Lee Shippey Papers, 1915 - 1970 (MSS 147)

Extent: 3.2 Linear feet (6 archives boxes and 6 oversize folders)

The papers of Lee Shippey, writer and journalist for the Los Angeles Times (1923-1958), include correspondence, poetry, published and unpublished manuscripts, lyrics, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. The scrapbooks document his Los Angeles Times daily column "Leeside o' L.A.," and his weekly column "The Seymour Family," as well as articles and columns for San Diego area newspapers and from his two years in Mexico.

Lee Shippey was born on February 26, 1884, in Memphis, Tennessee. The start of his career in 1906 coincided with his accidental blinding; he dictated his first humor columns for the Kansas City Star from his bed. Shippey never regained full sight and, unable to enlist, became war correspondent for the newspaper during World War I. His story on the end of the war in Verdun, France, attracted the attention of Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler.

After the war, Shippey edited an English language newspaper for two years in Tampico, Mexico. In the early 1920s, he moved his family to California and contacted Chandler, beginning a long association with the Times. His popular column "Leeside o' L.A.: Personal Glimpses of Famous Southlanders," ran daily from 1927 to 1958. Shippey also wrote the columns "Martian Observer," "Joshua Little," "How It Looks to Mars," and "Needles-Eye View." His weekly column, "The Seymour Family," was a humorous look at American families.

Though Shippey became known as the "dean of Southern California columnists," he had always aspired to be a poet. He published both poetry and prose, and was active in several professional writers organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. His published works include Personal Glimpses of Famous Folks (1929) from "Leeside o' L.A.;" Folks You Should Know (1930); Where Nothing Ever Happens (1935); The Girl Who Wanted Experience (1937); a textbook entitled California Progress (1937) co-authored with Herbert Floercky; The Great American Family (1938); If We Only Had Money (1939); It's an Old California Custom (1948); Los Angeles Book (1950); his autobiography, Luckiest Man Alive (1959); and "The Chivalry of Adolescence" (1964), a chapter from The Great American Family, reprinted in Chucklebait: Funny Stories for Everyone. Two of Shippey's books were adapted into plays by others: The Great American Family ("The Great American Family: A Comedy") and It's an Old California Custom.

Shippey retired to Del Mar, California, and contributed several columns to the San Diego Union and Del Mar Surfcomber: "Surfside o' Del Mar," "Southwest Corner," "Lee Shippey Says," and "Lee Shippey Asks" through the late 1960s. He died in Encinitas, California, on December 30, 1969.

The Lee Shippey Papers contain biographical materials, memorabilia, correspondence, published and unpublished manuscripts, and scrapbooks containing clippings of Shippey's columns and articles. The papers date from 1915-1970, occupy 3.2 linear feet and are arranged in five series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, 4) SCRAPBOOKS, and 5) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.

Container List


Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS: Contains memorabilia, articles about Shippey and obituary notices. Additional articles about Shippey can be found in SERIES 5) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.

Box 1 Folder 1
Articles and obituaries, 1966 - 1970
Box 1 Folder 2
Memorabilia - Letter and menu/book jacket (Where Nothing Ever Happens) for a dinner honoring Shippey, 1935


Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 2) CORRESPONDENCE: Arranged alphabetically by author. Notable correspondents include Linus Pauling, Adlai Stevenson, and writers James Hilton, Rupert Hughes, Walt Mason, Irving Stone, and Paul I. Wellman. Letters from Harry Chandler, Los Angeles Times publisher, are included in the correspondence of the Times-Mirror Co. Correspondence from Harriet Hinsdale and Irving Stone concerns a proposed Jack London state park in California.

Box 1 Folder 3-4
A - B - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 5
Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1925 - 1926
Box 1 Folder 6
C - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 7
Century Co., 1925
Box 1 Folder 8
E - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 9-10
G - H - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 11
Hilton, James, 1950 - 1954
Box 1 Folder 12
Hughes, Rupert, 1935 - 1950
Box 1 Folder 13-17
I - M - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 18
Mason, Walt, ca. 1923 - 1925
Box 1 Folder 19-20
O - P - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 21
Poetry Review, 1924 - 1925
Box 1 Folder 22
Poetry Society, 1923 - 1924
Box 1 Folder 23-25
Q - S - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 26
Stone, Irving, 1956 - 1961
Box 1 Folder 27
T - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 28
Times-Mirror Company, 1922 - 1935

Includes correspondence from publisher Harry Chandler, Los Angeles Times.

Box 1 Folder 29
U - Miscellaneous
Box 1 Folder 30
W - Miscellaneous

Includes correspondence of Paul I. Wellman.

Box 1 Folder 31
Williams, Dan, 1923 - 1925


Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 3) WRITINGS: Arranged in three subseries: A) Lyrics, B) Poetry and C) Prose.

A) The Lyrics subseries contains two works: "Candle Light" and "Doughboy."

B) The Poetry subseries contains single poems arranged alphabetically by title or first line.

C) The Prose subseries contains drafts of stories and books by Shippey, arranged alphabetically by title. Also included are reviews, galley proofs and page proofs of some works.


Box 1 Folder 32
Candle Light - From Shippey's poem, "Mother," with music by Charles Wakefield Cadman

See also the Poetry subseries

Box 1 Folder 33
Doughboy, music by Norman Soreng Wright, 1944


Box 1 Folder 34
Miscellaneous - Includes Shippey's poems "Evensong," written on the back of a photograph, and "Mother"
Box 1 Folder 35
"Heroes" and "To Other Sinners"


Box 1 Folder 36
America's Most Arrested Man, in Everybody's Magazine, July 1925
Box 1 Folder 37
Chapapote: A Story of Love, Hate, Intrigue and a Little-Known Plot to Change the Map of North America
Box 2 Folder 1-2
Family Grows Up
Box 2 Folder 3
Family Grows Up: A Sequel to The Great American Family
Box 2 Folder 4
Girl Who Wanted Experience - Newspaper announcements and reviews, 1937
Box 2 Folder 5
Great American Family - Book review, 1950

Great American Family: A Comedy (adaptation)

Box 2 Folder 6
A play adapted by Robert Frayne Chapin and Charley King from Shippey's book, The Great American Family
Box 2 Folder 7
Program for the play adapted by Aurania Rouverol from Shippey's book,The Great American Family. The play was held in Hollywood, CA, April 2-3, 1959
Box 2 Folder 8
Great Idea, Slightly Used
Box 2 Folder 9
Guests From Back Home
Box 2 Folder 10-12
Happy Though Retired
Box 2 Folder 13-15
If We Only Had Money
Box 3 Folder 1
It's an Old California Custom - Publishing agreement with Vanguard Press Inc. and book review, 1947
Box 3 Folder 2
It's Great To Be An Actor
Box 3 Folder 3-4
Box 3 Folder 5
Ladies Make News
Box 3 Folder 6-10
Luckiest Man Alive, 1959
Box 3 Folder 11
Miscellaneous prose (untitled) - Typescripts arranged alphabetically by first line
Box 3 Folder 12
Needles-Eye View of the City - Galley proofs, June 1950
Box 4 Folder 1
Scholarship, 1948
Box 4 Folder 2
Seymour Sample Case: the Humorous Record of What Happened to One American Family, Much Like Yours...
Box 4 Folder 3
Testing Ground: A Story of the Most American City in the World Outside the United States - Proposal for a novel about Tampico, Mexico in 1922. Includes correspondence from H. H. Howland (The Bobbs Merrill Co.), dated April 1, 1925
Box 4 Folder 4
Think Game: I Challenge YOU
Box 4 Folder 5
Think Game: How to Learn to Think for Yourself: I Challenge YOU
Box 4 Folder 6
Understanding Friends


Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 4) SCRAPBOOKS: Arranged chronologically and primarily contain clippings of Shippey's published columns, articles and poetry. One scrapbook documents Shippey's travels in Mexico in the mid-1920s. Articles about Shippey, some correspondence and typescripts of columns are scattered throughout the scrapbooks.

Box 4 Folder 7 Oversize FB-207-02
Ca. 1915-1930 - Contains clippings of Shippey's columns, "The Cheeruptimist," "Rhymes and Reasons," "Lee Side o' L.A.," and articles by Shippey and others
Box 4 Folder 8
Ca. 1923-1924 - Includes articles, poetry, and the newspaper columns, "People You Know" and "How It Looks to Mars." Includes correspondence from Walt Mason, dated December 14, 1923, enclosing a memento check
Box 4 Folder 9
Ca. 1925-1933 - Odds and Ends and Poetry. Newspaper clippings of poetry, Shippey's columns "Lee Side o' L.A." and "Joshua Little," and quotations by Tennyson Mabie
Box 4 Folder 10
1926 - Mexico. Shippey's articles with picture postcards
Box 4 Folder 11
1927 - Newspaper clippings including Shippey's poetry, articles, "Lee Side o' L.A." and "Joshua Little"
Box 5 Folder 1
Ca. 1937-1939 - "Leeside" and "Leeside o' L.A." newspaper clippings with notes. Includes typescripts of "Essential Education" and "Leeside"
Box 5 Folder 2
Ca. 1939-1945 - "Leeside" and "Leeside o' L.A." newspaper clippings with notes
Box 5 Folder 3
Ca. 1951 - "The Seymour Family" newspaper clippings with typed notes
Box 5 Folder 4
Ca. 1953-1956 - Scrapbook "A." Newspaper clippings of "The Seymour Family" with typed and holograph notes
Box 5 Folder 5
Ca. late 1950s - Scrapbook "B." "The Seymour Family," "Leeside," and "Leeside o' L.A." newspaper clippings with some holograph notes. Also includes a galley proof of "Joshua Little," loose prose, poetry and memorabilia
Box 5 Folder 6
Luckiest Man Alive - Correspondence, publication announcements and reviews. Also includes "Surfside o' Del Mar" clippings, 1959 - 1960
Box 5 Folder 7 Oversize FB-207-03
Ca. 1960-1964 - "Southwest Corner," "Lee Shippey Asks," "Lee Shippey Says," and "Surfside o' Del Mar" columns from the San Diego Union
Box 5 Folder 8
Us Folk - "Leeside o' L.A.: Personal Glimpses of Famous Southlanders" columns, with typed name index


Scope and Content of Series

SERIES 5) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS: Documents Shippey's columns and contains "Lee Side o' L.A." galley proofs and "Needle's Eye Views of the World" clippings, as well as undated loose clippings of Shippey's articles and columns arranged by column. The series also contains one folder of blurbs and articles written about Lee Shippey.

Box 6 Folder 1
Articles & blurbs about Lee Shippey

Lee Side o' L.A

Oversize MC-022-06/09
Galley proofs
Box 6 Folder 2-3
Box 6 Folder 4
Needle's Eye Views of the World
Box 6 Folder 5-6
The Seymour Family
Box 6 Folder 7
Miscellaneous articles