personal

 

                                                Addresses, 1942, Undated

 

                                                Articles About Isabel Paterson, 1912-43

 

                                                Christmas, Undated

 

                                                Family Correspondence, 1933-1954

 

                                                Linoleum Block, Undated

 

                                                Miscellaneous1944-59, Undated

 

                                                Notebook, blank

  6

                                                Newspaper Clippings, 1916-1960

 

                                                Photographs (Copies), Undated

 

                                                Quotes, 1958-1960

 

                                                Tombstone, 1962

 

                                    Rand, Ayn

 

Lecture, 1960

 

                                                Clipping, 1945

 

                                    Thomas, M.J., Poems, Undated

 

                        Writing

 

                                    Articles

 

                                                Annotated by Isabel Paterson, 1939-44

 

                                                “The Astonishing Creature – The Baby,” May, 1949

 

                                                “Humanitarian With Guillotine,” 1955

 

                                                “Learning to Read,” 1937

 

Writing

 

                                    Articles, Continued                                          

 

“A Man of Destiny,” 1956

 

                                                “Murphy,” 1928

 

                                                Newark Evening News, 1960

 

                                                New York Herald Tribune, 1924-38, 1949

 

                                                “The Oracles are Dumb,” 1956

 

                                                “Reading Without Tears, Cows, or Chickens,” Undated

 

                                                Sketches for Newspaper Articles, Undated

                                                           

                                                “The Southern Breakthrough,” 1955

 

                                                “Turns With A Bookworm,” 1932-48

 

                                                “We Were the Cowith-an,” Undated

 

                                                “What Do They Do All Day?,” Undated

 

                                                Written by other authors, 1930-64

  7

Correspondence

 

                                                Ashville Chamber of Commerce, 1924

 

                                                B Miscellaneous, 1942-49

 

                                                Benson, Arthur C., Undated

 

                                                Book Reviews, 1932

 

                                                Bradley, J.G., 1949

 

                                                Buckley, William F., Jr., 1954-62

                                               

                                                Buffett, Howard, 1952

 

                                                C – D Miscellaneous

Writing

 

                                    Correspondence, Continued

 

                                                Cabell, James Branch, 1930-36

 

                                                Chamberlain, John, 1953

 

                                                Colum, Padraic, 1944

 

                                                Columbia Lecture Bureau, Inc., 1949

 

                                                Crane, Jasper, 1944-54

 

                                                E Miscellaneous

                       

                                                Fake, Guy L., 1943-48

 

                                                Fuller, Selma and Henry, 1953

 

                                                Gannett, Frank, 1945

 

                                                G.P. Putnam and Sons, 1942-44

 

                                                Greenewatt, C.H., 1952-59

 

                                                “Georgia Review,” 1948-49

 

                                                H Miscellaneous, 1934-58

 

                                                Harper Brothers, 1915

 

                                                Hicks, Hamilton, Undated

 

                                                J Miscellaneous, 1951

 

                                                Josenhans, M. Alma, Undated

 

                                                L Miscellaneous, 1931-48

 

                                                M Miscellaneous, 1931-47

 

                                                Mitchison, Maomi, Undated

 

                                                Nelson, Frederick, 1957-59

                        Writing

 

                                    Correspondence

 

                                                New York Herald Tribune, 1949-52

 

                                                Opitz, Edmund, A.1959

 

P – R Miscellaneous, 1944-56

 

                                                Palmer, Paul1945-47

 

                                                Read, Thomas, 19335-42

 

                                                Rejection of Manuscripts, 1914-15

           

                                                Ridenour, Louis N., 1946

                                   

                                                S Miscellaneous, 1922-59

 

                                                Saturday Evening Post, 1957-59

 

                                                Stout, Wesley W., 1939-44

 

                                                T – Y Miscellaneous, 1949-57

 

                                                Unidentified, 1950-56

 

                                                Van Doren, Irita, 1940

 

                                                Wall, Mildred, 1958-59

 

                                                Wilder, Thornton, 1927

  8

                                                Natural Law, 1951-54

 

                                                “Never Ask the End,” 1933-49

 

                                                Rejection Letters, 1942

 

                                                “Theory of Equilibrium,” 1951-55

 

                                                Vogt, Gertrude, 1950-61

 

                                               

 

Writing

 

Correspondence, Continued                

 

Miscellaneous Copies

 

1911-45

 

                                                            1946-50

 

                                                            1951-64

 

                                                            Undated

 

                                    Draft Notes

 

                                                General, Undated

 

                                                “How Can I Get Past the (Deleted) Conservatives?” Undated

 

                                                “Law and Liberty,” Undated

 

                                                Republican Party, 1954

 

                                                “States Rights” Proposal, 1951-52

  9

                                    Manuscripts

 

                                                “Did I Ask to Be Born?”

 

                                                            Working Copy

 

                                                            Final Copy

 

                                                Fragments From Novels, Undated

 

                                                 “God of the Machine”

 

                                                            1943, Summary for “Book Digest”

 

                                                            1945, Correspondence

 

                                                            Undated, Notes by Ted and Muriel Hall

 

                                                “God of the Machine”

 

Undated, Notes of Isabel Paterson

 

                                                “Joyous Gard” ca. 1958

 

Annotated Copy

 

                                                                        Chapters 1-13

 

                                                                        Chapters 14-25

 

                                                            Clear Copy

 

                                                                        Chapters 1-13

 10

                                                                        Chapters 14-25

 

                                                            Early Copy

 

                                                                        Pages 14-82

 

                                                                        Pages 83-191

 

                                                            Attempts to Get Published, 1951-58

 

                                                            Fragments

 

                                                                        Chapters 1 and 2

 

                                                                        Chapter 1

 

                                                                        Burned Copy

 

                                                                                    Chapters 15-22

 

                                                                                    Chapters 23-25

 

                                                “The Singing Season”

 

                                                            Chapters 1-16

 

                                                            Chapters 17-30

 

                                                            Correspondence, 1923

 

                                                Reviews of Her Books, 1916, Undated

 11

                        Legal Papers

 

                                    Banking, 1925, 1956-59

 

                                    Disposition of Papers, 1961-79

 

                                    General, 1910-57

 

                                    Immigration Papers, 1920-28

 

                                    Real Estate

 

                                                Connecticut Property

 

                                                            1933-49

 

                                                            1952-60

 

                                                New Jersey Property, 1942-60

 

                                    Royalties, 1933-49

 

                                    Taxes, 1926-64

 

                                    Will and Death Certificate, 1961

 

                                    Writing Contracts, 1915-42

 

 12

                        Book Collection

 

                                    Annotated Materials

 

                                                Copies of Notes by Isabel Paterson

 

                                                            “Einstein” by P. Frank

 

                                                            “Elizabeth” by M. Waldman

 

                                                            “Founding Fathers” by K. Umbrett

 

                                                            “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

 

                                                            “God of the Machine” by Isabel Paterson

 

                                                            “Grey Eminence” by A. Huxley

 

                                                            “High Stakes and Hair Trigger” by R. W. Winston

 

                                                            “Kilvert’s Diary” by W. Plomer

 

                                                            “Letters of Madame” by G. S. Stevenson

 

“The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay” by G. O.

 

Trevelyan

 

                                                            “The Life of Samuel Johnson” by J. Boswell

 

                                                            “The Novels of Jane Austin” by R. W. Chapman

 

                                                            “Out of the Earth” by L. Bromfield

 

                                                            “Pensees” by Pascal

 

                                                            “The Pentateuch” by J. W. Colenso

 

                                                            “Portrait of Pascal” by M. Duclaux

 

                                                            “The Road to Xanadu” by J. L. Lowes

 

                                                            “Russia Under the Tzars” by Stepniak

 

Book Collection

 

Annotated Materials

 

Copies of Notes by Isabel Paterson, Continued

 

“Science and Christian Tradition” by T. H. Huxley

 

                                                            “The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy” by E. Gilson

 

                                                            “Taft and Roosevelt” by A. Butt

 

                                                            “They Told Barron” by C. W. Barron

 13

                                                            “Travels in France and Italy” by A. Young

 

                                                            “The Unity of Philosophical Experience” by E. Gilson

 

                                                            “Voltaire” by Brandes

 

                                                            “The Wealth of Nation” by A. Smith

                                                           

                                                            Inscriptions to Isabel Paterson

 

“National Review” August-September, 1960, January-

 

February, 1970

 

“The Freeman” 1950-52

 14

                                    Titles of Books in Collection

 

                                                Adlington, Richard, “The Duke: A Life of Wellington, 1943

 

                                                Brandes, George, “Voltaire”

 

                                                            Volume 1, 1930

 

                                                            Volume 2, 1930

 

                                                Bromfield, Louis, “Out of the Earth,” 1950

 

                                                Catlin, George, North American Indians, Volume 1, 1857

 14

Chamberlain, Pressey Walters, “Living, Reading, and Thinking,”

 

 1948

 

Fitzgerald, Edward, “The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyan”

 15

                                                Chesnut, Mary Boykin, “A Diary From Dixie,” 1949

 

                                                Duclaux, Mary, “Portrait of Pascal,” 1927

 

                                                Du Nouy, Lecomte, “Human Destiny,” 1947

 

                                                Du Nouy, Mary, “The Road to Human Destiny,” 1955

 

                                                Ford, Ford Madox, “The Last Post,” 1928 (Two Copies)

 

                                                Frank Philipp, “Einstein,” 1947

 

 16                                           Gilson, Etienne

           

“The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy,” 1940

 

                                                            “The Unity of Philosophical Experience,” 1947

 

                                                Hughes, Philip, “A History of the Church,” Volume 3, 1947

 

                                                Hughes, Richard, “A High Wind in Jamaica,” 1932

 

                                                Huxley, T.H., “Science and Christian Tradition,” 1895

 

                                                O”Neill, Moira, “Songs of the Glens of Antrim,” 1916

 

                                                Plomer, Ed., “Kilvert’s Diary,” 1947

 

                                                Potter, George Richard, “Sir Thomas More,” 1925

 

                                                Pound, Arthur, Ed., “They Told Barron,” 1817

 17

                                                Pascal, Blaise, “Pensees,” 1941

 

Paterson, Isabel

 

                                                            “The Fourth Queen,” 1926

 

                                                            “God of the Machine”

 

1943 (2 Copies)

 

                                                                        1964 (Reprint)

 

“If It Prove Fair Weather,” 1940 (2 Copies)

 

 18                                                       “Golden Vanity,” 1934

                                               

“The Magpies Nest,” 1917

                       

                                                            “Mai Domander La Fine,” 1933

 

                                                            “Never Ask the End,” 1930

 

                                                            “The Road of the Gods,” 1930

 

                                                            “The Shadow Riders,” 1916

 

                                                Tate, Allen, “Jefferson Davis,” 1929

 

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, “In the Matter of J. Robert

 

Oppenheimer,” 1954

 19

                                                Roscoe, Burton, “Titans of Literature,” 1932

 

                                                Spencer Herbert, “The Man Versus the State,” 1940

 

                                                Swinburne, Algernon Charles, “Poems,” 1905 (4 Volumes)

 

                                                Wylie, Elinor, “Collected Prose,” 1933