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Edwin L. Sabin Papers

Identifier: MsC0688

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Scope and Contents

The following is an inventory of the papers of Iowa author Edwin Legrand Sabin, 1870-1952. It is arranged in six series: 1) General subject files, including correspondence, 2) Household and legal documents, 3) Sabin's published manuscripts, 4) Typewritten and holograph manuscripts, 5) Typewritten and holograph manuscripts written using his pseudonyms, and 6) Miscellaneous files containing scrapbooks, oversize items and ephemera. Appendix I is a list of six pseudonyms used by Mr. Sabin. Only four of the names can be documented. There is nothing definite on the manuscript E.P.N. that establishes it as Sabin's work and there is also some doubt as to the authenticity of Annie Lyman Palmer. The mailing address on the manuscript's submission page is not one generally used by Sabin. The manuscript may have been submitted to him for criticism. Appendix II is a list of alternate titles. Some of the stories are word-for-word the same, but use a different title. Other stories, such as the


  • Creation: 1870-1952


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. This collection is housed at an offsite location. Please allow two-three business days for retrieval and arrival to main library.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections & Archives as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

Edwin Legrand Sabin was born on December 23, 1870 in Rockford, Illinois. Before he was a year old, his father, the educator Henry Sabin, moved the family to Clinton, Iowa. Edwin Sabin grew up in that river town and graduated from Clinton High School in 1888. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Sabin then went to work as a reporter for various newspapers in Iowa and Illinois. In May 1893, he joined an expedition to the Bahamas organized by Charles C. Nutting, a professor of zoology and curator of the University of Iowa's natural history museum. Sabin resumed his newspaper work upon his return. While working in Chicago, he met Mary Nicole Nash. They were married on October 7, 1896. Sabin began publishing poetry and short stories in nationally known magazines around the turn of the century. His work appeared in The Chautauquan, St. Nicholas, Country Life, and many others. In 1902, he wrote his first children's book. Slowly his attention began to focus on the West, and encouraged by his publisher he turned his talents in that direction. His western historical fiction was highly researched and he was proud of its accuracy. He and his wife moved to La Jolla, California in 1913, so he could be closer to his subject matter. The years 1913-1931 were fruitful ones for Sabin. His books for boys were being published and received critical acclaim. However, he was hit hard by the Great Depression. He tried to sell his services as a writing consultant and even tried to establish a correspondence school for aspiring writers. These schemes failed, as did his attempts to publish his own work. The public's taste had changed and his western stories, with strong moral lessons of good and evil, were no longer in vogue. Sabin died on November 24, 1954, completely destitute -- a ward of the county.


5.25 Linear Feet (13 containers)

Language of Materials



Novelist. Correspondence, scrapbooks, subject files, preliminary drafts of his writings.

Method of Acquisition

The Sabin collection was purchased by University of Iowa Libraries in 1974.

Related Materials

Folder, "Sabin, Edwin L.," Faculty and Staff Vertical Files collection (RG01.0015.003)

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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)