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Miriam E. Mason collection

Identifier: L528

Scope and Contents

This collection contains material ranging from 1916 to 1973 compiled by Miriam E. Mason over the course of her literary career. Her personal papers include school compositions, bibliographies of sources consulted, biographical information, documents related to children’s reading interests, clippings on various topics, documents and instructional handouts from conferences and workshops, correspondence from children and publishers, and notes regarding story ideas. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence, notes, drafts, and proof galleys related to her numerous published articles, short stories, plays and books. Mason typed her notes and drafts on the backs of letters, envelopes, greeting cards, book jackets, and other miscellaneous paper items. Often she typed a new story on the back of draft pages from of another story. Many of the titles of her stories changed through revisions and when possible, her correspondence, notes and drafts are organized by the published title.


  • 1905-1973


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Children's author Miriam Evangeline Mason was born in Goshen, Indiana to Benjamin F. and Laura (Geesaman) Mason. Though most biographies list her birthdate as January 23, 1900, several official documents, including the 1900 United States Census and the U.S. Social Security Index, list her year of birth as 1897.

She grew up on a hilltop farm in what is now the Morgan-Monroe State Forest. Following her graduation from Martinsville High School, Mason attended Indiana University (1916-1917), taught school (1918-1920), worked as an advertising copywriter for the William H. Block Company in Indianapolis (1920-1921) and attended the school of journalism at the University of Missouri (1922-1923). She married Maurice M. Swain in October 1924 and they had one daughter, Kathleen. They later divorced. Prior to becoming a free-lance writer in 1929, Mason also worked in the circulation and children’s department for the Spencer, Indiana publication Farm Life (1923, 1928-1929) and as an editorial assistant for the Hall McCreary Publishing Company of Chicago (1925-1926). She went on to author 54 children’s books and wrote more than four hundred short stories, articles, and plays for both children and adults. Mason died at her home in Batesville, Indiana on February 20, 1973.


Information found within collection. "Miriam E. Mason." 1900 United States Federal Census. Accessed October 22, 2020. “Miriam Evangeline Mason.” Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993. October 22, 2020.

Covert, Jeannette. “Miriam Mason Swain, Writer in Hoosier Tradition, Is Author of 3 New Books.” Indianapolis Star (Ind.), August 13, 1944.

“Rites at Batesville for Mrs. Swain, 73.” Greensburg Daily News (Ind.), February 22, 1973.

Thompson, Donald E., comp. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1974.


10.6 Cubic Feet (26 manuscript boxes, 1 large oversize box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Personal papers, 1916-1973, undated

Series 2: Literary documents, 1923-1972, undated

Subseries 2.1: Articles and book reviews, 1928-1969, undated Subseries 2.2: Books and stories, 1927-1971, undated Subseries 2.3: Essays, plays and poems, 1923-1972, undated Subseries 2.4: Short stories, 1930-1957, undated Subseries 2.5: Galleys, 1937-1967, undated

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Mrs. Kitsy Beck on 1980/05/19.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2000 by Philip N. Williams. Collection reprocessed in 2020 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created in 2020/11 by Laura Eliason.
Miriam E. Mason collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.