Manuscript Collections - Isabel M. Paterson Papers

Oct 18, 2021

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum is now open to the public for viewing of the permanent galleries on the life and times of Herbert Hoover and the temporary exhibit gallery, Leonardo da Vinci Machines in Motion. 

The Research Room, the Museum Gift Shop and Public and Educational Programs remain closed at this time. For more information visit or buy tickets online.


ISABEL M. PATERSON PAPERS, 1857-1998 (bulk, 1910-1965)
10 linear feet, 1 linear inch (23 manuscript boxes)
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

Isabel Paterson was born to Francis and Margaret Bowler on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada on January 22, 1886. The family settled on a cattle ranch in Alberta. Isabel spent only a few years in school and moved out on her own when she was a teenager. In 1910 she married Kenneth Birrell Paterson and began her journalism career writing editorials for the Inland Herald. She also wrote drama reviews for two Vancouver newspapers.

Paterson separated from her husband in 1918 and after World War One moved to New York where she worked on the feature page of the New York American and in the editorial department of Hearst’s Magazine. In 1922 she joined the New York Herald-Tribune to write book reviews and pieces for the Sunday Books section. In 1924 she began her column Turns With a Bookworm which combined reviews, literary anecdotes, and her political views. 

Paterson began writing novels when she was 28. The first two, The Magpie’s Nest and The Shadow Riders, were westerns about women struggling to achieve independence. Her most famous book was The God in the Machine, an important libertarian work. Major themes in her work include liberty, political freedom, individualism, and entrepreneurship.

Dismissed from the New York Herald in 1949, Paterson continued to write and refused Social Security benefits. Isabel Paterson died at the home of Muriel and Edward Hall in Montclair, New Jersey on January 10, 1961. SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE

The collection was acquired from Paterson’s estate over three accessions in 1995, 1997, and 1999.

The papers are divided into five series:

NAME AND SUBJECT FILES (2 linear feet, 10 linear inches) contain material from 1908 to 1998 arranged alphabetically. The series is mostly correspondence, although it also includes articles, clippings, photocopies of photographs, quotes, and poems. It also contains files from scholars working after Paterson’s death. Notable writers include Will Cuppy, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand. Materials on highly acidic paper have been removed for preservation purposes and replaced with copies.

WRITINGS (2 linear feet) include article drafts, correspondence about Paterson’s works, notes, and book manuscripts. Includes manuscripts for The Singing Season and a Book Digest version of The God of the Machine. The material dates from 1911 to 1964. Correspondents include editors John Chamberlain of Freeman and William Buckley, Jr. of The National Review.

LEGAL PAPERS (5 linear inches) date from 1910 to 1979 and include documents relating to Paterson’s property, estate settlement, naturalization as a U.S. citizen in 1928, and writing contracts.

BOOK COLLECTION (3 linear feet, 6 linear inches) contain two subgroups which date from 1857 to 1970. The first contains copies of annotations from the books in the second subgroup and is arranged alphabetically by title of the book. The second contains books owned by Paterson, often with underlining and annotations in her own hand, arranged alphabetically by author of the book.

TURNS WITH A BOOKWORM (1 linear foot, 4 linear inches)




1          Correspondence
                     GROUP A – B, 1927-1949
                     American Legion Controversy, 1951
                     Balch, Earl, 1945
                     Busey, Garreta
                              Letters from Isabel Paterson, 1936 and undated
                              Letters to Isabel Paterson, 1928-1949
                              Letters to Muriel Hall, 1962-1965
                     GROUP C – D, undated
                     Coleman, Alta May, undated
                     Censorship, 1946
                     Cox, Stephen, 1988-1998
                     Cuppy, Will to Isabel Paterson, undated (3 folders)
                     Edmunds, Everard, 1956
                     Education in the United States, 1953-1959
                     Elson, Robert T., 1957

2                   Farley, Lillian Fisher, 1927, 1958, 1960
                     Farley, Lillian (Dina) Fischer, 1924-1960 (2 folders, copies from NYPL)
                     Field, Rachel, 1930
                     Gilbert, Rodney, 1957
                     Glenn, Isa, 1931-1932
                     Griffith, H. M., 1952
                     Hall, Ted, undated
                     Hall, Muriel, 1961, 1979-1992 (2 folders)
                     Henry, R. S., 1942-1964 (5 folders)
3                   Herdman, Ramona, 1950-1959
                     Hitchcock, Harry, 1929
                     Hoiles, R. C., 1950-1962          
                     Kirk, Russell, 1964-1965
                     Knowlton, Marcus and Meredith, 1959
                     Lane, Rose Wilder, 1932-1945 [31-imp-b03-f06-lane]
                     Lecomte de Nouy, Mr. and Mrs. Pierre, 1947-1956
                     LeFevre, Robert, 1960-1964
                     Luckhart, Grace, 1927-1961 and undated
                     Manion, Clarence, 1949
                     McGinnis, Dick, undated
                     Mitchison, N., undated
                     Paterson, Isabel to Muriel Hall, 1944-1957 (5 folders)
4                   Paterson, Isabel to Muriel Hall, 1958-1960
                     GROUP R, 1935-1949
                     Rand, Ayn
                              From Isabel Paterson, 1943-1948
                              To Isabel Paterson, 1943-1950    
                     Roberts, Nat, 1929-1935 and undated
                     Rascoe, Burton, 1945
                     GROUP S, 1938-1960
                     Scholars Interested in Isabel Paterson, 1969-1973
                     Social Security, 1937-1955
                     Stribling, T. S., undated
                     Sprague, Ted and Grace, undated
                     Stone, Grace, undated
                     GROUP T-Y, 1923-1946
                     Teale, Edwin Way, 1949-1950
                     Unidentified, 1908-1916

5                   Vogt, Gertrude, 1950-1961
                     Wall, Mildred, 1952-1961
                     Welles, Mary and Samuel, 1936-1943 and undated
                     Welles, Ted, 1949-1985
                     Wylie, Elinor, undated
            Cuppy, Will – Clippings, 1927 and undated
            New York Herald Tribune – Obituaries, 1953-1983
            Paterson, Isabel
                     Address Book and Business Cards, 1942 and undated
                     Articles about Isabel Paterson, 1912-1943
                     Christmas Cards, undated
                     Family Correspondence, 1933-1954
                     Linoleum Block, undated (Paterson portrait?)
                     Miscellaneous, 1944-1959 and undated
                     Notebook – Turns With a Bookworm, undated (blank, illustrated cover)

6                   Newspaper Clippings, 1916-1960
                     Photographs, undated (copies)
                     Quotes, 1958-1960
                     Tombstone, 1962
                     Rand, Ayn
                              Lecture Report by Ed Barthelmes for Time, Feb 18, 1960
                              The Only Path to Tomorrow, Condensed from The Moral Basis of
                                       Individualism, 1945
                              An Open Letter to Ayn Rand by John Chamberlain in National Review,
                     Thomas, M. J. – Poems, undated

                     Annotated by Isabel Paterson, 1939-1944
                     The Astonishing Creature – The Baby, May, 1949
                     Humanitarian with Guillotine, 1955
                     Learning to Read, 1957 (working title, Reading Without Tears, Cows or Chickens)
                     A Man of Destiny, 1956
                     Murphy, 1928
                     Newark Evening News, 1960
                     New York Herald Tribune, 1924-1938
                     The Oracles are Dumb, 1956
                     Sketches for Newspaper Articles, undated
                     The Southern Breakthrough, 1955
                     Turns with A Bookworm, 1932-1948
                     We Were the Cowith-an, undated
                     What Do They Do All Day?, undated
                     Written by Other Authors, 1930-1964

7          Correspondence
                     Ashville Chamber of Commerce, 1924
                     GROUP B, 1942-1949
                     Benson, Arthur C., undated
                     Book Reviews, 1932
                     Bradley, J.G., 1949
                     Buckley, William F., Jr., 1954-1962
                     Buffett, Howard, 1952
                     GROUP C – D
                     Cabell, James Branch, 1930-1936
                     Chamberlain, John, 1953
                     Colum, Padraic, 1944
                     Columbia Lecture Bureau, 1949
                     Crane, Jasper, 1944-1954
                     GROUP E
                     Fake, Guy L., 1943-1948
                     Fuller, Selma and Henry, 1953
                     Gannett, Frank, 1945
                     G. P. Putnam and Sons, 1942-1944
                     Greenewatt, C. H., 1952-1959
                     Georgia Review, 1948-1949
                     GROUP H, 1934-1958
                     Harper Brothers, 1915
                     Hicks, Hamilton, undated
                     GROUP J, 1951
                     Josenhans, M. Alma, undated
                     GROUP L, 1931-1948
                     GROUP M, 1931-1947
                     Marsh, Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind), 1947
                     Mitchison, Maomi, undated
                     New York Herald Tribune, 1949-1952
                     Opitz, Edmund, A., 1959
                     GROUP P – R, 1944-1956
                     Palmer, Paul, 1945-1947
                     Read, Thomas, 1935, 1964
                     Rejection of Manuscripts, 1914-1915
                     Ridenour, Louis N., 1946
                     GROUP S, 1922-1959
                     Saturday Evening Post, 1957-1959 (Frederick Nelson)
                     Stout, Wesley W., 1939-1944
                     GROUP T – Y, 1949-1957
                     Unidentified, 1950-1956
                     Van Doren, Irita, 1940
                     Wall, Mildred, 1958-1959
                     Wilder, Thornton, 1927

8                   Natural Law, 1951-1954
                     Never Ask the End, 1933-1949
                     Rejection Letters, 1942
                     Theory of Equilibrium, 1951-1955
                     Vogt, Gertrude, 1950-1961
                     Miscellaneous copies, 1911-1964 and undated (4 folders)
            Draft Notes
                     General, undated
                     How Can I Get Past the (Deleted) Conservatives?, undated
                     Law and Liberty, undated
                     Republican Party, 1954
                     States Rights Proposal, 1951-1952

9          Manuscripts
                     Did I Ask to Be Born?
                              Working Copy
                              Final Copy
                     Fragments from Novels, undated
                     God of the Machine
                              Summary for Book Digest, 1943
                              Correspondence, 1945
                              Notes by Ted and Muriel Hall, undated
                              Notes of Isabel Paterson, undated
                     Joyous Gard, 1958
                              Annotated copy (2 folders)
                              Clear Copy, Chapters 1-13

10                          Clear Copy, Chapters 14-25
                              Early Copy, Pages 14-191 (2 folders)
                              Attempts to Get Published, 1951-1958
                              Chapters 1 and 2
                              Chapter 1
                              Burned Copy, Chapters 15-25 (2 folders)
                     The Singing Season
                              Chapters 1-30 (2 folders)
                              Correspondence, 1923
                     Reviews of Paterson Books, 1916 and undated


11        Banking, 1925, 1956-1959
            Disposition of Papers, 1961-1979
            General, 1910-1957
            Immigration Papers, 1920-1928
            Real Estate
                     Connecticut Property, 1933-1949, 1952-1960 (2 folders)
                     New Jersey Property, 1942-1960
            Royalties, 1933-1949
            Taxes, 1926-1964
            Will and Death Certificate, 1961
            Writing Contracts, 1915-1942


12        Annotated Materials
                     A Bookman’s Daybook by Burton Rascoe, 1929
                     Dryden by G. Saintsbury, 1902
                     Einstein by P. Frank
                     Elizabeth by M. Waldman
                     Forty-Two Years in the White House by Irwin Hood (Ike) Hoover, 1934
                     Founding Fathers by K. Umbrett
                     The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
                     God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson
                     A Great Peacemaker: The Diary of James Gallatin Secretary to Albert Gallatin
                              1813-1827, 1914
                     Grey Eminence by A. Huxley
                     High Stakes and Hair Trigger by R. W. Winston
                     A History of the Church. Volume three – The Revolt against the Church: Aquinas
                              to Luther, 1947
                     Kilvert’s Diary by W. Plomer
                     Letters of Madame by G. S. Stevenson
                     The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay by G. O. Trevelyan
                     The Life of Samuel Johnson by J. Boswell
                     The Man versus the State by Herbert Spencer, 1940
                     The Novels of Jane Austin by R. W. Chapman
                     Out of the Earth by L. Bromfield
                     Pensees by Pascal
                     The Pentateuch by J. W. Colenso
                     Phases of American Culture by the Jesuit Philosophical Association of the Eastern
                              States, 1942
                     Portrait of Pascal by M. Duclaux
                     The Road to Xanadu by J. L. Lowes
                     Russia Under the Tzars by Stepniak
                     Sahara: The Great Desert by E. F. Gautier, 1935
                     Science and Christian Tradition by T. H. Huxley
                     The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy by E. Gilson
                     Taft and Roosevelt by A. Butt
                     They Told Barron by C. W. Barron

13                 Travels in France and Italy by A. Young
                     The Unity of Philosophical Experience by E. Gilson
                     Voltaire by Brandes
                     The Wealth of Nation by A. Smith
                     Inscriptions to Isabel Paterson
                              National Review, Aug-Sep, 1960, Jan-Feb, 1970
                              The Freeman, 1950-1952
14        Book Collection
                     Adlington, Richard, The Duke: A Life of Wellington, 1943
                     Brandes, George, Voltaire, 1930 (2 vols)
                     Bromfield, Louis, Out of the Earth, 1950
                     Catlin, George, North American Indians, Volume 1, 1857
                     Chamberlain, Pressey Walters, Living, Reading, and Thinking, 1948
                     Fitzgerald, Edward, The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyan
15                 Chesnut, Mary Boykin, A Diary From Dixie, 1949
                     Duclaux, Mary, Portrait of Pascal, 1927
                     Du Nouy, Lecomte, Human Destiny, 1947
                     Du Nouy, Mary, The Road to Human Destiny, 1955
                     Ford, Ford Madox, The Last Post, 1928 (two copies)
                     Frank Philipp, Einstein, 1947

 16                Gilson, Etienne
                              The Spirit of Mediaeval Philosophy, 1940
                              The Unity of Philosophical Experience, 1947
                     Hughes, Philip, A History of the Church, Volume 3, 1947
                     Hughes, Richard, A High Wind in Jamaica, 1932
                     Huxley, T.H., Science and Christian Tradition, 1895
                     O”Neill, Moira, Songs of the Glens of Antrim, 1916
                     Plomer, Ed., Kilvert’s Diary, 1947
                     Potter, George Richard, Sir Thomas More, 1925
                     Pound, Arthur, Ed., They Told Barron, 1930

17                 Pascal, Blaise, Pensees, 1941
                     Paterson, Isabel
                              The Fourth Queen, 1926
                              God of the Machine, 1943 (2 Copies)
                              God of the Machine, 1964 (reprint)
                              If It Prove Fair Weather, 1940 (2 Copies)

18                          Golden Vanity, 1934
                              The Magpies Nest, 1917
                              Mai Domander La Fine, 1933
                              Never Ask the End, 1930
                              The Road of the Gods, 1930
                              The Shadow Riders, 1916
                     Tate, Allen, Jefferson Davis, 1929
                     U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1954

19                 Roscoe, Burton, Titans of Literature, 1932
                     Spencer Herbert, The Man Versus the State, 1940
                     Swinburne, Algernon Charles, Poems, 1905 (4 Volumes)
                     Wylie, Elinor, Collected Prose, 1933

20        Original Removed for Preservation
                     Paterson-Hall Correspondence, 1944-1955 (4 folders)
                     Paterson Correspondence, 1957-1958 (2 folders)
                     Manuscript Fragments, undated
                     Novel Fragments, undated
                     Will Cuppy to Paterson, undated

21        Turns With A Bookworm, Sep 1924-Aug 1932 (14 folders)

22        Turns With A Bookworm, Sep 1932-Aug 1939 (14 folders)

23        Turns With A Bookworm, Sep 1939- Jan 1949 (19 folders)


Weeded on Aug 4, 2015 by cgw
            Writing – Correspondence – Nelson, Frederick, 1957-1959
            Photocopies of the eight (8) pages in
            Writing – Correspondence – Saturday Evening Post, 1957-1959

Top of Page