Bacon, Daisy Papers, 1857-before March 25, 1986
- Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
- Bacon, Daisy, 1898-1986
- Daisy Bacon Papers
- Collection No.:
- SC 0304
- 1857-before March 25, 1986
- 10 boxes, 3.64 Cubic Feet
- 6 digital files, 44.4 Megabytes
- Language of the Material:
- English .
- The Daisy Bacon Papers, 1857-before March 25, 1986, comprise the personal and professional papers, diaries, manuscripts, and photographs of Daisy Bacon, longtime editor of Love Story Magazine. The papers of select immediate and extended family members are also included in this collection.
[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Daisy Bacon Papers, 1857-before March 25, 1986, SC 0304, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.
Daisy Sarah Bacon (1898-1986) was a writer and editor of Street & Smith's popular Love Story Magazine from 1928 to 1947. She was born in Union City, Pennsylvania to Jessie Holbrook Bacon (1870-1936) and Elmer Bacon (1864-1900). After her father's death on January 1, 1900, Daisy's mother married George Ford (1858-1907). Their daughter Esther Joa Ford (d. 1989) was born in 1906. Esther was Daisy's lifelong friend, confidante, associate, and colleague. The two frequently referred to each other by their respective surnames – Bacon and Ford. In July 1943, Esther married Clarke Robinson, an opera singer, WWI officer, and writer. For a time, Daisy was involved romantically with Henry Wise Miller, a stockbroker who was married to writer Alice Duer Miller. During much of her adulthood, Daisy battled depression, alcoholism, and made at least two suicide attempts.
Daisy began her career at Street & Smith in 1926 as the reader for the Love Story advice column. Just a few months later, she started writing short stories for the magazine. Daisy became the magazine's editor in 1928 and worked closely with her half-sister and editorial assistant Esther. At the height of its popularity, Love Story's weekly circulation reportedly reached 600,000. In addition to Love Story and other publications, Daisy edited Real Love, Ainslee's Smart Love Stories, The Shadow, Pocket Love, Detective Story Magazine, Romantic Range, and Doc Savage. The publication of Love Story ceased with its February 1947 issue though Daisy continued to work at Street & Smith on other pulp titles. Daisy was fired from Street & Smith in April 1949 when the company ended its publication of all pulp fiction magazines except Astounding Stories.
After leaving Street & Smith, Daisy moved from Manhattan to Port Washington, New York where she continued to write. In 1954, she published Love Story Writer, an instruction manual on how to write romance stories. After regaining the copyright to Love Story Writer in 1963, Bacon established Gemini Books and republished the book as a paperback under the title Love Story Editor. Her manuscript for "Love Story Diary," a Street & Smith tell-all was never published and is not extant. Bacon also kept diaries and dream journals, and their contents often alluded to her personal struggles and complicated relationships.
Esther and Daisy's relationship was strained after they were let go from Street & Smith, but Esther moved in with Daisy after her husband Clarke's death in 1962 and the two became close again. Both Daisy and Esther were cat lovers and were frequently photographed with their feline companions. Daisy Bacon died March 25, 1986 in Port Washington.
Researchers are highly encouraged to review Laurie Powers's biography of Daisy Bacon titled Queen of the Pulps: The Reign of Daisy Bacon and Love Story Magazine (2019) as this biographical note is not intended to serve as a comprehensive account of Daisy Bacon's life and career.
Scope and Content
The Daisy Bacon Papers, 1857-before March 25, 1986, comprise the personal and professional papers, diaries, scrapbooks, printed ephemera, published and unpublished manuscripts, and photographs of Daisy Bacon, longtime editor of Love Story Magazine. The papers of select family members are also represented in this collection and include Esther Joa Ford Robinson, Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford, and Elmer Bacon.
The collection is arranged into five series.
Series 1: Diaries and Journals, 1899-1982, is arranged by creator (Daisy Bacon, Jessie Bacon Ford, etc.) and item type (diaries, dream journals, etc.) which generally also follows a chronological arrangement.
Series 2: Scrapbooks and Ephemera, 1903-1976, is arranged chronologically. The scrapbooks of Love Story covers are grouped together which only slightly disrupts the chronological arrangement.
Series 3: Manuscripts and Publishing, 1929-1975, is arranged alphabetically according to manuscript title/folder title.
Series 4: Personal Papers and Correspondence, 1857-1975, is arranged chronologically.
Series 5: Photographs and Negatives, 1883-before March 25, 1986, is arranged chronologically.
Updated to incorporate edits to Daisy Bacon's biographical note. Edits clarified details concerning Bacon's suicide attempts, the circulation numbers of Love Story, and included other magazines edited by Bacon. 2020-12-02
Collection is open for research. The Audio-Scriptions, Inc. aluminum phonodisc record has not been reformatted and is not accessible to researchers. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.
The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bill and Nora Haagenson, Daisy's neighbors in Port Washington, New York, donated the collection in December 2019. The collection was in the physical custody of Laurie Powers, Daisy Bacon's biographer and Staunton, Virginia resident, while she was writing Queen of the Pulps: The Reign of Daisy Bacon and Love Story Magazine. Powers delivered the collection to Special Collections after the Haagensons signed a deed of gift transferring ownership to JMU.
Per Laurie Powers, either Daisy Bacon or Daisy's sister Esther gave the Haagensons Bacon's papers.
Photocopies of documents acquired by Laurie Powers for the purpose of writing Bacon's biography, many of which were facsimiles of collection material held at other repositories, were not retained.
Laurie Powers, Daisy Bacon biographer, was actively referencing and using the materials in this collection prior to its transfer to Special Collections. Powers provided descriptions and date ranges for much of the material in this collection including diaries and journals. Powers also removed loose newspaper clippings, notes, and printed ephemera from diaries and arranged them according to date or subject in plastic sleeves. Said clippings and assorted ephemera have been foldered according to Powers' groupings. Any associated labels were retained and transferred to folders and sub-folders. Exceptions have been made for papers with more discrete research potential than newspaper clippings (e.g. correspondence, Daisy Bacon's cat's pedigree chart).
Plastic covers were removed from three scrapbooks contaiining Love Story covers.
Non-archival plastic sleeves were removed from personal papers and correspondence.
The groupings of newspaper clippings are foldered and subfoldered according to their groupings when donated.
The three lacquer (acetate) phonodiscs containing the June 13, 1941 radio program "The Writer and Your Life" were reformatted in-house by Kirsten Mlodynia, Digital Projects Specialist.
The photograph groupings as arranged by Laurie Powers were largely retained. Exceptions include photographs used for Powers' biography that were separated based solely on their inclusion in Queen of the Pulps. Most of these photographs were interfiled with other groupings.
A portion of the photo negatives are cellulose nitrate, in deteriorating condition, and/or do not have photograph copies. As such, they are likely candidates for future reformatting. The negatives were removed from their paper envelopes and housed in acid-free sleeves in those same groupings. The envelopes are retained as examples of marketing and advertisement for photo development companies.
Street & Smith Records, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries
Genre and Form
- Letters (correspondence)
- Notes (documents)
- Newspaper clippings
- Printed Ephemera
- Manuscripts (documents)
- Financial Records
- Receipts (financial records)
- Telephone directories
- Negatives (photographs)
- Haagenson, William and Nora
- Bacon, Daisy, 1898-1986
- Women editors -- United States
- Women authors
- Women publishers -- United States
- Romance fiction, American -- 20th century
Laurie Powers, Queen of the Pulps: The Reign of Daisy Bacon and Love Story Magazine, Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2019.
Series 1: Diaries and Journals, 1899-1982
Series 1: Diaries and Journals, 1899-1982, includes diaries kept by Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford, Esther Joa Ford Robinson, and Daisy Bacon. Overall, the diary entries are typical in that they document weather, daily activities, visiting, and illnesses. Jessie Bacon Ford's 1899 diary is unbound and comprises more than forty pages. In it Jessie writes about daily activities with frequent mentions of Daisy, who was an infant at the time. Jessie's diaries also include periodic mentions of having "lonely days." Daisy chronicles her work on Love Story Writier and also frequently mentions dreams. Evidence of Daisy's alleged suicide attempts and overall mental health can be found in both Esther and Daisy's diary entries. A more detailed analysis of Daisy's mental health is discussed in Laurie Powers's Queen of the Pulps. Apart from her diaries, Daisy also frequently chronicled her dreams and kept several journals in which she summarized them.
|Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford diary, 1899||box 1||folder 1|
|Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford diary, 1920s||box 1||folder 2|
|Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford diaries, 1930-1934||box 1||folder 3|
|Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford diary, 1930-1932|
|Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford diary, 1933-1934|
|Daisy Bacon dream journal, ca. 1934-1935||box 1||folder 4|
|Daisy Bacon dream journal, 1942-1943, 1947||box 1||folder 5|
|Daisy Bacon dream journal, before 1949||box 2||folder 1|
|Daisy Bacon dream journal, 1958-1959||box 2||folder 2|
|Daisy Bacon dream journal, undated||box 2||folder 3|
|Daisy Bacon notebooks, ca. 1936||box 2||folder 4|
|Daisy Bacon diaries, 1951-1955||box 2||folder 5|
|Daisy Bacon diary, 1951-1952|
|Daisy Bacon diary, 1953-1955|
|Daisy Bacon diaries, 1956-1964||box 2||folder 6|
|Daisy Bacon diary, 1956-1960|
|Daisy Bacon diary, 1960-1964|
|Daisy Bacon diary, ca. 1965||box 3||folder 1|
|Daisy Bacon diary, 1966-1967||box 3||folder 2|
|Daisy Bacon diary, 1968-1975||box 3||folder 3|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diaries, 1937-1945||box 3||folder 4|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diary, 1937-1940|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diary, 1941-1945|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diaries, 1946-1962||box 3||folder 5|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diary, 1946-1957|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diary, 1958-1962|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diaries, 1963-1982||box 4||folder 1|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diary, 1963-1977|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson diary, 1979-1982|
Series 2: Scrapbooks and Ephemera, 1903-1976
Series 2: Scrapbooks and Ephemera, 1903-1976, comprises miscellaneous newspaper clippings, printed ephemera, published articles, and scrapbooks created and collected by Daisy Bacon, her sister Esther, and their mother Jessie. Some of the materials document Love Story and Daisy's career as editor at Street & Smith. Many of the clippings were removed from diaries and organized by date and/or subject by Laurie Powers while writing Queen of the Pulps. These groupings were retained and are organized within sub-folders in the larger folders of newspaper clippings. Scrapbooks of a more personal nature include poetry and astrological clippings.
Of interest are four scrapbooks containing Love Story covers between 1939 and 1947. Three lacquer (acetate) phonodiscs contain a radio interview conducted by George Atmond with Daisy Bacon and Clarke Robinson on June 13, 1941 on WNYC, a public radio station in New York City. The scripted interview was part of a series titled "The Writer and Your Life" which proclaimed to create a better understanding between the audience and writers. An aluminum phonodisc is also included. It has not been reformatted and there is no corresponding label to indicate the nature of its contents.
|Newspaper clippings, notes, and printed ephemera (folder 1 of 3), 1915-1976, undated||box 4||folder 2|
|Newspaper clippings, notes, and printed ephemera (folder 2 of 3), 1915-1976, undated||box 4||folder 3|
|Newspaper clippings, notes, and printed ephemera (folder 3 of 3), 1915-1976, undated||box 4||folder 4|
|Poetry scrapbook, 1917, undated||box 4||folder 5|
|Assorted newspapers and clippings, 1934-1954||box 5||folder 1|
|Promotional posters, 1937||box OV 1||folder 1|
|Love Story covers scrapbook, January 7, 1939-December 30, 1939||box 5||folder 2|
|Love Story covers scrapbook, January 1, 1940-September 13, 1941||box 5||folder 3|
|Love Story covers scrapbook, September 20, 1941-June 15, 1943||box 5||folder 4|
|Love Story covers scrapbook, June 29, 1943-February 1947||box 5||folder 5|
|Daisy Bacon "The Writer and Your Life" WNYC interview, June 13, 1941||Digital-materials SC0304-SET-001|
|Preservation master lacquer phonodisc (side 1, side 4), June 13, 1941||Media Cabinet 2||Drawer 4||Lacquer phonodisc SC0304-LD-001|
|Preservation master lacquer phonodisc (side 2, side 5), June 13, 1941||Media Cabinet 2||Drawer 4||Lacquer phonodisc SC0304-LD-002|
|Preservation master lacquer phonodisc (side 3, side 6), June 13, 1941||Media Cabinet 2||Drawer 4||Lacquer phonodisc SC0304-LD-003|
|"Love Story Editor," Sunday Times Union (Jacksonville, Florida) Parade, September 27, 1942||box OV 1||folder 2|
|"Love Story Editor," Parade's Weekly, October 8, 1942||box OV 1||folder 3|
|Astrology scrapbook, undated||box 6||folder 1|
|Audio-Scriptions, Inc. aluminum phonodisc record, undated||Media Cabinet 2||Drawer 4||Phonodisc record SC0304-PD-001|
Series 3: Manuscripts and Publishing, 1929-1975
Series 3: Manuscripts and Publishing, 1929-1975, comprises manuscript drafts written chiefly by Daisy Bacon, but also include writings and publications created by Clarke Robinson and Jessie Bacon Ford. Additionally, correspondence and documents related to publishing contracts, sales, and copyright are included. Bacon's "Women Among Men" was published in The New York Woman, Volume 1, Number 7, October 21, 1936. More detailed summaries of Daisy's manuscripts can be found in Laurie Powers's Queen of the Pulps.
News items, articles, and promotional material relating to Daisy Bacon, Love Story, and Street & Smith can be found in Series 2: Scrapbooks and Ephemera.
|"After To-morrow" manuscript by Clarke Robinson, undated||box 6||folder 2|
|"The Child's Lament" sheet music published by Jessie H. Bacon, 1903||box OV 1||folder 4|
|"Dear Mrs. Browne" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, ca. 1929||box 6||folder 3|
|"The Desired Tempest" manuscript by Clarke Robinson, undated||box 6||folder 4|
|Gemini Books copyright, 1965-1970||box 6||folder 5|
|"The Golden Age of the Iron Maiden" copyright, 1975||box 6||folder 6|
|"He Liked Them Helpless-looking" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, undated||box 6||folder 7|
|"I Take My Pen in Hand" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, undated||box 6||folder 8|
|Incomplete drafts, undated||box 6||folder 9|
|"Lessons Learned" (untitled) manuscript by Daisy Bacon, undated||box 6||folder 10|
|Love Story Editor sales, 1964-1966||box 6||folder 11|
|Love Story Writer copyright, 1954-1964||box 6||folder 12|
|"Sands of Romance" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, undated||box 6||folder 13|
|"The Sex Complex in Business" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, undated||box 6||folder 14|
|"Song of Domesticity" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, undated||box 6||folder 15|
|"Women Among Men" manuscript by Daisy Bacon, 1936||box 6||folder 16|
Series 4: Personal Papers and Correspondence, 1857-1975
Series 4: Personal Papers and Correspondence, 1857-1975, comprises papers, documents, and personal correspondence largely unrelated to Daisy Bacon's work as the editor of Love Story, though professional matters may be present in the materials in this series. Family papers include Elmer Bacon's divorce certificate with Carrie Thompson Bacon and his marriage certificate with Jessie Holbrook, letters of recommendation for George E. Ford, and a ledger for a mercantile or grocery that Elmer and Jessie Bacon operated in Westfield, New York.
Financial documents including Esther Robinson's check registers and receipts, legal documents concerning real estate, Daisy Bacon's passport, and a Certificate of Pedigree for Daisy's cat "Collinsdale Janice" are included.
|Miscellaneous correspondence, 1857-1873, undated||box 6||folder 17|
|Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford correspondence, 1893-1934||box 6||folder 18|
|Elmer Bacon papers and correspondence, 1895-1900||box 6||folder 19|
|Elmer Bacon and Jessie Holbrook Bacon store ledger, 1896-1901||box 6||folder 20|
|George E. Ford letters of recommendation, 1896-1905||box 6||folder 21|
|Daisy Bacon correspondence, 1919-1975, undated||box 6||folder 22|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson papers and correspondence, 1927-1975, undated||box 7||folder 1|
|Daisy Bacon passport, 1929||box 7||folder 2|
|Daisy Bacon papers, 1945, 1950, undated||box 7||folder 3|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson check register and receipts, 1962-1963||box 7||folder 4|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson check register and receipts, 1968-1970||box 7||folder 5|
|Daisy Bacon and Esther Joa Ford Robinson phone book, undated||box 7||folder 6|
|Daisy Bacon miscellaneous notes, undated||box 7||folder 7|
Series 5: Photographs and Negatives, 1883-before March 25, 1986
Series 5: Photographs and Negatives, 1883-before March 25, 1986, primarily include Daisy Bacon, Henry Wise Miller, Esther Joa Ford Robinson, Clarke Robinson, Jessie Holbrook Bacon Ford, Elmer Bacon (post-mortem), and George Ford. Photographs include professional portraits, baby pictures, casual shots, and vacation destinations. Of interest is a photograph of Henry Wise Miller with Eleanor Roosevelt at a June 1940 dinner honoring those who worked for the Finnish Relief Fund. Daisy Bacon and Henry Wise Miller would freqently take photos of each other at the same location in a style described by Laurie Powers as "twin photographs." Several examples of these pairs of photogaphs are included. Additonally, this series includes a group of photographs taken of Daisy Bacon by American photojournalist William Eugene Smith for an October 1942 article for Parade's Weekly. That issue and article can be found in Series 2: Scrapbooks and Ephemera. Daisy Bacon and Esther Joa Ford Robinson were both cat enthusiasts. Many photographs feature the sisters with cats or cats on their own. The photographs are largely undated so in many cases folder date ranges are approximate.
The box of photo negatives have only been minimally reviewed and have not been digitized. A portion of the negatives are represented as photographs within this series. A date range was applied that corresponds to the earliest known photograph of Daisy Bacon (ca. 1899) and Daisy's death date (March 25, 1986).
|Family, friends, and unidentified photographs, 1883-1945, undated||box 7||folder 8|
|Elmer Bacon and Jessie Holbrook Bacon photographs, ca. 1895-before July 30, 1936||box 7||folder 9|
|Daisy Bacon casual photographs, ca. 1899-before March 25, 1986||box 7||folder 10|
|Daisy Bacon professional photographs, ca. 1899-before March 25, 1986||box 7||folder 11|
|Negatives, ca. 1899-before March 25, 1986||box 9||folder 1|
|Elmer Bacon post-mortem photographs, ca. January 1, 1900||box 8||folder 1|
|Esther Joa Ford Robinson photographs, ca. 1906-1943, undated||box 8||folder 2|
|George E. Ford photographs, before January 24, 1907||box 8||folder 3|
|Daisy Bacon and Esther Joa Ford Robinson photographs, ca. 1915-1936, undated||box 8||folder 4|
|Daisy Bacon and Henry Wise Miller photographs, ca. 1922-before September 15, 1954||box 8||folder 5|
|Daisy Bacon photographs by W. Eugene Smith, August 1942||box 8||folder 6|
|Henry Wise Miller photographs, before September 15, 1954||box 8||folder 7|
|Cats and kittens, undated||box 8||folder 8|
|Photo negative envelopes, undated||box 9||folder 2|