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Mort Weisinger Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Weisinger, Mort, 1915-
Title: Mort Weisinger Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1932-1965
Quantity: 1.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American Jewish author, editor of DC Comics' Superman and contributing editor for This Week Magazine. Collection includes correspondence (1941-1965), mostly from magazine editors; and writings (1932-1957), including typescript draft and manuscript articles, most of which appeared in Coronet and This Week Magazine.
Language: Majority in English; one article in German and one in Portuguese.
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010
http://scrc.syr.edu

Biographical History

Mort Weisinger (1915-1978) was an American Jewish author, editor of DC Comics' Superman and contributing editor for This Week Magazine.

Born in New York and raised in the Bronx, Weisinger was active in early science fiction fan clubs and fanzines; while still in high school he and several friends, including science fiction guru Forrest Ackerman, co-founded The Time Traveler, the first 'zine to focus entirely on science fiction. Weisinger attended, but did not graduate from, New York University, leaving in 1934 to start Solar Sales Service, an agency for science fiction writers and artists.

In March 1941 Weisinger took a job with National Periodicals which later became DC Comics. Apart from a brief absence to serve in the Special Services during World War II, Weisinger remained at DC for more than thirty years. Among his achievements with DC were the creation of Aquaman, Green Arrow and Johnny Quick, and of the Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen spin-off series. He served as editor for Superman (creating such key elements as the effect of the yellow sun on Kryptonians and the Phantom Zone), Batman, and other important comics, and as editor for the Superman television series starring George Reeves. Near the end of his tenure he was named vice president of public relations for the company.

Weisinger also wrote on a wide range of topics, from beauty pageants to the Comics Code to a best-selling novel entitled The Contest (1970) and a book on Atomic Survival (1951). His articles appeared in The Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest and other national publications.

"It may seem corny to you, but one of the ways I was able to plot Superman was to pretend that I was Superman. What would my problems be, and how would I react if I were this magnificent character? It was like a schizoid personality. Instead of counting sheep when I had insomnia, I often fantasized what I would do as the Man of Steel."
[interview with Weisinger by Guy Lillian, July 1975]

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mort Weisinger Papers consist of correspondence and writings.

Correspondence consists of incoming letters from magazine editors and relate to the publication of Weisinger's work. Letters relating to particular articles in the Writings group of this collection are filed with the appropriate article, and the folders are labeled accordingly. Notable correspondents include Erle Stanley Gardner (1957) and Senator Margaret Chase Smith (1957); both are filed with the article "The day I cried."

Writings include manuscript and published copies of articles, a printed copy of one short story, and a printed copy of one comic book story. Topics covered in the articles run the gamut, from diet tips and traffic tickets to Superman and television quiz shows. Following the articles are copies of the magazines The Beam, The Beaver, and Time Traveler; Weisinger has several articles in each of these magazines, having served on the staff of The Beam and as associate editor of the others.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged chronologically. Writings are arranged alphabetically by type and within that by title.

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Restrictions

Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has more than one hundred collections relating to comic books, comic strips, and cartoonists. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

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Subject Headings

Persons

Weisinger, Mort, 1915- -- Archives.

Subjects

Comic books, strips, etc.
Authors, American.
Jews, American.
Periodical editors.
Science fiction, American.
Superman (Fictitious character)

Genres and Forms

Articles.
Correspondence.
Drafts (documents)
Manuscripts for publication.

Occupations

Authors.
Editors.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Mort Weisinger Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Mort Weisinger, 1968.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: -
Date: circa 1966
Revision history: 10 Dec 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC)

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Inventory

Correspondence
Box 1 Incoming 1941-1965
Writings
Articles
Box 1 Accidentally ours - printed material Coronet
Box 1 America's noisiest man 1943-1944 - correspondence, printed material Liberty, Reader's Digest
Box 1 An animal's best friend 1949-1950 - correspondence, typescripts, typescript carbon, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 An industry of charms 1955-1956 - correspondence, typescript carbon revised, printed material Coronet
Box 1 The baby boom 1954 - correspondence, typescript, typescript carbon revised, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 Baby buggies are big business 1949-1950 - correspondence, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 Claws of the focus cats Jun 1944 - printed material Skyways
Box 1 The day I cried Feb 1958 - correspondence, printed material Family Circle
Box 1 Dr. Hollywood 1955 - typescript, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 Don't panic over polio 1952 - correspondence, typescript carbon
Box 1 Êles andam atrás do sey dinheiro! 1957 - printed material Reader's Digest
Box 1 The fabulous house of Squibb 1954 - correspondence, typescript revised, printed material Coronet
Box 1 Good times square Oct 1944 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 He fights firebugs Jul 1949 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 He finds jobs for ex-convicts 1956 - correspondence, typescripts, printed material Reader's Digest
Box 1 Here comes Superman 1946 - correspondence, printed material Coronet
Box 1 Home town news Apr 1944 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 How Ralph Edwards fools 'em 1955 - correspondence, printed material Family Circle
Box 1 How they're cleaning up the comics 1955 - correspondence, typescript, printed material Better Homes and Gardens
Box 1 How to fool the experts Oct 1952 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 How to look your picture best 1958 - correspondence, typescript revised, printed material Family Circle
Box 1 I write from 0800 to 1800 Apr 1943 - printed material Writer's Digest
Box 1 If the tax man calls you in 1953 - correspondence, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 I'm sick of waiters 1954 - correspondence, typescript carbons, printed material Coronet
Box 1 I've got the most mysterious disease 1954 - correspondence, typescript revised, typescript carbon, printed material Saturday Evening Post
Box 1 Kodak: Eyes of the world 1954 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material Coronet
Box 1 Listen! Mark Twain speaking Jul 1948 - printed material Saturday Evening Post
Box 1 Making good by mail 1947 - correspondence, typescript revised, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 1 The man who takes wooden nickels 1947 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material Saturday Evening Post
Box 1 Mr. Cheesebrough's wonder jelly 1953 - correspondence, typescript revised, printed material Coronet
Box 1 Mister Gimmick Nov 1947 - printed material Collier's
Box 2 Mr. Morse started something 1953 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Moderne Bank auf Kundenfang Jul 1953 - printed material Das beste aus Reader's Digest
Box 2 A new way to diet 1953 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Romance of the cash register 1954 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material Coronet
Box 2 Should you fight a traffic ticket? 1953 - correspondence, typescript, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Sleeping pills are worse than dope 1955 - correspondence, printed material Coronet
Box 2 Snapshots on a shoestring Oct 1943 - printed material Coronet
Box 2 Speaking of pictures 1943 - printed material Life
Box 2 Star spangled business 1947 - correspondence, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Street corner king Jul 1952 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Super-store for Jersey shoppers 1952 - correspondence, outline, original typescript, printed material Coronet
Box 2 Swooning in the gloom 1948 - correspondence, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Tax chiselers beware 1954 - correspondence, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 10 diet tricks to make you lose weight 1957 - typescript carbon, printed material Family Circle
Box 2 They're out to get your money 1957 - correspondence, typescripts carbons revised, printed material Banking, Reader's Digest
Box 2 We’re living on tokens 1955 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 What you don't know about TV quiz shows 1957 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material Family Circle
Box 2 Who gets drafted and when Oct 1965 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Will your son be a chip off the old block 1956 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 A Yank at Yale Sep 1944 - printed material (incomplete), printed material Writer's Digest
Box 2 Your car may be next Feb 1949 - printed material This Week Magazine
Box 2 Your fabulous frankfurter 1953 - correspondence, typescript carbon, printed material Coronet
Box 2 The Beam 1952
Box 2 The Beaver 1943-1944
Box 2 The Time Traveler 1932
Comic book stories
Box 2 "Superman," Superman Comics 1943
Short stories
Box 2 Ask me no questions, in This Week Magazine Jun 1944

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