The collection consists of family photographs, correspondence, drafts of her children's stories, correspondence, and accounts.
The collection documents the life, research, and writing career of Frances Margaret “Madge” Fox. The collection only lacks copies of her outgoing correspondence to friends and business colleagues.
Physically, the collection is in very good condition. Items that were very fragile or acidic have been photocopied and the originals removed from the collection. Except for Box 53 which has legal-size materials in it, the collection consists of letter-sized or smaller materials.
The collection is divided into the following series: Biographical Materials, 1886-2008 (Scattered) and undated, 1 box (.5 cubic feet). This includes originals and photocopies of census records, newspaper articles and magazine clippings, library cards, and printouts of e-photographs, documenting Madge’s life, literary career, death, education, research, and homes. Art by Walt Harris, the illustrator of Little Bear is also found here.
Photographs, 1877-1953 (Scattered), and undated, 3 boxes (1.5 cubic feet), consists of one folder of negatives, the rest all being various pre-1960 forms of photographs including a stereographic view, tintypes, cartes-de-visites, and snapshots, all black and white, in various shapes and sizes. Many of the images are unidentified and undated. Identified photographs are filed alphabetically by the name of the person, and by topics and date when possible. There are photographs of Marge, her family and friends, animals, birds, and various research topics.
Business Correspondence, 1899-1953, 1955, and 1958, and undated, 6 boxes (3 cubic feet). Most of the Business Correspondence consists of communications from editors, thank you notes, rejection letters, commentary and suggestions, as well as royalty checks. This is filed chronologically. Of particular note in this series are decorative notes with art from Walt Harris, who sketched a bear and porridge on his note of October 2, 1923. He was the artist of Little Bear. Additional art by Harris is in the Biographical Materials box.
The vast majority of Personal Correspondence is letters and postcards from her friends and relatives to her. Correspondence with her closest relatives and friends, 1912-1952, and undated, composes 3 boxes (1.5 cubic feet). It is filed alphabetically by surname. These are the people with whom she corresponded often and regularly. Here are letters from her Aunt Annie, distant relatives of her father’s, and many friends from Washington, D.C. and Mackinaw, as well as the Joslyns. There are a number of letters from associates in the publishing business, notably Madge’s friend Mrs. Jessica Mannon of Bobbs-Merril Company’s Editorial Board. These letters discuss health issues, their shared history, family news, her publications, travel plans, and research ideas, as well as the last and next time Madge and the letter writer met or will meet, and friends and relatives common to both. There is also one folder of correspondence from Madge Fox to various people, 1883-1952, and one folder about damage and repairs to her home, 1926.
More generic letters from a wider span of friends, fans, and children with whom Madge corresponded more rarely, or perhaps once or twice, compose the remaining personal correspondence. Some of these letters are as simple as Dear Miss Fox, I love your books. When possible, correspondence is filed alphabetically by surname, 1920-1950s. There are also folders for people who signed only with their first names or initials that could not be matched to or with any of the other correspondence. This section of the correspondence totals 2 boxes (1 cubic foot).
Research Notes, 1901-1943 and undated, 1 box (.5 cubic feet). This includes a bibliography, reference and photographic material organized alphabetically by topics.
Stories, include the actual story, drafts, they may by typed, handwritten, or published, and may include related materials such as notes, drawings, photographs, letters of rejection from an editor, an index to a book, or a cover page. The stories, which cover a plethora of topics in each subseries, are arranged alphabetically by title. Sometimes the title varies on different items in the folder. If so, square brackets are used on the folder heading. In one case, there is no title, so I created a title based on the topic and put it in square brackets. Many of the stories are based on factual documentation. The stories, particularly the drafts, show the development of her stories and are the core of the collection.
The Stories are subdivided into the following subseries: Handwritten Stories, 1921-1943, and undated, 5 boxes (2.5 cubic feet); Published Stories, 1899-1952, and undated, 2 boxes (1 cubic foot), includes advertisements, lists of her published stories, and the stories themselves. Typed Stories, which are subdivided into the following subjects:
Activities, Greeting Card Suggestions, Plays, and Poems, also includes models for paper dolls and other easily made toys and games for small children, 1934, 1944 (Scattered), and undated, 1 box (.5 cubic feet). Madge wrote ideas for babies and small children’s games, activities, paper dolls, as well as various plays for children to act in, poems for children, and a few ideas for greeting cards.
Animal Stories, includes animals, insects, and Uncle Sam’s Birds book, 1917-1948, and undated, 6 boxes (3 cubic feet), includes a list of all the stories, and then the stories. There are many stories regarding a wide array of animals, notably bears, birds, U.S. Army mules, cats, and dogs, including Owney, the well traveled U.S. mail dog, and Balto who delivered diphtheria serum to Nome, Alaska, during an epidemic of the disease, among others.
Buildings, Countries, Events, and Places Stories, 1912-1947, and undated, 3 boxes (1.5 cubic feet). The United States, England, Bermuda, and other countries are documented here.
Famous People Stories, 1923-1952, and undated, 3 boxes (1.5 cubic feet) includes stories of royalty, politicians, inventors, explorers, soldiers, American heroes, but not Indians nor saints.
Indian Tales, Famous Indians, and Captivity Stories, 1928-1950, and undated, 2 boxes (1 cubic foot) documents famous leaders, incidents, tales, and captivity stories.
Michigan Stories, 1914-1945, and undated, 1 box (.5 cubic foot), includes stories of important and common Michigan people and events, based mainly in and around Mackinaw City. Here are a number of stories and experiences of some of Madge’s Michigan friends.
Miscellaneous Stories, 1910-1952, and undated, 6 boxes (3 cubic feet) covers a plethora of topics, including American and foreign, current and historic trees, plants, statues, art, inventions such as sewing machines and fly paper, and common everyday items such as bells and beads.
Religious, Holidays, Saints, Christmas Stories, 1917-1946, and undated, 2 boxes (1 cubic foot) includes information on a variety of Catholic saints, many Quakers, history of many holidays and holy days, and many religious themes, as well as Christmas stories.
Volumes, 4 boxes (2 cubic feet) include: Accounts, 1901-1947 (27 v.); Address books, 1919, 1931, 1940 (3 v.), Diaries, 1917-1952 (14 v.), Quotations, 1898, 1943 (1 v.), and Story Notes, 1915-1949, and undated (34 v.). Her Accounts note which stories Madge sent to publishers, which were published, and what she was paid for them. Her Diaries consist of brief, sometimes intermittent notes, mainly about health, travel and social plans and events, and her research and writing work. They vary in detail and completeness. All the volumes vary in size and shape.
Legal-size Materials, 1 box (.5 cubic feet) consists of her Publishing Contracts, 1902-1951, some partial Research Notes on Paw Paw (Mich.), undated; and a Scrapbook, 1897, 1945, made in a Beckman and Mechelson, Inc., Bay City (Mich.) Stock Certificate Book.
Index Cards to Madge’s personal and business correspondence, 4 boxes, 1899-1944, complete the collection. Noted on the index cards is the name of the writer, recipient, date, address, and number of pages. The cards are arranged chronologically. [Note: the cards existed prior to Marian processing the collection. It is unknown if Madge or earlier Clarke staff created the index cards.]