Elizabeth Foster Collection, 1942-1994

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Volume: 3 linear feet

Organization/Arrangement: Organized into two series:
I. Professional Career
II. Manuscripts

Biographical Note: Elizabeth Foster (Mann) was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1905 to Elizabeth Dickson and well-known writer/playwright Maximilian Foster. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut, the Art Students League in New York, and the Columbia School of Journalism, New York. In 1929 she married Lloyd Onderdonk Vernon Mann, living first with him in Cold Spring Harbor and later in Oyster Bay, New York. Their two daughters were Mariana Vernon and Nancy Lloyd. 

Foster was a prolific freelance writer, composing short stories and poems for publications such as Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Home & Garden, and Trout and Salmon. She also became editor of the North Shore Almanac, a supplement to a Long Island newspaper chain. After her divorce in 1939 she began her first novel, Singing Beach (1941), set on an island off the coast of Maine. In 1942 her second novel, The Days Between, was published and bought by Warner Brothers for $25,000. Foster published her first children's novel, Gigi, The Story of a Merry-Go-Round Horse in 1943, followed by Dirigo Point, with a background of Franklin County in Maine.

A second Gigi novel, Gigi in America, was published in 1945, and is set in another Maine location, Old Orchard Beach. The Islanders, her most important Maine-centered novel, was published in 1946 and became a bestseller. It is a family saga focused on her maternal grandfather, Frederick Stoever Dickson, and the home he built on Rangeley Lake. Children of the Mist, published in 1960, is based on an actual eighteenth century English scandal. Elizabeth Foster died on February 9, 1963, and is buried at the family plot in Evergreen Cemetery, Rangeley, Maine.

Description: This collection consists predominately of typescripts of the author's published and unpublished novels, novelettes, short stories, and pages from works, possibly to be expanded at a later time by the author. A few of the works exist in various editions and some typescripts include synopses and a listing of the publications to which the pieces were submitted. There is information that indicates some of Foster's agents submitted their copies of her works to this collection. The collection also contains some interesting pieces of correspondence to the author from her editor, fans and individual letters from some of the significant writers of her time such as Vita Sackville-West, Mary Roberts Rhinhart, Somerset Maugham, Kenneth Roberts, Art Buchwald and Thomas Costain. There is some biographical information about her personal life, newspaper articles and reviews, and notices sent by clipping services; also one photograph.

Access Restrictions: None

Please cite as: Elizabeth Foster Collection, Maine Women Writers Collection, University of New England, Portland, Maine

Container List:
I. Professional Career

This series includes biographical information, correspondence and relating to Elizabeth Foster's publications.

001.  Biographical and literary articles, 1942-1946, 1963, 1994, undated
002.  Photograph of EF aboard the Queen Mary cruise ship and correspondence relating to voyage, 1961
003.  Correspondence with notable authors ie., Kenneth Roberts, Thomas Costain, V. Sackville-West, Art Buchwald, Somerset Maugham, 1942-1977
004.  Correspondence with MacMillan Company, 1958-1961
005.  Correspondence, 1945-1959
006.  Contract with Houghton Mifflin Co. for The Islanders, 1944
007.  Correspondence relating to The Islanders, 1945-1949
008.  Publicity relating to The Islanders, 1945-1947
009.  Correspondence and contract from Houghton Mifflin relating to Dirigo Point, 1944
010.  Correspondence and publicity relating to The Days Between, 1942
011.  Publicity relating to reissuing of Gigi, 1990s
012.  Correspondence and contract relating to Singing Beach and The Days Between, 1942, 1955, undated
013.  Correspondence relating to The House At Noddy Cove, 1948-1952
014.  Contract and EF's notes on Children of the Mists, 1959
015.  Publicity, reviews, correspondence relating to Children of the Mists, 1958-1961
016.  EF's notes relating possibly to Children of the Mists, undated
017.  Correspondence to EF from short story readers, 1943-1946
018.  Poem "Lines to a Deserted Greenhouse", undated
019.  Publications in Redbook (photocopies), 1947-1949, undated
020.  Publications in Trout & Salmon (photocopies), 1959
021.  Publication in Homes & Gardens (photocopy), 1955

II. Manuscripts

Manuscripts, many undated, are as typescripts unless otherwise noted.  Many are in either literary agent bindings or have agent's label on cover page.  Untitled stories are identified by the first few words.

001.  Untitled short story, undated
002.  "Peace and Quiet", undated
003.  "Renee Crowell woke..." (Folder 1 of 2), undated
004.  "Renee Crowell woke..." (Folder 2 of 2), undated
005.  Spring Song (Folder 1 of 2), undated
006.  Spring Song (Folder 2 of 2), undated
007.  Spring Song, undated
008.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil..."), undated
009.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil...") and "Synopsis of Further Chapters", undated
010.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil...") (Folder 1 of 2), undated
011.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil...") (Folder 2 of 2); also "Synopsis of Further
Chapters", undated
013.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil...") (portion), undated
014.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil...") (portion), undated
015.  Untitled Novel ("His name was Cecil...") (portion); 2 copies of Chapters 5 and 6;
"Synopsis of Further Chapters", undated
016.  Poem "Morning", undated
017.  "Synopsis" of untitled manuscript; also "Chapter Twenty Seven" of untitled manuscript, undated
018.  Untitled short story "The station was crowded...", undated
019.  Outline for untitled manuscript, undated
020.  Short story "The Picture Window", undated
021.  Short story "The Ticket"; also submission list, undated
022.  The Valley: A Short Novel, undated
023.  The Valley: A Short Novel  2nd copy; also submission list, undated
024.  Short story "The Grown-Up Heart", undated
025.  Short story "For Love and Money"; also submission list, undated
026.  Short story "The Joys of Love", undated
027.  Short story "Customer's Lady", undated
028.  "Matilda" plot outline plus correspondence to Bart (2 copies), undated
029.  "Griselda's Wedding", undated
030.  "A Home For Filippa", undated
031.  "A Home For Filippa", undated
032.  "The Runaways" (2 copies); includes submission list, undated
033.  "Everybody's There"; includes submission list, undated
034.  "The Gifts of Annabel"; includes submission list, undated
035.  "What Are We Doing Here?"; also submission list, undated
036.  "Grandma Married Twice" (2 copies); also submission list, undated
037.  "Blind Date"; also submission list, undated
038.  Untitled short story "Barbie was washing the..." (2 copies), undated
039.  "The Paying Guest: Two-Part Serial" (2 copies), undated
041.  Untitled novelette; also submission list, undated
042.  Untitled handwritten pages on legal (5), undated
043.  Untitled pages "Old Wentworth Gridley..." (4 pages), undated
044.  Untitled short story "It always happens..."; also correspondence from Ellen Newald to Miss Johnson, undated
045.  Untitled short story "It was spring again...", undated
046.  Untitled short story "Andrew was lying on...", undated
047.  Careless Rapture: A Novelette, undated
048.  Untitled short story "It always happens this way..." (2 copies), undated
049.  Untitled manuscript pages "A kitchen is a place to...", undated
050.  Untitled manuscript pages "Tom got off the train...", undated
051.  Short story "The Mouse Trap"; also submission list, undated
052.  Short story "Second Sight" (2 copies); also submission list, undated
053.  Short story "O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree"; also submission list, undated
054.  Short story "The Man From Maine" (2 copies), undated
055.  Untitled poem "Keep such love...", undated
056.  Short story "Little By Little", undated
057.  Short story "A Mother For Jill", undated
058.  Short story "Present Imperfect", undated
059.  Novel The Far Country Copy 1 (Folder 1 of 2), undated
060.  Novel The Far Country Copy 1; also synopsis (Folder 2 of 2), undated
061.  Novel The Far Country Copy 2; also synopsis, undated
062.  Untitled short story "There had been an...", undated
063.  Short story "Evening Song", undated
064.  Short story "The Far-Away Lake", undated

See also stories in these periodicals held by the MWWC:
Redbook Sept., Dec. 1947; Jan. 1948; Feb. 1949, April 1949
Good Housekeeping April 1933