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Henry Gregor Felsen Papers

Identifier: MsC0601

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Scope and Contents

The papers of Henry Gregor Felsen consist of 4.5 linear feet of manuscripts and date from 1942 to 1970. Except for some folders of correspondence, the collection is made up entirely of his literary manuscripts which are arranged alphabetically by their titles. There are notes, outlines, and typescript drafts for many of his books and short stories, including his first novel, Jungle Highway.


  • Creation: 1942-1970


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Gregor Felsen was born in Brooklyn, New York, on August 16, 1916. He graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1933. He attended the University of Iowa for two years before dropping out because he could not afford the tuition. Felsen later returned to Iowa City and found work on the Iowa Writer's Project, doing articles for the Iowa Guidebook.

He married Penny Vincent, whom he met at the University. They struggled through the depression while he worked on and off for the WPA and tried to sell books. When his wife landed a job with Look Magazine, he became a full time writer. In 1940, with Darrell Huff (an editor at Look), Felsen started writing detective stories. He then became a staff writer for David C. Cook Publishing Co. Shortly after that, Felsen published his first book, Jungle Highway. He quit his job after only eight months to freelance in New York. In the next eighteen months, he wrote and sold nine books and hundreds of stories. A member of the Marine Corps during World War II, Felsen was stationed in the Pacific theater and wrote for the Leatherneck magazine. He returned to Iowa in 1946 and remained there most of his life. From 1964 -- 1969, Felsen taught part time at Drake University in Des Moines. He left Iowa in 1977 and spent his later years traveling. Henry Gregor Felsen died in 1995, at the age of 78. He is survived by his widow, Karen, two children, and two step-children.

A prolific and popular children's writer, Felsen wrote about sixty books. Some of his most popular were those in a car series, including: Hot Rod, Street Rod, and Crash Club. About eight million copies were sold in this series alone. Hot Rod was so poular that it remained on a bestseller list for children's books for nearly thirty years. Some of his other books became movies, while his stories appeared regularly in the Saturday Evening Post.


4.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Novelist, story writer and author of children's books, including Hot Rod, a best-seller for 30 years. Correspondence and literary manuscripts.

Method of Acquisition

These papers were given to the Libraries by Henry Felsen in installments from 1963 to 1970.

Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)