Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Hahn mss., 1900-1991, consist of the correspondence and writings of Emily Hahn, 1905-1997, author. Hahn was born in St. Louis and lived there until her family moved to Chicago during her high school years. She later attended the University of Wisconsin and in 1926 received the first mining engineering degree awarded to a female student. Following graduation, until the spring of 1927, she worked for an engineering firm in St. Louis and then as a company courier for that firm in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Returning to the East during the summer, she attended Columbia University for graduate work, taught geology during the 1927/28 academic year, and then headed for Europe on her first overseas tour. After living in Florence and London, she returned home briefly in 1929 before going to the Congo and two years' residence there. In 1932 she began further travels, finally settling in Shanghai in 1935 where she taught English for three years.

All during this decade of travel and adventure Hahn wrote almost continually - articles, stories, letters - and many of her pieces were printed in The New Yorker, as well as five full-length books being published. Fortunately, as a supplement to her writings, the collection also contains Hahn's letters home to her mother and family while she lived and traveled in Europe, Africa, and China. This early correspondence is particularly descriptive of people, places, and activities, and is most interesting for the early years of Asian conflict that would later be seen as a prelude of World War II. The Sino-Japanese conflict eventually caused Hahn to leave Shanghai for Hong Kong, where she was later forced to remain after the Japanese took over that area in 1941. She was finally repatriated in 1943 and proceeded to produce two books concerning those years: China to Me and Hong Kong Holiday . In 1945 Hahn married British Major Charles Ralph Boxer, 1904-2000, whom she had met in Hong Kong prior to his internment as a POW, and following the war they moved to his family home in England. She continued to write short fiction, articles for magazine publication, particularly The New Yorker, and a remarkable number of books. During the 1950's she ventured into the juvenile field with some fiction, juvenile biographies, and descriptions of some of the countries in which she had traveled or lived. Other publications include biographies of Aphra Behn, James Brooke, Fanny Burney, Chiang kai-shek, D.H. Lawrence, and Mabel Dodge Luhan; a description of the diamond business; four books on zoos and animals; histories of China, Ireland, women; and several autobiographical accounts.

Correspondents in the collection include: Mary E. Allen, Joseph Wright Alsop (1878-1953), Joseph Wright Alsop (1910-1989), Alfred Andriola, Virginia Armat, Josephine Edith Hahn Arthur, John Astengo, James Patrick Augustine, Howard F. Baer, Ishwari Singh Bahadur, Robert Balk, Arthur Barker, Marcel L. Baron, David Dean Barrett, Vicki Baum, Bernice Baumgarten, Vicars Walker Bell, Barton Lidice Benes, William Rose Benét, Katherine Stevens (Fowler) Billings, Arthur G. Blunt, Amanda Boxer, Charles Ralph Boxer, Mary Rose Bradford, Carol Brandt, Basil Charles Barrington Brooke, Bertram W.D. Brooke, Hazel Elizabeth Brown, Philip Henry Ackerman Brownrigg, Matthew Joseph Bruccoli, Margaret M. Bryant, Pearl (Sydenstricker) Buck, Witter Bynner, Hortense Calisher, Milton Arthur Caniff, Jonathan Cape, James Paul Chapin, Chanler Armstrong Chapman, Charlotte D. (Gower) Chapman, Mei-ling (Sung) Chiang (Mme. Chiang kai-shek), Ken Clarke, Jessie Cohen, Irene Fincher Cole, Elizabeth (Tang) Comber, Corolyn Cox, Robert Leland Crowell, Ralph Crowley, James S. Cummins, Charles Curran, Lawrence Curtis, Aubrey Davis, Gregory Dawson, Mitchell Dawson, Rose Hahn Dawson, Helen (Woods) Edmonds, Christopher Temple Emmet, Jr., John Chipman Farrar, Henry Field, Julia Rand Allen Field, Geraldine Townsend Fitch, Matthew Cuchulain Ford, Lee Foshay, Bernardine Szold Fritz, Dorothy Gilbert, Louise Mary Gill, John Blair L. Goodwin, Geoffrey Gorer, Randall Chase Gould, Adeline Gray, Milton Greenstein, John Gunther, Charless Hahn, Emanuel Hahn, Emily Hahn, Hannah (Schoen) Hahn, Isaac Newton Hahn, Nancy Coonsman Hahn, Gordon Sherman Haight, Donald P. Hanson, Muriel Hanson, Robert Henderson, Rudy L. Hohlfeld, Helen Hoke, Paul Horgan, George Wren Howard, Krishna Hutheesing, Malcolm Johnson, Williard Johnson, Evan Just, Robert Lee Keedick, Agnes Newton Keith, Walt Kelly, Margaret Kennedy, Barbara Ker-Seymer, Harrison Kinney, Herman Kogan, Agnes A. Kross, Mary Lackersteen, Dorothy Hahn Larsen, Arthur Laurents, Robert Lescher, Gustav Stubbs Lobrano, David Loth, Ma Pin-ho, Kenneth Dale McCormick, Malcolm John MacDonald, Francis Xavier Martin, William Maxwell, Edwin Justus Mayer, Helen Mears, Dorothy Raper Miller, Henry Miller, Robert Moses, William Allen Myers, Sterling North, Oda Takio, Gordon F. Ogilvie, Harry Frederick Oppenheimer, Marshall Parkinson, Richard L. Pearse, Patrick Perry, Harrison Gray Platt, Alma Pritchard, Benjamin A. Proulx, Patrick Tracy Lowell Putnam, Hugh Rawson, Robert Lester Reynolds, Wallace W. Rosenbauer, Harold Wallace Ross, Robert W. Ruhe, Katharine Sansom, Evelyn Barnes Sassoon, Victor Sassoon, Charles Schlessiger, Hilary Dawson Schlessiger, Arthur Schneff, Charles Robbins Schroeder, Selwyn Selwyn-Clarke, William Shawn, George Shively, Helen Hahn Smith, Richard Rushton Smith, Jacques de Spoelberch, Jean Stafford, Noel Stearn, Noel Streatfeild, Clarence O. Swanson, Lorraine Murray Toeg, Freda Utley, Gertrude VanWagenen, Carola Militia Vecchio, Dorothy D. Visser, Clint Wade, Suzanne C. Want, Fredric John Warburg, Peter Watt, Franklin Mowry Watts, Rebecca West, Victor Weybright, Katherine Sergeant Angell White, Genevieve Young, Zau Sinmay, Solly Zuckerman.

In addition to drafts of her writings, typescripts, galleys, photographs, and research materials relating to many of her publications, the collection also contains several unpublished fictional pieces; college notes; family memorabilia and letters; photographs of various areas of the United States and Africa taken during the 1930's; clippings of book reviews and articles by and about Hahn; and miscellaneous clippings relating to people and places familiar to her.

An inventory is available.

Complementing this collection are the Hahn-Brandt mss. which consist of her literary agent's files on her behalf, and the Bobbs-Merrill mss. containing materials related to her books published by that firm.

Purchase. Emily Hahn, The New Yorker, New York, New York. 1975, 1976. Gift. Emily Hahn, c/o The New Yorker, New York, New York. 1989, 1992

Related manuscripts: Hahn mss. II, Hahn mss. III, Hahn mss. IV

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.