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Mari Sandoz Collection

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: EL
Date: Aug 1975

Biographical History

Mari Susette Sandoz (1896-1966) was an American novelist and chronicler of pioneer and Indian life on the Nebraska Plains. Born on the Sandoz homestead in northwestern Nebraska, Sandoz was the eldest daughter of Swiss immigrant parents Jules Ami and Mary Elizabeth (Fehr) Sandoz. She started school at nine and wrote her first story shortly thereafter. She taught in country schools, attended business college, and at intervals between 1922 and 1931 studied at the University of Nebraska, supporting herself with part-time and full-time jobs, including research on the Sioux and other work for the Nebraska State Historical Society.

In 1935 the publication of Old Jules, a biography of her pioneer father, established her as an important writer on the American West and won the Atlantic Monthly prize. Her second book, the novel Slogum House, was published in 1937. From 1943 until the 1960s Sandoz spent half her time in New York City, returning to Nebraska to gather material for her writing.

Besides numerous short stories and magazine contributions, Mari Sandoz wrote Love Song to the Plains (1961), Old Jules Country (1965), and These Were the Sioux (1961). Her novels include The Tom-Walker (1947), Winter Thunder (1954), The Horsecatcher (1957), and Son of the Gamblin' Man (1960). In 1964 the publication of The Beaver Men marked the completion of her Great Plains series (previous titles in the series were Crazy Horse, Cheyenne Autumn, The Buffalo Hunters, The Cattlemen, and Old Jules).

For further biographical information, see the "Autobiographical sketch of Mari Sandoz' early years" in Hostiles and Friendlies: Selected Short Writings of Mari Sandoz (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1959)

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Mari Sandoz Collection is divided into correspondence and writings.

Correspondence contains both incoming and outgoing letters; the bulk consists of 24 letters from Mari Sandoz to Paul Gerhard Hoffman of the Atlantic Monthly Press, written between 1935 and 1938. Hoffman was Sandoz' editor for Old Jules, Slogum House, Capital City, Crazy Horse, and The Horsecatcher. With the letter of 3 Dec 1935 are two letters (24 May 1900 and 3 Nov 1907) from her father Jules Ami Sandoz and one letter (20 Dec 1893, Zurich) from Rosalie Epprecht to Jules Sandoz. Enclosed with the letter of 11 Dec 1935 is an undated letter from Mamie Meredith to Mari Sandoz. Letters of 15 Oct 1935 and 10 Oct 1937 include snapshots of Mari Sandoz. There is one incoming letter (24 May 1950) from Helen Hector, associate editor of Reader's Digest, in two copies.

Writings contains manuscripts and production material for work dating from the late 1950s to 1965. Besides typescripts for three short pieces, there are manuscripts of production material for three books: The Cattlemen, Old Jules Country, and These Were the Sioux. The latter title is the most heavily represented, with typescripts in four stages of revision and both galley and page proofs.

Arrangement of the Collection

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


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.

Related Material

See also the Felie Woodrow Clark Thesis, which contains biographical and bibliographical material about Sandoz.

Subject Headings


Hoffman, Paul.
Sandoz, Mari, 1896-1966 -- Archives.

Associated Titles

These were the Sioux.


American fiction -- West (U.S.)
Western stories.
Dakota Indians.
Women authors, American.
Women novelists, American.


West (U.S.) -- In literature.

Genres and Forms

Galley proofs.
Manuscripts for publication.



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Mari Sandoz Collection,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Manuscripts and production material of These Were the Sioux, gift of Mari S. Sandoz, 1962. All other material gifts of James F. Carr, 1960 and 1967.

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