Jack Conroy Papers

Institution: Newberry Library
60 W. Walton St.
Chicago, IL 60610
Phone: 312-255-3506
Date: 1924-1991
Extent: 57.19 Linear Feet
Finding Aid

Biographical/Historical Note:
While editor of literary "little magazines" such as The Rebel Poet, The Anvil, and The New Anvil, Conroy helped launch writers like Richard Wright, Erskine Caldwell, and Nelson Algren. In 1938 Conroy came to Chicago, on Algren's suggestions, to work on the Illinois Writer's Project. Along with recording folktales and industrial folklore, Conroy was assigned to the black history portion of the IWP, and collaborated with Arna Bontemps, producing the pioneering black studies works They Seek A City (1945) and Anyplace But Here (1965), both about African-American migration from the South to the North. Conroy and Bontemps also collaborated on several successful juvenile books based on folktales, including The Fast Sooner Hound (1942) and Slappy Hooper, The Wonderful Sign Painter (1946). In 1965, Conroy moved from Chicago back to Moberly, Missouri, where he lived until his death in 1990. He continued to write into his 80's, publishing The Weed King and Other Stories in 1985. Over the course of his career, Conroy was also a teacher and lecturer, and a mentor to younger radical writers.

Scope and Content Note:
Correspondence, works, scrapbooks, subject files, magazines, journal submissions, photographs, and ephemera documenting the life and literary output of Jack Conroy.

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