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Edna Ferber Collection

Identifier: LU-MS-002
The collection is comprised of correspondence and biographical materials of Edna Ferber, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who spent her childhood and early career in Appleton, Wisconsin, and continues to have a strong influence on the city to this day. The correspondence range from 1946-1966 and consist mostly of letters between Ferber and her secretary, Yvette B. Garden. Ferber describes her travels around the world, finances, and her family. Letters exchanged between Ferber and Lawrence University president Douglas Knight regarding a possible trip for Ferber to Appleton are included. Other correspondence covers the donation of Ferber memorabilia to Lawrence University. Materials from the 1985 Centennial celebration in Appleton, Wisconsin, commemorating Ferber’s birth are also part of the collection. Newspaper articles and biographical materials regarding Ferber and her time and influence on Appleton are also contained in the collection.


  • 1921-2002
  • Other: Date acquired: 1975


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Lawrence University does not hold the copyright for all materials in this collection. Uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


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Biographical or Historical Information

Edna Ferber, a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on August 15, 1885. Ferber spent her early years in Chicago and Ottumwa, Iowa. Her family moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, when she was twelve and her father set up a general store known as “My Store.” Ferber began her writing career early as the editor of her high school newspaper, the Ryan Clarion. After graduating from high school, she accepted a job at the Appleton Daily Crescent as a reporter. She took one class at Lawrence University in the fall of 1908. Ferber went from the Crescent to the Milwaukee Journal. She returned to Appleton to recuperate after collapsing from exhaustion and while there, she wrote her first novel, Dawn O'Hara, that was published in 1911. Ferber became a popular novelist from her many works and received the Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for the story So Big. Her best known books include Showboat (1926), Cimarron (1929), and Giant (1952). She was also a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a group of literary wits who met for lunch every day at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. Ferber died of cancer at age 82 on April 16, 1968, at her Park Avenue, New York, home.

Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged alphabetically by subject, then chronologically at the file level.

Method of Acquisition

The majority of letters, some newspaper clippings, and other Ferber memorabilia were gifts of Yvette B. Garden, 1975.  The remainder of the collection materials was acquired by the Lawrence University Archives.

Processing Information

Processed by Julia Stringfellow, 2006.
Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
(920) 832-6753