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Scott O'Dell Papers

Identifier: CLRC-173

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection contains production materials related to children's books written by Scott O'Dell, and includes typescripts, manuscripts, proofs, clippings, reviews, and notes. Additionally, the collection holds fan mail from children and material related to class visits. Personal material includes family and personal photographs, correspondence with his first wife, Dorsa O'Dell, some from after their separation in the 1960s, Dorsa O'Dell's reminisces and anecdotes about Scott, obituaries and biographical material, award speeches, and other personal and professional items.


  • Creation: 1900-2008, undated


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Scott O'Dell was born May 23, 1898 in Los Angeles, California as O'Dell Gabriel Scott. Best known as a children's historical fiction writer, O'Dell had a varied career. He was a technical director for Paramount Studios, a cameraman for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a book columnist for the Los Angeles Mirror, a book editor for the Los Angeles Daily News, and later a full time author. During World War II he served in the United States Air Force. Among other awards, his books have earned several Newbery Honor Awards and the Newbery Medal in 1961 for Island of the Blue Dolphins. In 1972 O'Dell became the second American to receive the Hans Christian Andersen Medal. He created the annual Scott O'Dell Historical Fiction award in 1981 to encourage the production of historical fiction. He was married twice, first to Jane Dorsa O'Dell who he married in 1948 and separated from in the 1960s (though they did not divorce until the late 1980s), and Elizabeth Hall. Scott O'Dell died in 1989 at the age of 91.


20 Cubic Feet (18 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of manuscript materials related to works by children's book author Scott O'Dell, as well as personal papers, photographs, and fan mail from children.


Collection is arranged into two series:

Series 1: Publications - arranged alphabetically by title

Series 2: Personal and Miscellaneous

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Some material donated to the collection by Scott O'Dell, with the majority donated by his wife, Elizabeth Hall, after his death. Boxes 14-18, containing material from Stoneapple Farm, where O'Dell lived with his first wife, Jane Dorsa O'Dell, until their separation in the 1960s, was donated by Gillian Russell Gilhool, on behalf of the Stoneapple Farm Trust.

Related Materials

See Sara Schwebel Papers on Scott O'Dell for collation of Island of the Blue Dolphins typescripts used to create the Island of the Blue Dolphins: Complete Readers Edition, published in 2016.

Scott O'Dell papers, 1900-2008, undated
Finding aid created by CLRC staff
2009, 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • August 2014: Collection reprocessed by Laura Howard; EAD updated by Kate Dietrick
  • March 2022: Material from Stoneapple Farm added to collection and collection guide updated by Caitlin Marineau.
  • October 2022: Material added to Box 17 by Carter Thurmond.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library