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Jan de Hartog Papers


Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory


Materials Related to The Hospital



Personal Correspondence


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Jan de Hartog Papers, 1943-2005 | University of Houston Libraries

By Amelia Abreu and Lisa Tafoya

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Collection Overview

Title: Jan de Hartog Papers, 1943-2005

ID: 03/1967-002

Primary Creator: De Hartog, Jan, 1914-2002

Extent: 9.0 Linear Feet

Subjects: Authors - 20th century, Ben Taub General Hospital, De Hartog, Jan, 1914-2002, De Hartog, Marjorie, Hospitals - Texas - Houston, Jefferson Davis Hospital (Houston, Tex.), University of Houston - Faculty, University of Houston. School of Theatre and Dance

Forms of Material: Audiotapes, Clippings (information artifacts), Correspondence, Galley proofs, Manuscripts (document genre), Page proofs, Photographs, Typescripts

Languages: English, Dutch;Flemish, French

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Jan de Hartog Papers, 1943-2005, consist of manuscript material, correspondence, scrapbooks, photos and other material documenting the life and career of Jan de Hartog (1914-2002). The papers are divided into six series: (1) Works, (2) The Hospital Materials, (3) Career, (4) Personal, (5) Personal Correspondence, and (6) Photographs.

The Works series contains manuscript material, including notes, manuscript and typescript drafts, galley proofs, play scripts, television scripts and dictation tapes for  "The Captain," "The Hospital,"  "William and Mary,"  and various other works. "The Captain" sub-series includes notes, various typescript drafts of the work, the publisher's copy of the work, galley proofs, tape recordings, and page proofs. Many of these items are heavily edited by either the author or the copy editor.  "The Hospital"  sub-series contains notes, outlines, drafts, and galley proofs of the work. Additional documents relating to the response to The Hospital and to Jan and Marjorie de Hartog's  work at Jefferson Davis Hospital is included in The Hospital Materials series.

Materials series includes notes, clippings, speeches, correspondence, photos and scrapbooks related to the de Hartogs' hospital volunteer work at Jefferson Davis Hospital as well as the publication of and response to de Hartog's 1964 book, "The Hospital."  Outgoing correspondence is arranged by date; incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically. An index of correspondents is available; contact Special Collections for more information.

The career series contains clippings, correspondence and commemorative material related to de Hartog's writing, teaching, and theatrical productions.

The personal correspondence series contains correspondence between de Hartog and several friends and colleagues including:  Herman Wouk, Colin Wilson, Joel Gross, Connie Bessie, Simon Michael Bessie, and correspondence between Marjorie de Hartog, Herman Wouk, and Larry McMurtry.

The photographs series contains photographs of de Hartog at various stages of his life.  It includes photographs from the play "Four Posters," de Hartog as a professor at the University of Houston, Marjorie de Hartog, photographs from Jefferson Davis Hospital, and miscellaneous photographs.

The personal series has obituary information and clippings.

Books, personal effects, and sound and video recordings have been removed from the papers and cataloged separately. They are accessible through the UH Libraries online catalog in the subfield "Jan De Hartog Papers".

Biographical Note

Jan de Hartog was born in Haarlem, Netherlands on April 22, 1914. His father, Arnold Hendrik, was a theologian; his mother, Lucretia Meijjes de Hartog, a scholar of medieval mysticism. He attended Amsterdam Naval College, and worked as a sailor, war correspondent and naval inspector before achieving success as an author and playwright.

Although de Hartog published five detective novels under the pseudonym F. R. Eckmar in the 1930's, his first noteworthy work was the novel Holland's Glorie (1940). Published in Dutch 10 days before the outbreak of the Second World War, the work sold over one million copies and was regarded as an essential expression of Dutch identity in wartime. The book made him a public figure in the Netherlands, and he used this platform to speak out against German occupation. In early 1942, de Hartog was forced to go into hiding and eventually fled the Netherlands under threat of arrest. After a lengthy journey across Western Europe, he arrived in England in July, 1943.

De Hartog spent the next decade in England, writing novels and plays in English. In 1946, he married Angela Priestly, daughter of English writer J.B. Priestly. One of his first English language works was the play Skipper Next to God, about a captain carrying European Jews to the United States. It debuted in London in 1945 and was later performed on Broadway. The 1951 comedy The Four Poster brought de Hartog his broadest and most enduring success. After runs in London and American repertory theater, its Broadway run, starring Hume Cronin and Jessica Tandy, earned the 1952 Tony award for Best Play. De Hartog collaborated on a French adaptation with the writer Collette, and the work was later adapted as a musical, I Do I Do!, and a television play. His novels of this period included The Lost Sea (1951), The Little Ark (1951), and A Sailor's Life (1955).

His marriage to Marjorie Mein in 1961 led de Hartog to become a Quaker. The couple lived on a 146-ton houseboat for several years before marrying, and first came to Houston on boat travel. In 1962, Jan assumed a residency in playwriting at the University of Houston, during which time the couple volunteered at Jefferson Davis Hospital. As a volunteer, de Hartog was exposed to the horrible conditions facing patients and staff at Harris County's charity hospital. His work, The Hospital, exposes the conditions and treatment received by patients at Jefferson Davis Hospital (later renamed Ben Taub Hospital). His book received national acclaim, drawing attention to needed changes in the charity hospital system in Houston. In the wake of The Hospital's publication, the de Hartogs became a target of threats and unwanted harassment which ultimately led to the couple leaving Houston in 1964.

The de Hartogs remained active in progressive social causes, using the proceeds from The Hospital book to finance aide programs. Further involvement in peace and social justice efforts lead the couple to become advocates of charity to Korean and Vietnamese war orphans, and in the process they adopted two Korean children. He chronicled these events in the 1969 work, The Children.

De Hartog's long and varied career also included having several works adapted for the screen. His novel, Stella (1951), was adapted for the screen with Sophia Loren and William Holden, as was The Spiral Road (1957), which starred Rock Hudson. His other notable works included novels The Captain (1967), The Commodore (1986), a trilogy fictionalizing the history of the Society of Friends - The Peaceable Kingdom (1972), The Lamb's War (1980) and The Peculiar People (1992) -  The Centurion (1989), and The Outer Buoy (1994).

The de Hartogs returned to Houston in 1993. In 2002, Jan was presented with an Hononary Doctor of Humane Letters at the University of Houston. Jan de Hartog died September 22, 2002.

Subject/Index Terms

Authors - 20th century
Ben Taub General Hospital
De Hartog, Jan, 1914-2002
De Hartog, Marjorie
Hospitals - Texas - Houston
Jefferson Davis Hospital (Houston, Tex.)
University of Houston - Faculty
University of Houston. School of Theatre and Dance

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions: Researchers may not photocopy materials without written permission from the Jan de Hartog Estate. Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Acquisition Method: This collection was donated to the University of Houston Libraries by Jan and Marjorie DeHartog in 1967, with additional accessions in 1970, 1999, and 2005.

Preferred Citation: Jan de Hartog  Papers, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

Processing Information: Debbie Hernandez, 1993, Andrea Bean Hough, 1997, Amelia Abreu, 2006, Lisa Tafoya, 2010

Other Note: Uploaded to TARO, 2006.

Other URL: http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uhsc/00047/hsc-00047.html

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Works, 1943-1979],
[Series 2: Materials Related to The Hospital, 1962-1966 and undated],
[Series 3: Career, 1962-2005 and undated],
[Series 4: Personal, 2002 and undated],
[Series 5: Personal Correspondence, 1960-2006],
[Series 6: Photographs],

Series 1: Works, 1943-1979
Sub-Series 1: The Captain, 1940-1966 and undated
Sub-Sub-Series 1: Early Draft as 'The Professor', 1950
Box 1
Folder 1: "The Professor" Second Part, undated
typescript, 267 pages
Folder 2: 'The Professor' typescript (photocopy), undated
Folder 3: 'The Professor' notes 1 of 2, undated
First series of notes on 'The Professor.'
Folder 4: 'The Professor' notes 2 of 2, undated
Second series of notes on 'The Professor.'
Sub-Sub-Series 2: Early Draft as 'Tug of War', undated
Box 1
Folder 5: "Notes on the Arctic", undated
Folder 6: "Working Notes", undated
Folder 7: "Resume and Project Notes", undated
Folder 8: "Final Work Sheets", undated
Folder 9: 'Tug of War' preparative notes, undated
Folder 10: 'Tug of War' corrective notes, undated
Folder 11: 'Tug of War' Jan's corrected copy, 1965-1966
Chapters 1-9
Folder 12: 'Tug of War' Jan's corrected copy, 1965-1966
Chapters 10-14
Folder 13: 'Tug of War' Jan's corrected copy, 1965-1966
Chapters 15-Conclusion
Folder 14: 'Tug of War' final draft typescript, part 1, 1966
Carbon numbers 1&2 and drafts
Folder 15: 'Tug of War' typescript, part 2, carbon 1, 1966
Folder 16: 'Tug of War' typescript, part 2, carbon 2, 1966
Folder 17: 'Tug of War' typescript, part 2, carbon 3, 1966
1 of 2
Folder 18: 'Tug of War' typescript, part 2, carbon 3, 1966
2 of 2
Folder 19: 'Tug of War' Publishers copy, chapters 1-2, note to copy editor., 1966
Copy Chapters 1-2, note to copy editor
Folder 20: 'Tug of War' Publishers copy, chapters 3-4, 1966
Folder 21: 'Tug of War' Publishers copy, chapters 5-6, 1966
Folder 22: 'Tug of War' Publishers copy, chapters 7-8, 1966
Folder 23: 'Tug of War' Publishers copy, chapters 9-10 & postscript., 1966
Folder 24: 'The Captain' Screenplay, undated
photocopy with corrections
Folder 25: 'Tug of War' rejects for inclusion in second manuscript draft, 1966
Handwritten notes and corrections.
Folder 26: Typescript: Tape recording sample, 1968
Note on how de Hartog begins to take notes.
Box 6
Item 1: "Tug of War," read by the author, sides 1&4, audiotape, 1966
Box 7
Item 1: "Tug of War," read by the author, sides 2&3, audiotape, 1966
Sub-Sub-Series 3: The Captain
OVS_Box 1
Item 1: 'The Captain' Gally proofs, 1966
Sub-Series 2: The Hospital, 1962-1965, and undated
Box 2
Folder 1: "Jefferson Davis Emergency Room - a record", Typescript with annotations, 1962-1963
Folder 2: "Notes and Work Plan", 1963
Folder 3: "Worksheets", 1963
Folder 4: Manuscript E, Chapters 5-12, Carbon Copy, 1963
Note included: Carbon copy of 1st dictation w/o corrections or deletions (containing all parts, later omitted).
Folder 5: Manuscript E, Chapters 13-23, 1963
Folder 6: Manuscript E, Chapters 24-33, 1963
Folder 7: Manuscript D, Chapters 5-11, 1963
Handwritten corrections.
Folder 8: Manuscript D, Chapters 12-20, 1963
Handwritten corrections, and a newspaper clipping dated Apr. 25 in response to an article de Hartog posted in the Houston Chronicle.
Folder 9: Manuscript D, Chapters 21-30, 1963
Handwritten corrections.
Folder 10: Manuscript D, Chapters 31-32, 1963
Handwritten corrections.
Folder 11: Manuscript F, Chapters 6-14, 1963
Note: Second draft, partially corrected; second re-write.
Folder 12: Manuscript F, Chapters 15-23, 1963
Note: Second draft, partially corrected; second re-write.
Folder 13: Manuscript F, Chapters 24-33, 1963
Includes original notebook housing.
Folder 14: Manuscript G, Final stenciled manuscript pp. 1-69, 1963
as distributed to foreign publisher
Folder 15: Manuscript G, Final stenciled manuscript pp. 70-183, 1963
as distributed to foreign publisher
Folder 16: Manuscript G, Final stenciled manuscript pp. 184-304, 1963
as distributed to foreign publisher
Folder 17: Manuscript G, Final stenciled manuscript pp. 304-410, 1963
Folder 18: Manuscript H, Printer's Copy pp. 1-150, 1964
Manuscript from which book is set, corrections by publisher's copy reader.
Folder 19: Manuscript H, Printer's Copy pp.  150-325, 1964
Folder 20: Manuscript H, Printer's Copy pp. 326-415, 1964
Folder 21: Throw outs, various pages, 1963
Folder 22: Throw outs, Chapters 11-12, pp.  189-218, 1963
Folder 23: Throw outs, final revision, 1964
Folder 24: Throw outs, various pages, 1964
Folder 25: Throw outs, Attorney's corrections, 1964
Folder 26: Throw outs, pp.  227-31; 236-38; 255-57; 453-55; 516-28
Folder 27: Uncorrected Proof, from Atheneum, 1964
Sub-Series 3: Other Works, 1943-1979 and undated
Box 3
Folder 1: 'The Artist' (Story), photocopy with corrections, undated
Folder 2: 'The Bomb' (Story), typescript, undated
Folder 5.28: 'The Escape', 2002
151 page typescript, added to the collection at an unknown date. Located in Box 5, Folder 28. See below.
Folder 3: 'The Four Seasons' (Notes), photocopy with corrections, undated
Folder 4: 'The Great Fire' (Story), photocopy, 1979
Folder 5: 'My Lord, What a Morning and Little Doris' (Story), photocopy, 1943
Folder 6: 'Miracle of the Seahorse' (Play), photocopy, undated
Folder 7: 'Native in a Nightshirt' (Story), typescript, 1962
Folder 8: 'Now Let Us Try What Love Will Do' : Script, undated
Folder 9: 'Now Let Us Try What Love Will Do': Notes on locations in Philadelpia, photocopy, undated
Folder 10: 'Skipper Next to God', possible later version, Undated
Contains script and variations.
Folder 11: 'Skipper Next to God', Letter to Bob Everding, Stage plan, 1979
Folder 12: 'Skipper Next to God', First English Version, 1945
Folder 13: 'Young Bass of Outstanding Volume,' Postscripts of 'Skipper Next to God', Undated
Folder 14: 'Maitre Apres Dieu'  Screen Play, French.
Exists in French only, based on 'Skipper Next to God."
Folder 15: 'The Rose Revived,'(Play), photocopy undated
Folder 16: 'Red Cement' (Play):Letter to Robert Everding, Script segment, photocopy, 1978
Folder 17: 'Red Cement' (Play):Letter to Robert Everding, Script segment, photocopy, [1978]
Folder 18: 'William and Mary:  In two acts,' photocopy, 1963
Folder 19: 'William and Mary: In three acts,' photocopy, 1963
Folder 20: 'William and Mary: Worksheets,' typescript with corrections, 1963
Folder 21: 'William and Mary: Final Script,' typescript, [ca. 1963]
Folder 22: 'William and Mary:  Radio Script,' typescript, 1968
Folder 23: 'William and Mary,' Music Cassette: Featuring Isabelle and Peter Gardner, 1963
Folder 24: 'Quakers and the American Conscience,' Television Script, Undated
Folder 25: 'Quakers and the American Conscience,' Television Script; Notes on locations in Philadelphia., Undated
Folder 26: 'Two Wartime Stories: Skim Milk and Little Finger', photocopy, 1943
Folder 27: 'A View of the Ocean,' typescript, 1963
Folder 28: 'The White Horse,' typescript w/corrections, undated
Folder 29: 'Sunset,' (photocopy), undated
Folder 30: Notes on paranormal, including notes on 'Outer Buoy', undated
Box 5
Folder 28: 'The Escape', 2002
151-page typescript, added to the collection at an unknown date after the original 1967 accession.
Series 2: Materials Related to The Hospital, 1962-1966 and undated
Sub-Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1962-1964 and undated
Sub-Sub-Series 1: Houston
Box 4
Folder 1: Dust jacket and packaging, 1964
Folder 2: Clippings, 1964-1999
Folder 3: Television transcripts, 1964
Folder 4: Radio transcripts, 1964
Folder 5: Church calendar, All Souls Congregational, Meeting minutes, Live Oak Meeting, 1964
Folder 6: "Debbie and Gus to JDH", telegram, 1964
Folder 7: Zest Magazine, 1964
OVS_Box 2
Item 1: Scrapbook: 'The Hospital' in Houston, 1963-1964
Scrapbooks are very fragile, photocopies of articles exist in other folders within the collection.
Sub-Sub-Series 2: US and Abroad
Box 4
Folder 8: Newspaper Clippings, 1964-1965
Folder 9: Magazine Clippings, 1964-1965
Folder 10: Publisher's  Materials, 1964-1965
Folder 11: Carey-Thomas Award Certificate, 1965
Folder 12: Houston press clippings, 1963-1989
Folder 13: Clippings, Holland, 1965 and undated
Folder 14: Miscellaneous clippings (photocopies), 1964-1989, undated
Folder 15: Miscellaneous notes, 1963-65, undated
OVS_Box 3
Item 1: Scrapbooks: "Hospital" Press cuttings, 1964
Scrapbooks are very fragile.  Photocopies of press clippings exist in folders within the collection.
OVS_Box 4
Item 1: 'The Hospital' press cuttings Holland, 1964-1965
Scrapbooks are very fragile, copies of articles exist in other folders within the collection.
Sub-Series 2: Speeches
Box 4
Folder 16: Live Oak Friends Meeting, 1962-1965
Folder 17: Capping Address, 1964
Folder 18: Address to the Ben Taub Nurses' Aides Corps, 1964
Folder 19: Address to the Jefferson Davis School of Nursing, undated
Folder 20: "Hospital Speech" cue cards, undated
Sub-Series 3: Correspondence
Box 4
Folder 21: Marsha and Warren Hollman, 1988
Folder 22: Outgoing, 1963-1966
Folder 23: Incoming  A-F, 1964-1966
Folder 24: Incoming G-R, 1964-1966
Folder 25: Incoming S-Z, 1964-1966
Folder 26: Incoming - unidentified, 1964-1966
Folder 27: Mutual of Omaha Criss Award Correspondence, 1966-1967
Sub-Series 5: Miscellaneous
Box 4
Folder 28: "Hospital and Community", typescript, undated
Folder 29: Red Cross, Houston-Harris County Chapter, pamphlets, 1964, undated
Folder 30: "Handbook for Volunteers: Houston-Harris County Chapter American Red Cross Nurses' Aide", undated
Folder 31: "The Trojan Women, Benefit Premiere for Citizen's Fund for Voluntary Nursing", theater program, 1964
Folder 32: Mercy Fund List of Contributors, carbon copy, undated
OVS_Box 5
Item 1: Marjorie de Hartog's volunteer badge, approximately 1990s
Photo ID badge of Marjorie de Hartog from the Hospice at the Texas Medical Center.
Item 2: Cap with Red Cross pins/buttons, approximately 1960s
Item 3: Jefferson Davis Hospital Women in Yellow Armband, approximately 1960s
Item 4: Red Cross badge, approximately 1960s
Item 5: Jefferson Davis Hospital name tag, approximately 1960s
Item 6: Red Cross Volunteer cap, approximately 1960s
Item 7: Key
Item 8: Nurse's aide notepad, approximately 1960s
OVS_Box 6
Item 1: Red Cross Nursing Aid Certificate for Jan de Hartog, 1964
Item 2: Red Cross Nursing Aid Certificate for Marjorie de Hartog, 1964
Item 3: Red Cross Certificate of Appreciation, undated
Series 3: Career, 1962-2005 and undated
Box 4
Folder 33: Acceptance Speech for Award Presented by the University of Houston, undated
Folder 34: Biographies of Jan de Hartog, Undated-2000
Who's Who in America 54th edition-2000, Henry Wouk-1966, Ann Walton Sieber-undated.
Folder 35: Clippings, 1962-1967, 1974-1993, undated
Folder 36: "Compassion and the Art of Medicine," Response from Medical Students, 1994
Folder 37: Dutch Clippings, 1972-2003
Folder 38: Friends General Conference Quarterly: Written by Jan de Hartog, 1972
Folder 39: "Outline for a program for a dramatic workshop, University of Houston", typescript, 1962
Folder 40: Plaque inscription, note from Marjorie de Hartog, 2005
Folder 41: Samaritan Celebration Program, Oct. 26, 2000
Honoring Jan de Hartog, Ronald Krist, The Reverend J. Pittman McGehee D.D., and Jose Adan Treveno.
Folder 42: Three copies of 'The Beat' honoring hospital volunteers like Jan de Hartog, Apr. 2006
OVS_Box 6
Item 4: Honorary Degree from the University of Houston-Doctor of Humane Letters.
Item 5: Mortar board with tassel
Item 6: Poster with Reviews for 'The Hospital.'
Item 7: Oversize Dutch print/newspaper clipping
Item 8: Handwritten notes in envelope, undated
Drawer F.7
OVS_Folder 3: "De Centurio" Dutch poster
Series 4: Personal, 2002 and undated
Box 5
Folder 1: Various Clippings, Copy of 'Success Unlimited', 1970, 1986, Undated
Folder 2: Two Copies of "Jong Jan," Dutch, Undated
Folder 3: Obituaries, Dutch (photocopies), 2002
Folder 4: Obituaries, English (photocopies), 2002
Box 6
Item 1: Hermes Typewriter used to write 'Peaceable Kingdom' and other works
OVS_Box 8
Item 1: Pastel three-quarter length portrait of Jan de Hartog's mother, [ca. 1920s]
The portrait measuring 10 x 7.5 inches is matted and framed.
Series 5: Personal Correspondence, 1960-2006
Correspondents include Herman Wouk, Colin Wilson, Joel Gross, Connie Bess, and Larry McMurtry.
Box 5
Folder 5: Outgoing to Simon Michael Bessie, February 26, 1953
Folder 6: Outgoing to Connie Bessie, wife of Simon Michael Bessie, October 1960
Folder 7: Outgoing to Herman Wouk, 1971-1996
Folder 8: Incoming from Herman Wouk, 1972-1997
Folder 9: Between Marjorie de Hartog and Herman Wouk, July 1989, June 1992, February 1998
Contains 4 letters.
Folder 10: Outgoing to Joel Gross, February 1980-April 1982
Folder 11: Incoming from Joel Gross, November 1980-December 1982
Folder 12: Outgoing to Colin Wilson, October 1984-July 1989
Folder 13: Incoming from Colin Wilson, September 1984-July 1989
Folder 14: Outgoing to Larry McMurtry, April 2006
Folder 15: Miscellaneous, 1963-2006
Folder 16: Blank sheets of 'Rival' stationary, used aboard de Hartog's Dutch sailing Coaster
Series 6: Photographs
Photographs are arranged chronologically.
Box 5
Folder 17-18: 'Four Posters,' photographs from play, undated
Folder 19: Jan de Hartog onboard the Rival, 1957
Folder 20: University of Houston photographs includes proofs and negatives, 1957-1963/1964
Folder 21: Jan de Hartog Onstage with Proofs and Negatives, [University of Houston], undated
Folder 22: Jefferson Davis Hospital - Jan de Hartog, undated
Folder 23: Jefferson Davis Hospital - Marjorie De Hartog, 1964 and undated
Folder 24: Jefferson Davis Hospital - Jan and Marjorie de Hartog and Hospital Volunteers, 1963-64
Folder 25: Jan de Hartog, undated
Folder 26: Jan de Hartog, 1999-2001
Folder 27: Miscellaneous, includes some proofs and negatives, 1970, undated
OVS_Box 8
Item 2: Marjorie de Hartog with infant (framed), approximately 1960s

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Works, 1943-1979],
[Series 2: Materials Related to The Hospital, 1962-1966 and undated],
[Series 3: Career, 1962-2005 and undated],
[Series 4: Personal, 2002 and undated],
[Series 5: Personal Correspondence, 1960-2006],
[Series 6: Photographs],

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