10: Historically Yours: Ursula LeGuin, Earthsea, and Tolkien with guest Peter Balestrieri

February 20, 2018

In this episode guest Peter Balestrieri brings us a letter from Ursula LeGuin that he found tucked inside of a recently donated copy of "The Farthest Shore."



Peter Balestrieri




LeGuin, Ursula to Martin, John

Located in "The Farthest Shore."

Allen Lewis Autographed Books Collection (in process).






Write to Us!

Know more about this letter? 

Write to us!

Historically Yours

c/o Colleen Theisen

100 Main Library

Iowa City, IA 52242





09: Historically Yours: Love, Marjorie; Knitting hats for strawberries, swearing at horses, and the circus comes to town: Life in Kansas in the 1930’s

December 13, 2017


Jennifer Burek Pierce



Marjorie McVicker (Sutcliffe) to Bill Sutcliffe, 1938

Judith Sutcliffe Papers


Box 16, Folder “Marjorie to Bill, 1938”

Iowa Women’s Archives


SEE ALL OF THIS LETTER AND READ THE TRANSCRIPTION ON OUR BLOG: https://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/speccoll/2017/12/13/09-historically-yours-love-marjorie-knitting-hats-for-strawberries-swearing-at-horses-and-the-circus-comes-to-town-life-in-kansas-in-the-1930s/


Write to Us!

Know more about this letter? 

Write to us!

Historically Yours

c/o Colleen Theisen

100 Main Library

Iowa City, IA 52242




08: Historically Yours (corrected): A Tale of Woe for Miss Rosa Poe with guest Peter Balestrieri

November 21, 2017

(Corrected version of the podcast! While talking about international pirated versions of Poe's books, we mis-stated details about U.S. copyright in 1868. This file corrects that. If you know more about this letter be sure to email us and we'll read your letter on the pod. colleen-theisen@uiowa.edu, thanks! - Colleen). 


For this episode of Historically Yours, Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture, Peter Balestrieri takes us back into the publishing industry reading a handwritten letter from 1868 written on behalf of Miss Rosa Poe, sister of Edgar Allan Poe.


Letter information:


MsL T473d

Thompson, John Reuben to Eugene Didier

28 January 1868


Letter text:


17 Lafayette Place:

New York City, 28 Jan. 1868


Dear Sir,

I am again compelled to remind you that you have returned no answer in the matter of the Juvenile Verses of Edgar Poe, which I submitted to you some time ago for “Southern Society” and to ask either that you will return me the Ms. or else authorize us to write to Miss Rosa Poe that she may draw upon you for $15 - the sum I named as compensation for them. I explained to you when I sent the Ms. that Miss Poe was in a very destitute situation, and that I had undertaken, purely as a work of charity, to find a purchaser for the verses. If you want them, write me to that effect at once, if you do not want them, send them back to me, for delay in a case of destitution is really really unreasonable.

I desire to get two copies of your paper containing my poem of “Music in Camp,” and one copy of the number which published Simms’ Sketch of [Timrod?]. If you will be good enough to send us these, and will let me know what I am to pay for them, I will send you the amount in postage stamps.

Very truly yours,


R. Thompson


Eugene Didier Esq.



07: Historically Yours: Academics, Fans, Lovecraft, and the price of paper

October 24, 2017

For this episode of Historically Yours, School of Library and Information Science graduate student Kathryn Heffner reads a typed letter on Arkham House letterhead with details relating to what it took to get HP Lovecraft published during World War II, both figuratively and literally.



Msc0429, Thomas Ollive Mabbott Papers

August Derleth to Thomas Ollive Mabbott  

9 June 1943




Dear Mr. Mabbott:

Many thanks for your card. However, Dyalhis is dead, I understand. What with WPB paper restrictions, slowness of the fans to buy, etc., half our authors will be dead and we’ll have trouble with their estates before we can public the books we want to do. For instance, we have Whitehead’s JUMBEE AND OTHER UNCANNY TALES ready to go, but we can’t get a release for the estate, nor could we get enough paper for even so little as 1000 copies! If we were to publish it now, we could get paper enough for 900 copies, but then we couldn’t publish the 2nd Lovecraft. As it is, we’ll probably have to publish half the Lovecraft edition this autumn, and then the other half after January 1st, if we can’t get enough paper released so that we can use it. We also have coming Donald Wandrei’s THE EYE AND THE FINGER, but this, too, is likely to be held back until 1945, unless we can get the paper for this second Lovecraft, which will in any case be delayed into later September.

All best wishes to you.






Kathryn E. Heffner 

The University of Iowa, BLIS Student


06 - Historically Yours: An Account of Calamity Jane’s Death with Guest Liz Riordan

July 25, 2017

*Updated 7/31/2017 to fix a flaw in the audio file

For this episode of Historically Yours, Graduate Assistant Liz Riordan regales us with tales of the Wild West and a letter recounting an encounter with Calamity Jane immediately preceeding her death. (MsLT576s).

Tillett, S. to Edwin L. Sabin

22 June 1929



05 - Historically Yours: Guest is Archivist David McCartney reading James Thurber

June 27, 2017

For this episode of Historically Yours, University Archivist David McCartney tells a poignant tale of letter writing past and present and then reads us a letter from James Thurber from his time at the New Yorker in 1935. (MsLT5361za)



04 - Historically Yours: Helen Keller’s Poem - a letter, or an autograph? Guest Liz Riordan

May 17, 2017



Whate'er we love becomes of us a part,

The center of all tributary powers,

Our life is fed from

nature's throbbing heart

and of her best 

the fibre and growth is ours.

Helen Keller


April 29, 1902

03 - Historically Yours: World War I Memorial: Warren G. Harding letter with Ben Schmidt

May 2, 2017

A memorial for World War I is the concern in a letter from Warren G. Harding read by School of Library and Information Science graduate student Ben Schmidt.


Do you know anything about the movement to make a memorial? Or about Mrs. Henry F. Dimock?

Type in the comments, email us colleen-theisen@uiowa.edu or write to us:


Colleen Theisen

Special Collections

100 Main Library

Iowa City, IA 52242




02 - Historically Yours: A New York City Theater Fire with Liz Riordan

April 18, 2017

Historically Yours is brought to you by the wacky folks who wander in and out of the University of Iowa Special Collections. Your host is Colleen Theisen, today's guest is Liz Riordan.

Our theme music was composed by Will Riordan.


Letter from this episode:

Lawrence Barrett to James H. Smith Esq.

September 26, 1873.

MsL B274





01 - Historically Yours: Horace Annesley Vachell Letter with guest Laura Hampton

April 4, 2017

Welcome to our new podcast.


New episodes will premiere every two weeks on Tuesday.


Episode 1 features Digital Project Librarian Laura Hampton reading a letter from April 15, 1942 from Horace Ainsley Vachell of Bath England to Mr. Corder. (MsL V1183co).

Do you know anything about Mr. Corder? Or Mr. Vachell? Or anything else in this letter? Let us know.


Write to us:


Historically Yours

c/o Colleen Theisen

University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections

100 Main Library

Iowa City, IA 52242






Host: Colleen Theisen

Guest: Laura Hampton

Editing: Colleen Theisen

Theme Music: "Handwritten Letters" by Will Riordan