Library in the Miller Center

Hours today: 7:30 am - 12:00 am

View Hours

Guide to the Hubert Irey Gibson Collection of Sinclair Lewis

University Archives and Special Collections

St. Cloud State University

St. Cloud, Minnesota

Quantity: .84 linear feet

Restrictions: No usage restrictions

PDF version of the Gibson finding aid (53 kb)

 

 

Biography

Hubert Irey Gibson

(1906 – 1996)

Hubert I. Gibson

Hubert Irey Gibson was born in Mason, Illinois, on December 21, 1906, the eldest of seven children.

As a child, Hubert enjoyed writing, dreaming one day to become an author. Not sure that he could make a living solely as an author, he eventually decided to be a lawyer who was a writer. In 1928, Hubert moved to Chicago to attend law school. While in school, he found employment as a law clerk. Unfortunately, as the Great Depression descended upon the country, Hubert found himself with a growing family and no job.

While Hubert’s wife, the former Frances Lauk, found steady work as a stenographer and typist, Hubert was unable to land employment. Frances suggested that Hubert gain skills that were in demand, such as typing and shorthand. He listened – Hubert attended night classes at a business college and soon acquired those skills.

Those newly learned secretarial skills lead Hubert to his job with Sinclair and Lloyd Lewis in the fall of 1933. Chicago Daily News drama critic Lloyd Lewis, who was reported at the time to be writing a play with a famous author, gave Hubert a job as secretary. Hubert then lived temporarily with Sinclair Lewis at the Sherry Hotel in Chicago, preparing draft after draft of The Jayhawker (which was then called “The Skedaddler” or “The Glory Hole”). While transcribing the manuscripts for Sinclair and Lloyd Lewis, Hubert was often called upon to act out many sequences in the play.

After his employment with Sinclair and Lloyd Lewis ended, Hubert was hired by Firestone Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio, as personal secretary to Harvey Firestone, Sr., and his son Harvey Firestone, Jr. He also served with the Firestone chairman John W. Thomas and executive vice-president J. E. Trainer. Hubert eventually became manger of Plant 1 in Akron. In 1954, Hubert became general manager of Firestone’s Guided Missile Division in South Gate, California.

In 1966, Hubert retired to Arkansas. He passed away in April 1996.

Hubert and Frances married in 1929 and had three children: Doris, Barbara, and David.

At right : Hubert Irey Gibson in 1954.


Harry Sinclair Lewis

(1885-1951)

Harry Sinclair Lewis was a prolific American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Main Street, published in 1920, is Lewis’ best known work.

Born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota in 1885, to Edwin and Emma Lewis, Lewis had two older brothers, Fred and Claude.

At Yale University where Lewis received a degree from in 1908, Lewis published in the Yale Literary Magazine, the Courant, and the Record. This began a long career of writing novels and plays.

Lewis’ bibliography includes:

Hike and the Aeroplane (1912)

Mantrap (1926)

The Prodigal Parents (1938)

Our Mr Wrenn (1914)

Elmer Gantry (1927)

Bethel Merriday (1940)

The Trail of the Hawk (1915)

The Man Who Knew Coolidge (1928)

Gideon Planish (1943)

The Job (1917)

Dodsworth (1929)

Cass Timberlane (1945)

The Innocents (1917)

Launcelot (1932)

Kingsblood Royal (1947)

Free Air (1919)

Ann Vickers (1933)

The God-Seeker (1949)

Main Street (1920)

Work of Art (1934)

World So Wide (1951)

Babbitt (1922)

The Jayhawker (1935)

 

Arrowsmith (1925)

It Can’t Happen Here (1935)

 

In 1933, Lewis collaborated with Lloyd Lewis to write a play revolving around the Civil War called The Jayhawker. Lloyd Lewis was a noted Civil War historian, writing biographies of General William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant. In the fall of 1934, the play, which in early drafts collected by Hubert Gibson was called “The Skedaddler” and “The Glory Hole,” was performed in Philadelphia, Washington, and New York.

Lewis died in Italy in 1951.

There are many secondary sources for information about Lewis’ life, including Richard Lingeman 2002 book, Sinclair Lewis: Rebel from Main Street.

Scope and Content Note

The Hubert Irey Collection of Sinclair Lewis consists of many drafts of the Sinclair Lewis and Lloyd Lewis collaboration The Jayhawker, as well as correspondence and news clippings, almost all dated in 1933. Most notable are the drafts of The Jayhawker, showing the evolution of the play from an idea to a finished script.

There is a small but significant collection of material from Hubert Gibson himself, including letters, photographs, and news clippings, dating from the 1930s to the 1990s. Highlights of the material include Gibson’s remarks about his time working on The Jayhawker, as well as his letter of recommendation from Sinclair Lewis.

Series Descriptions

Series 1: The Jayhawker

Subseries 1: Drafts

Arranged in chronological order, the drafts tell the story about how The Jayhawker evolved from an idea to a play. Most of the material is typewritten with varying degrees of handwritten revisions in pencil or ink. These revisions were in English and in shorthand, either written by Sinclair or Lloyd Lewis, as well as Hubert Gibson.

Especially significant is the final draft of The Jayhawker, then titled “The Glory Hole,” hand inscribed to Hubert:

“For Gib, Who not only typed this, but acted all the parts during his obstetrical ministrations to us in our confinement. Lloyd Lewis Sept. 29, 1933 Sinclair Lewis”

Series 1: The Jayhawker

Subseries 2: Miscellaneous

Included here are correspondence, news clippings, and artifacts. Most significant are the letters between Sinclair and Lloyd Lewis, April 1933 to September 1933. Written mostly to Sinclair, Lloyd Lewis discussed the details of the plot of the play, which he was calling “The Skedaddler.” Other details include possible producers of the play, as well as arrangements for a room at Chicago’s Sherry Hotel.

Also included in this subseries is an empty box of paper, paper which was used to write the drafts of The Jayhawker.


Series 2: Hubert Irey Gibson

Correspondence, photographs, and news clippings are included here. Most significant are the letters between Gibson and his daughter, Barbara. These letters, as well as a 1960 news clipping, provides insight into Gibson’s experience as Lewis’ temporary secretary.

Also included in this subseries is a color photocopy of a 1935 letter of recommendation written by Sinclair Lewis for Hubert Gibson.

Acquisition

The manuscripts were donated by the children of Hubert and Frances Gibson (Doris, Barbara, and David) to the St. Cloud State University Archives in October 2007.

Processing

The manuscripts were processed by Tom Steman in December 2007.

Boxlist

Location: 21D.1a-b

Series 1. The Jayhawker

Subseries 1: Drafts

Box Folder Folder Title
1 1 Assorted Scenes. 7 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 2 Act II, Scene 1. 13 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 3 “The Glory Hole,” Act I, Scenes 1, 2, and 3, Act II, Scene 1. 25 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 4 Act III, Scene 2; Act III, Scene 1 and 2. 18 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 5 “The Skedaddler,” Act I, Scenes 1 and 2, Act II, Scenes 1, 2, and 3. 72 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 6 Act II, Scene 2. 9 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 7 Act II, Scene 3. 32 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 8 Act II, Scene 1. 12 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 9 Proposed Act III. Scene 2. 3 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 10 Act III, Scene 1. 13 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 11 Act II, Scene 2. 9 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 12 Act I, Scene 1 and 2. 20 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 13 “The Skedaddler,” Act I, Scene 1, 2, and 3. 30 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 14 Miscellaneous Notes. 12 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 15 Act II, Scene 2. 8 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 16 Act II, Scene 2. 26 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 17 Act II, Scene 2. 22 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 18 “The Skedaddler.” 7 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 19 Act I, Scene 1 and 2. 109 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions
1 20

“The Glory Hole,” Completed Manuscript, September 29, 1933. 86 pages. Typescript with handwritten revisions. See Title page.

Series 1: The Jayhawker

Subseries 2: Miscellaneous

1 21 Correspondence, April 1933-September 1933
1 21
  • Lloyd Lewis to Sinclair Lewis, April 30, 1933. TLS
1 21
  • Lloyd Lewis to Sinclair Lewis, May 12, 1933. TLS
1 21
  • Lloyd Lewis to Sinclair Lewis, June 12, 1933. ALS
1 21
  • Sinclair Lewis to Lloyd Lewis, June 20, 1933. TL
1 21
  • Lloyd Lewis to Sinclair Lewis, August 17, 1933. TLS
1 21
  • Lloyd Lewis to Sinclair Lewis, September 8, 1933. TLS
2 1 Manufacturer’ s Box of Paper used for “The Jayhawker” drafts, ca. 1933
2 2 News clippings, September 1933
2 3 “Work of Art.” Poster, 1933?

Series 2: Hubert Gibson

 
2 4 Correspondence. Hubert Gibson to Barbara Gibson, 1955-1993
2 5 “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” Song, undated
2 6 Photographs and Newsclippings, 1930-1960
2 7 Recommendation Letter from Sinclair Lewis for Hubert Gibson, 1935 (photocopy)

 

Return to Collection Home

Untitled Document