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“Main Street” Photoplay Edition

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

“Main Street” Photoplay Edition

On this day, October 23 in 1920 Minnesota author Sinclair Lewis published “Main Street”, a satirical novel of small town America. Lewis would go on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

For details, view this book in our collections database.

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Brenda Ueland and Sinclair Lewis

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Brenda Ueland

A recent addition to the papers of Brenda Ueland (1891-1985), Minneapolis feminist, diarist, and author, includes extensive family correspondence, a childhood diary, and correspondence from literary and political figures.  A new inventory to the entire collection is available on the Library web site. Embedded in the inventory are digital images of five letters from Sinclair Lewis, single letters from Langston Hughes, Eleanor Roosevelt and Carl Sandburg, and an autograph card of Henrik Ibsen.  In an especially poignant letter of February 27, 1942, Sinclair Lewis writes:

“I’ve for years thought that I’d like really to live in Minnesota.  I wish I had one small root in some one solid area….Now that I’m fifty-seven (though only for 20 days have I been in that horribly advanced age) and practically grown-up, I ought to do something serious about this root business….I love the hills of Connecticut, and hate the grudging people; I love the gay people of New York City, and hate the steel and cement prison corridors that are called streets. I think that some day, if I ever got settled down, I might become a novelist, and I am informed that that is a very fine and happy state of being!”

Thanks to cataloger Chris Welter and interns Shelby Edwards and Julia Weisgram, working under Monica Ralston’s direction, for enhancing access to this important manuscript collection.

Duane Swanson, Curator of Manuscripts

Letter from Lewis to Ueland

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Sinclair Lewis’s Mantrap

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Mantrap by Sinclair Lewis

Mantrap is not great literature but since the novel followed Main Street, Babbitt, and Arrowsmith we can forgive the author. In 1926 this romantic story was, however, a perfect fit for Hollywood. Clara Bow, the future “It” girl, was a perfect fit in the role of the seductive former manicurist who finds herself exiled in the wilderness and married to an older he-man.

This photoplay edition was acquired as part of the Library’s effort to document Lewis’s work in Hollywood. Perhaps no American writer saw as much of his work adapted for the movies as Sinclair Lewis. Lewis loved the medium and enjoyed associating with the glamorous personalities of Hollywood. More importantly Lewis’s two dozen films added to his reputation, widened his influence, and became a significant part of his income.

Through the generous gifts of Villaume Industries and the Linsmayer family the MHS library has acquired manuscripts, books, and ephemera that greatly enhance our understanding of this aspect of Sinclair Lewis’s career. The manuscripts include letters requesting the rights to a particular work, contracts, proposals of how to treat the text, and Lewis pitching ideas to the studios in an effort to turn even more of his work into film. Combined with the cheap “photoplay” reprints of Lewis’s novels and the publicity campaign material put out by the studios, these recent acquisitions help to illuminate the business of both Hollywood and of a popular American writer.

Patrick Coleman, Acquisitions Librarian

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An Ounce of Preservation: A Guide to the Care of Papers and Photographs