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Carl Jonas Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS-0023

Scope and Contents

The Carl Jonas Papers hold the works of Omaha, Nebraska, novelist Carl S. Jonas. The manuscript portion of the collection includes typed novels and works-in-progress with hand-written corrections, including two versions of a novel entitled The X Family, an incomplete draft of The Deer and the Antelope Play, and three incomplete, untitled novels.

New material added 2015-10-29: The papers of Carl Jonas include manuscripts of his work, correspondence, diaries, ledgers, news clippings, an audio recording, and other material related to his life and work as an author. The correspondence includes routine submission and acceptance or rejection letters with publishers as well as personal correspondence. The manuscripts include novels, short stories, a juvenile book, a play or musical, and a radio play. Some of the works have not been identified and include manuscripts, typescripts, changes from editors, and similar. The diaries or journals of Carl Jonas cover a wide range of topics including notes on trigonometry, bacterial experiment notes, ideas for novels and other writing projects, budget and expenses, accounts of dreams, reflections on possibly divorcing his wife, new office ideas, and other matters. The collection also includes a hand drawn map of Gateway City (1950) created for Jefferson Selleck.


  • Creation: 1928-1976


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the Nebraska Public Records Statutes (Neb. Rev. Stat. §§ 84-712 through 84-712.09), and other relevant regulations. Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Nebraska Omaha assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, Archives & Special Collections will provide information about copyright owners and related information. Securing permission to publish or use material is the responsibility of the researcher. Note that unless specifically transferred to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, any applicable copyrights may be held by another individual or entity. Further information about copyright policy is available at


8.86 Cubic Feet (10 boxes, 9 volumes)

.66 Cubic Feet

8.2 Cubic Feet


Organized into the Series: Manuscripts.; Series: Published Novels.

Custodial History

Books written by Carl Jonas were either purchased for Special Collections in 2005 and 2006, or transferred from the stacks. Six unpublished manuscripts were donated to the library via the UNO English Department by Ms. Jessie Nebraska Gifford and Mr. Charles Gifford in December 1997. UNO Professor Michael Skau (English Department) completed an inventory of the materials dated May 24, 1999, before the materials were transferred to the library. Jessie Gifford and Charles Gifford are the daughter and son of Carl Jonas’ sister, Mary Elizabeth "Emmy" Gifford.

New material added 2015-10-29: In February 1952, Carl Jonas loaned the manuscript for his book Jefferson Selleck and related maps of Gateway City after the director of the Omaha Public Library contacted Jonas inquiring if he would gift the same to the library. The maps were returned to Jonas in April 1952, at his request as he worked on related projects. In early 1964, manuscripts and galley proofs for Jefferson Selleck and Lillian White Deer were received by the Omaha Public Library from Jonas. The remainder of the Carl Jonas collection was received by the Omaha Public Library after his death from his estate via his sister, Emmy (Mrs. Harold) Gifford.

An inventory of the collection was created by the public library in 1976-1977. This inventory was shared with Criss Library Archives & Special Collections; a more recent inventory prepared by a practicum student at the public library was also shared with the library and verifies the contents of the first inventory.

The Omaha Public Library donated the collection as an addition to Criss Library’s Carl Jonas Papers in October 2015.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Jessie Nebraska Gifford and Charles Gifford, niece and nephew of Carl Jonas, donated the manuscripts to the library in December 1997.

Omaha Public Library.

Separated Materials

The published novels of Carl Jonas can be found by searching the library catalog and are housed with other books in Archives and Special Collections. The author's eight published books include: Beachhead on the Wind (1945), Jefferson Selleck (1952), Lillian White Deer (1964), The Observatory (1966), Our Revels Now are Ended (1957), Riley McCullough (1954), Snowslide (1950), The Sputnik Rapist (1973), and A Trout in the Milk (1972). A copy of a 1972 UNO master's thesis by Pat Williams entitled Initiation in the Novels of Carl Jonas is also available in Archives and Special Collections.

New material added 2015-10-29: The folders Box 8 (formerly Manila Envelope 1), Folder 1 - Correspondence with Omaha Public Library and Box 8 (formerly Manila Envelope 2), Folder 9 – "Papers of Carl Jonas" by Evelyn Gardner (inventory of Carl Jonas Donation) were removed from the collection to the Archives & Special Collections donor files.

Processing Information

Manuscript collection inventoried by Dr. Michael Skau of the UNO Department of English in 1999.

Material previously held by Omaha Public Library (OPL) inventoried by OPL staff or volunteers in the 1970s and verified prior to donation of the collection to Criss Library in 2015.



Carl Jonas Papers
Under Revision
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Edition statement
2nd edition

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nebraska at Omaha Archives & Special Collections Repository

Archives & Special Collections
Dr. C.C. and Mabel L. Criss Library
6001 Dodge St.
Omaha Nebraska 68182-0237 United States