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Josephine Herbst Papers

Identifier: MsC0838

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Novelist and journalist. Revised printers copy of Somewhere the Tempest Fell (1947), correspondence, clippings, book jackets, and a photograph.


  • Creation: 1928-1997


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

Josephine Frey Herbst, born in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1897, attended Morningside College, the University of Iowa, the University of Washington, and was graduated from the University of California in 1918. In 1920 she worked at a variety of jobs in New York -- everything from a department store employee to a charity organization case-worker to a publicity writer and editorial reader for H. L. Mencken. Her interest in writing stems from childhood and her first story was published in The Smart Setin 1923. In 1925 she married a writer, John Herrman.

Throughout her life she was constantly engaged in observing and writing about areas of trouble and unrest, both in this country and abroad. She lived in Germany from 1922 until 1925 and returned to Europe in 1930, visiting Austria and the Soviet Union; in 1932 she was in Mexico, in Iowa during the farm strike, and in 1934 in the Midwest farming region again in the time of the drought. 1935 found her in Cuba during the General Strike and that same year in Germany to do a series of newspaper articles for the New York POst. She was in Flint, Michigan, at the time of the General Motors sit-down strike in 1937, then in Spain as a correspondent during the bombardment of Madrid. In 1939 she traveled to South America. During these years Josephine Herbst was concerned with the breakdown of capitalist society and the shift towards collectivism; she felt that the future would be closely bound up with the future of the farmer and the worker, and she must keep in touch with their world. She is known as the writer of the proletarian novel. Her trilogy, Pity is Not Enough, The Executioner Waits, and Rope of Gold has been called a "subtle blend of art and propaganda." In 1936 Josephine Herbst received a Guggenheim fellowship in the field of the novel.

Josephine Herbst died on January 28, in 1969, at the age of seventy-seven, and is buried in a family plot in Sioux City


0.50 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Method of Acquisition

These papers were given to the University of Iowa Libraries by Ms. Herbst in 1948. Guide posted to Internet: February 2006.

Related Materials

Bevilaqua, Wninfred Farrant. An Introduction to Josephine Herbst, Novelist

The Bieneke Library at Yale University has a collection of Herbst's papers.

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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)