University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Delaware Victory Bond Manuscript Collection

1944 - 1945

Manuscript Collection Number: 276
Accessioned: Gift, 1945.
Extent: .66 linear ft.
Content: Manuscripts, letters, photograph, and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: June 1993 by Rhonda R. Newton and revised by Anita A. Wellner, September 1996.

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Table of Contents

Scope and Contents Note

The collection consists of four original manuscripts, a photograph, several letters, and sale-related ephemera auctioned by the Delaware War Finance Committee as part of a victory bond drive at the Books and Authors Rally at the Playhouse in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 10, 1945. The four manuscripts in this collection include B.O.W.S. by Margalo Gillmore and Patricia Collinge, Return of the Future by Sigrid Undset, Our Flag Was Still There by Carl Carmer, and Battle Hymn of China by Agnes Smedley. People who purchased bonds during the drive exchanged their receipts for tickets to the rally. Those purchasing $1,000 bonds had reserved seating. During the rally, an auctioneer from the Philadelphia Art Galleries auctioned off a variety of manuscripts, letters, and first editions. Buyers bid in victory bonds, rather than in cash. Five authors were present at the rally, including Gillmore and Collinge.

The Continental American Life Insurance Company purchased the B.O.W.S. manuscript for $1,225,000 in bonds, the highest bid at the rally. Written by Margalo Gillmore (1897-1986) and Patricia Collinge, it tells the story of a USO production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street in which Gillmore participated during 1944-1945. A well-known stage and screen actress, Gillmore appeared in several stage productions of The Barretts of Wimpole Street, a play about Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning, in the 1930s and 1940s. B.O.W.S. was published in 1945.

The Universal Credit Company successfully bid $500,000 in victory bonds for the original manuscript, in Norwegian, of Sigrid Undset's Return of the Future. The manuscript includes a typed autograph letter from Undset to the Book and Author War Bond Committee. Undset (1882-1949), a Norwegian novelist, is best known for her Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy published between 1920 and 1922. She received the Nobel prize for Literature in 1928, primarily for the trilogy. Return of the Future tells of the author's experiences in the spring of 1940 when the Germans invaded Norway. It was published in 1942.

Carl Carmer's Our Flag Was Still There may have been sold at a different bond rally. The Artisans Savings Bank bid $400,000 for the play manuscript. Carmer (1893-1976) was an American writer and folklorist. He taught English at several colleges and universities from 1915 to 1927. After five years as an editor, he pursued his writing career, publishing a number of novels, anthologies, and children's books. In this short play, Carmer wrote of the September 14, 1814 bombardment of Fort McHenry and the writing of "The Star Spangled Banner."

Agnes Smedley's Battle Hymn of China, covers the years of the author's experiences from 1928 to 1941 as a journalist in China, writing first for the Frankfurter Zeitung and later the Manchester Guardian. Following the Japanese invasion of China, Smedley reported from the war zone as a medical aid for Mao Tse-tung's Eighth Route Army. She returned to the United States in 1941, only a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The manuscript was purchased by The Coca Cola Company with a winning bid of $500,000 at the Victory Loan Book & Authors Rally at The Playhouse in Wilmington, Delaware, on December 10, 1945. In addition to this manuscript the collection includes a photograph of Smedley, and two letters from Smedley. The May 24, 1944 letter includes a summary of her experiences in China.


Evory, Ann (ed.) Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 4. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1981. pp. 110-111.

"Five Authors Coming to City for Bond Rally." Journal Every Evening. Wilmington, DE. 1 December 1945.

"Goering's Baton to Feature Exhibition on Victory Train." Journal Every Evening. Wilmington, DE. 11 December 1945.

Locher, Frances C. (ed.) Contemporary Authors. First Revision, Volume 104. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1982. pp. 485-486.

May, Hal (ed.) Contemporary Authors. First Revision, Volume 119. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1987. p. 119

McGill, Raymond D. (ed.) Notable Names in the American Theatre. Clifton, NJ: James T. White & Co., 1976. pp. 768-769.

Paneth, Donald. The Encyclopedia of American Journalism. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1983. p. 457.

Contents List

Folder -- Contents


F1   Certificate and Ribbons
F2   Manuscript, Chapters 1-6
F3   Manuscript, Chapters 7-12
F4   Manuscript, Chapters 13-17

     Return to the Future

F5   Certificate and letter signed by Undset
F6   Manuscript, Parts I and II
F7   Manuscript, Parts III and IV

     Our Flag Was Still There

F8   Certificate and Ribbon
F9   Manuscript

     Battle Hymn of China

F10  Letters, placard, photograph, and summary
F11  Manuscript, Books 1-3
F12  Manuscript, Books 4-5
F13  Manuscript, Books 6-7
F14  Manuscript, Books 8-9
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