Harry Alverson Franck Papers, 1899-1986 (majority within 1910-1945)
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Franck, Harry Alverson and Franck, Rachel Latta
- The Henry Alverson Franck papers document the life and writings of Franck, a prolific travel writer and "self-proclaimed vagabond," and his wife Rachel Latta Franck. Both Henry and Rachel Franck wrote extensively about their travels around the world, and both published several books cataloging their journeys. The collection spans 1899-1986 contains correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, lectures, journals, diaries, photographs, negatives, slides, postcards, scrapbooks, and other ephemera related to their travels and writing projects. There are also two folders of material from the Franck's daughter Katherine Franck Huettner.
- 29.5 Linear Feet (25 record center boxes, 3 medium flat boxes, 2 small flat boxes, 2 leather cases, and 1 wooden slide box)
- Processed by and finding aid prepared by Sarah Rentz and Kathleen Dow (lead archivist). Encoded by Jackson Huang using ArchivesSpace and Excel EAD template, 2017.
- Scope and Content:
The collection is divided into 16 series: Correspondence; Manuscripts and Drafts; Lectures, Talks, and Tours; Harry Alverson Franck; Rachel Latta Franck; Katherine Franck Huettner; Journals, Diaries, and Datebooks; Photographs; Negatives; Slides; Photograph Albums; Family Photograph Albums; Postcards; Ephemera; Clippings; and Scrapbooks. Researchers should note that the Franck's published books are cataloged separately.
The Correspondence series consists of 2 linear feet of material sorted by year and date, as well as other subseries by sender. Most of the correspondence is comprised of outgoing letters written by Rachel to members of her family, including Rachel's parents, her brother William Latta Jr., her sisters Katherine and Mary, and her former governess Aunt Gerty. Rachel's oldest sister, Margaret, kept all letters that she received and those are therefore not part of the collection. Rachel burned all of the letters she and Harry had written to each other during World War I. Other correspondents include Alfred Brown (Century Co.), Schuyler Jones, Edward Risley, José Nasr, Nehmé Simon, Elias Awad, and others. Occasionally, incoming correspondence can be found on the reverse of outgoing letters, which the Francks most likely did to conserve paper. There are some unidentified envelops, which do not have corresponding letters.
There are also letter concerning lectures and invitations/honorary memberships to travel organizations for Franck. Some photographs are included in the correspondence although not all have a letter to go along with them. 1931-some letters are from Romania and in the respective language. There are also photocopies of letters from the Franck children to their grandfather.
Certain correspondence was separated by the Francks. These letters have been filed into separate folders by correspondent. Frank Daughtry was interested in writing about HAF. The Harts were family friends from Guyana. Stan Hutton was also interested in writing about HAF. Hayes Perkins was a wild animal keeper from Hearst's San Simeon. Jack Townsend was a World War I ambulance driver and later became an Anglican Bishop. Guy de Villepion was a champion swimmer. His correspondence includes a book inscribed to HAF, some letters and postcards, and photographs. Finally, Yale in China was an organization making a film series on China and asked RLF for permission to use some of HAF's slides. Nancy Roth Remington exchanged most of the letters with RLF in 1975-1977. The project was not completed to the Franck family's knowledge.
Manuscripts and Drafts: There are manuscript materials from both HAF and RLF. The HAF materials include articles, books, notes and ideas, lectures, letters, and a category titled "Other" that includes his thesis, which was published by the Chicago Tribune in 1903. Some of the materials have been published, but most have not. The RLF materials include books, articles, plays, short stories, and fragments.
Articles: The collection includes both published and unpublished articles.
Books: There are multiple drafts for some books. Correspondence for the books can be double-sided with multiple dates and has been placed with the book instead of with the correspondence series. The book "Down with Africa" has two versions, one by HAF and one that was being worked on with RLF—neither were finished.
Notes and Ideas: This section includes bits and pieces, unfinished works, and some materials.
Other: "Wandering unskilled laborers..." was his thesis, which was published afterward by Chicago Tribune for $15.00.
Lectures, Talks, and Tours: The lectures are mostly from cruises done after the second World War. This series includes some drafts of the lectures, slide lists, and programs for the cruises.
Harry Alverson Franck: This series contains copyright information, financial papers, and military papers of HAF. Of interest is HAF's military ID card in passes folder which has the wrong date of birth.
Rachel Latta Franck: This series holds her manuscripts and drafts as well as some financial information. Her autobiography had a packet of materials, mostly letters, which she had complied. Some of these are duplicated in photocopies folders of the correspondence section. The order of the correspondence has been kept intact. Other memorabilia has been placed at the end of the series. There are some journal pages interspersed.
Katherine Franck Huettner: This series contains a manuscript written by KFH. Included in the folder of Notes on the Family is one page titled "Pat's Diary --- New Hope to Amarillo, 1943" There are also copies of letters concerning the Somerset Maugham case with an explanation.
Journals, Diaries, and Datebooks – These are sorted chronologically. The South American are separated and numbered according to HAF's schema. Unfortunately, #65 is stuck to #32, 33, and 34—which are also stuck together.
Photographs: Many of the loose photographs are album duplicates. Those that were specifically labeled as such remained separated. Folders were created based on labels handwritten onto small packages of photographs. The photographs are sorted by geographical location, books and articles, World War I, family and friends, and other photographers.
Slides: 1001 Glass slides, 5 aluminum boxes of 35mm slides. All glass slides were organized and labeled by the Francks, an order which we have kept intact. Also included with this slides is a slide projector. The box for projector also holds two smaller boxes of slides which are assumed to be from the Alaska trip.
Negatives: 13,399 (composed of sheet negatives, roll films, and glass negatives) Some of these are nitrate negatives, and are stored in a climate-controlled unit at Buhr in the Conservation Department. Of the total number of slides, 1,538 are in poor condition. Most of these were taken in China or South America.
Postcards: There are over 200 postcards sorted geographically and topically. Only blank postcards are included in postcard series, those with writing/postmarks are placed chronologically within correspondence.
Ephemera: The ephemera is sorted chronologically and includes announcements and invitations, awards, menus and other ship ephemera, passes and tickets, receipts, and other. The Other category includes a variety of different materials ranging from cards to paper pennants, most of which are souvenir materials from the different countries.
Clippings: The clippings are sorted chronologically and include one review in rhyme by HAF, some articles written by HAF, and some articles in foreign language. Most are about books, lectures, HAF, RLF, and the family. One scrapbook of clippings was donated disbound which has been kept together instead of interfiling.
Scrapbooks: The scrapbooks contain various pieces of ephemera such as clippings, transportation tickets, posters, notices, etc.
Photographs and negatives in boxes 9-11 and 24-28 and glass slides in boxes 12-22. Box 23 contains a slide projector. Printed material in boxes 2 and 29 (published books have been cataloged separately).
- Biographical / Historical:
Harry Alverson Franck (HAF) was born June 29, 1881 in Munger, Michigan. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in 1903 and taught modern language until 1911 in various schools in Detroit, MI, Bellafonte, PA, New York City, NY, and Springfield, MA. Between semesters at the University of Michigan, Franck did some traveling, and his first travel story was sold during his senior year. In 1904 he started a 15 month trip with only his camera. This trip resulted in his first travel narrative A Vagabond Journey Around the World. In 1911 he began his full time travels throughout the world and became a "self-proclaimed vagabond." He kept a record of his travels through photographs and journals, which became 33 different travel narratives. Zone Policeman 88 was on the non-fiction bestseller list in 1913. Franck was a noted lecturer throughout his life and hosted many travel cruises after World War II.
On June 29, 1919 he married Rachel Latta, and she traveled with him on multiple trips. She penned one novel I Married a Vagabond, as well as several other manuscripts that were not published. Franck served in both World Wars, although he was technically too old to enlist during World War II. He passed away in April, 1962, from complications due to Parkinsonism. Rachel Latta Franck passed away April 12, 1982.
- Acquisition Information:
- The Harry Alverson Franck Collection was acquired through donations by Harry A. Franck in 1939-1940 and by his children: Katherine Franck Huettner, Harry (Hal) A. Franck, Jr., Patricia (Pat) Sheffield, William (Will) Franck, and Peter Franck in 1988.
- Processing information:
Processed by and finding aid prepared by Sarah Rentz and Kathleen Dow (lead archivist).
- Rules or Conventions:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Harry Alverson Franck Papers, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center).