crown CU Home > Libraries Home
Columbia University Libraries Archival CollectionsRare Book & Manuscript Library Collections

   Helen Follett papers, 1919-1969 [Bulk Dates: 1928-1939]

Download and Print CitationContact Bookmark Share

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Helen Follett papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information


Helen Thomas Follett’s papers consist primarily of personal letters and business correspondence, manuscripts of published and unpublished works, publicity items for her books, newspaper clippings, photographs, and postcards. In addition, there are manuscripts, correspondence, and newspaper clippings related to her oldest daughter, Barbara Newhall Follett.

At a Glance

Call No.:MS#0440
Bib ID:4078772 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Follett, Helen (Helen Thomas)
Title:Helen Follett papers, 1919-1969 [Bulk Dates: 1928-1939]
Physical description:2.94 linear ft. (7 document boxes)
Language(s): Material is in English.
Access: This collection is located on-site. This collection has no restrictions.  More information »



This collection is arranged in seven series:

Return to top


Scope and Content

Follett's papers primarily consist of personal letters, manuscripts of published and unpublished works, research materials and notes, publicity and promotional items, educational articles, photographs and postcards of her travels, and newspaper clippings.

In addition, the collection contains correspondence, writings, and newspaper clippings of her daughter, Barbara Newhall Follett.

Series I: Correspondence, 1919-1969

This series consists primarily of personal letters from Helen and Wilson Follett to their very close friends, the Meserveys. Other letters are addressed to Helen from Wilson, Alice Dyer Russell, another close friend, and the Meserveys.

Series II: Published Materials, 1932-1944

In this series, the papers are published manuscripts in various versions. The titles are: House Afire!, Magic Portholes, and Third-Class Ticket to Heaven.

Series III: Unpublished Materials, circa 1930s - 1966

This series contains unpublished manuscripts of books, short stories, and poems.

Series IV: Publicity/Promotional Materials, 1932-1939

These files contain various publicity and promotional items including a radio script, book reviews, newspaper clippings, and book jackets.

Series V: Research Materials, 1927-1939

The items in this series consist of photographs, postcards and German newspaper clippings.

Series VI: Educational Materials, 1919-1935

This series consists of articles, notes, and a hand-made manual on education using the typewriter for elementary school children.

Series VII: Barbara Newhall Follett, 1914-1933

This series is comprised of a diary detailing Barbara’s infancy to early childhood, her writings and correspondence, and newspaper clippings.

Return to top

Using the Collection


Access Restrictions

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Helen Follett papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid in repository; folder level control.

Selected Related Material-- at Columbia

Barbara Newhall Follett Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Libary, Columbia University.

Return to top

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries. Rare Book and Manuscript Library; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

Cataloged 06/--/89 Christina Hilton Fenn

Papers processed by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011)

Finding aid written by Marilyn Chin (Queens College, 2011) April 2011

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion May 3, 2011 Finding aid written in English.
    2011-05-03 File created.
    2011-05-12 XML document instance created by Catherine C. Ricciardi

Return to top

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Follett, Barbara Newhall 1914-1939PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Follett, HelenPortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Follett, Wilson 1887-1963PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Sperry, Armstrong 1897-1976PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

Return to top

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Helen Thomas Follett was born in 1893 and was an early twentieth-century author of young adult books. Her first two books, Magic Portholes and Stars to Steer By , were based on her sailing trip to the Caribbean and the South Seas islands during the late 1920s with her teen-age daughter, Barbara.

Follett advocated the use of typewriters in elementary schools as a teaching tool for young students to help learn words and form sentences. She had moderate success with her writings and had two more works published, Third-Class Ticket to Heaven and House Afire! in 1939 and 1941 respectively.

She was married to Wilson Follett, an English professor and writer. They divorced in the early 1930s. They had two daughters, Barbara and Sabra. Barbara was a child prodigy author who disappeared in 1939 at the age of 25.

Follett died in 1970 in New York City at the age of 76.

Return to top