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Collection Number: 04379

Collection Title: Vera and Bill Cleaver Papers, 1967-1982

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size 9.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 650 items)
Abstract Vera Allen Cleaver (1919- ) and Bill (William Joseph) Cleaver (1920-1981) were married in 1945. They collaboratively wrote hundreds of stories for pulp magazines and sixteen novels for children and young adults. Chiefly drafts and some proofs of fourteen of the sixteen novels written collaboratively by Vera and Bill Cleaver and of two novels written by Vera Cleaver alone, along with some correspondence concerning those novels. Also included are materials relating to novels written by Vera Cleaver and a series of general correspondence with publishers about the Cleavers' work and with others about arranging speaking engagements. There is no family or personal material.
Creator Cleaver, Vera.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Photocopying in Series 1 restricted as follows: no more than three consecutive pages may be copied; no more than ten pages from any one novel may be copied.
Unprocessed pending appraisal decisions, but may be used in accordance with restrictions on other materials in the collection.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Vera and Bill Cleaver Papers #4379, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Vera A. Cleaver, Winter Haven, Florida, in January 1984, January 1985, December 1986, and May 1988.
Received from the estate of Vera A. Cleaver via Charles R. Chilton of Sharit, Bunn, Chilton & Holden of Winter Haven, Fla., in January 1993.
Sensitive Materials Statement
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 North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). 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 North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Processing Information

Processed by: Clara Fountain, Barbara Sloane, April 1985, Roslyn Holdzkom, December 1986, June 1988, January 1993

Encoded by: ByteManagers Inc., 2008

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Vera Fern Allen Cleaver was born in Virgil, South Dakota, on 6 January 1919, the fifth of nine children. Reared during the Great Depression, she had to interrupt her formal education, which, she has said, she continued in public libraries. She later graduated from a school of business.

William Joseph Cleaver was born on 24 March 1920 in Hugo, Oklahoma. At age five, he was placed in a private school in British Columbia, where he stayed until he was fourteen. His young adulthood was spent in Seattle, Washington, where he attended public schools. From his youth, he was interested in writing; he also educated himself in public libraries. He served in the military during World War II, during which time he met and married Vera Allen. Like his wife, Bill Cleaver graduated from a school of business.

The opportunity to travel widely during the Cleavers' extended military career with the U.S. Air Force figures in their writing.

The Cleavers wrote in collaboration until Bill Cleaver's death in 1981 at age 61. Their routine was to gather ideas and discuss them for several months before establishing the central motif and characters. Vera Cleaver would then do the actual writing. Their themes are realistic, and they are noted for their expert use of dialog and sympathetic probing of human nature.

Early in their writing career, the Cleavers produced over 300 stories for pulp magazines, of which some 279 were published. They also published work in more widely-respected nationally circulated magazines. According to Mr. Cleaver, the couple began to feel that they could use their writing talents toward a more worthwhile end, and turned to writing books for pre-adolescents, adolescents, and young adults.

During their life together, all of their works were cooperative efforts except for the first, The Nurse's Dilemma, written by Vera Cleaver in 1966. As a couple, they wrote sixteen novels, most of which have been well reviewed and widely acclaimed in both the United States and England.

The books written by Bill and Vera Cleaver are as follows:

Ellen Grae (Lippincott, 1967), Horn Book Honor List

Lady Ellen Grae (Lippincott, 1968)

Where the Lilies Bloom (Lippincott, 1969), Horn Book Honor List, National Book Award finalist

Grover (Lippincott, 1970), National Book Award finalist

The Mimosa Tree (Lippincott, 1970)

I Would Rather Be a Turnip (Lippincott, 1971)

The Mock Revolt (Lippincott, 1971)

Delpha Green and Company (Lippincott, 1972)

The Whys and Wherefores of Littabelle Lee (Atheneum, 1973) National Book Award finalist

Me Too (Lippincott, 1973), ALA Notable Book

Dust of the Earth (Lippincott, 1975), Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, Western Writers of America Shelf Award

Trial Valley (Lippincott, 1977)

Queen of Hearts (Lippincott, 1978), National Book Award finalist

A Little Destiny (Lothrop, 1979)

The Kissimmee Kid (Lothrop, 1981)

Hazel Rye (Lippincott, 1982)

After Bill Cleaver's death, Vera Cleaver continued to write, producing Sugar Blue (Lothrop, 1984) and Sweetly Sings the Donkey (Lippincott, 1985).

Vera Cleaver cites the Cleavers' residences as follows:

Seattle and Vancouver, Washington, 1945-1948

Tampa, Florida, 1948-1954

Tachikawa, Japan, 1954-1956

Chaumont, France, 1956-1959

Tampa, Florida, 1959-1964

Carmel Valley, California 1965

Boone, North Carolina, 1965-1969

Lutz, Florida, 1969-1971

Winter Haven, Florida, 1971-

Sources: Children's Literature Review, Vol. 6 (1984), pp 95-96, 114; other brief biographical treatments, copies of which are in the accession file for this collection; and a letter, Vera Cleaver to Carolyn Wallace, 18 June 1985, in the accession file.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection includes drafts and some proofs of fourteen of the sixteen novels written collaboratively by Vera and Bill Cleaver and of two novels written by Vera Cleaver alone, along with some correspondence concerning those novels (Series 1). Also included is a series of general correspondence with publishers about the Cleavers' work and with others about arranging speaking engagements (Series 2).

There is no family or personal correspondence or other personal material.

The following list was received with the materials transmitted from the estate of Vera A. Cleaver. Materials are not necessarily in order as listed.

Rough draft of "Belle Pruitt"

Rough draft of "Moon Lake Road"

Correspondence with publisher on "Angel of Moon Lake Road," "Kitty Dale"

First revision, master set, "Belle Pruitt"

Correspondence between Vera Cleaver and Dorothy Briley, editor-in-chief at Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, concerning "Angel of Moon Lake Road"

Corrections to "Angel of Moon Lake Road"

Correspondence with publishers of "Where the Lillies Bloom" and wildcrafting research

Book reviews of "The Kissimee Kid," "Moon Lake Angel," "A Little Destiny," and "Sweetly Sings the Donkey"

Galleys for "Belle Pruitt"

Correspondence relating to study of contemporary beliefs

Uncorrected proofs of "Where the Lillies Bloom"

Master proof of "Moon Lake Angel"

Research material: North Carolina

Research material: Florida

Research material: Missouri

Research material: Arkansas

Research material: South Dakota

Research material: Arts and crafts

Research material: Agriculture

Photographs of central Florida

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Novels, 1966-1982.

About 415 items.

Arrangement: by novel, then by type of item. Note that correspondence pertaining to more than one novel (and to matters other than the novels) is in Series 2.

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.1. Ellen Grae, (1967).

9 items.

Correspondence (9 items).

Folder 1

Correspondence 1968-1971

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.2. Lady Ellen Grae, (1968).

About 36 items.

Complete and partial drafts (4 items, totaling about 300 pages); galley proofs (2 items, about 50 pages each); and correspondence (about 30 items).

Folder 2

Draft 1

Folder 3

Partial Draft, attached to Draft 1

Folder 4

Draft 2

Folder 5

Draft 3

Folder 6

Galley Proofs

Folder 7

Correspondence 1966-1968

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.3. Where the Lilies Bloom, (1969).

26 items

Complete and partial drafts (2 items, totaling about 400 pages); galley proofs (1 items, about 80 pages); and correspondence (about 23 items).

Folder 8a

Draft 1

Folder 8b

Draft 2

Folder 8c

Galley Proofs

Folder 8d

Correspondence 1968-1977

Folder 8

Correspondence 1970-1977

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.4. Grover, (1970).

About 40 items.

Complete and partial drafts (6 items, totalling about 550 pages); galley proofs (2 items, totalling about 80 pages); and correspondence (31 items).

Folder 9

Draft 1

Folder 10

Draft 2

Folder 11

Draft 3

Folder 12

Partial Draft, Chapters 1-7

Folder 13

Draft 4

Folder 14

Draft 5

Folder 15

Galley Proofs

Folder 16

Correspondence 1967-1976

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.5. The Mimosa Tree, (1970).

About 30 items.

Outline (1 item); complete drafts (3 items, totalling about 330 pages); galley proofs and plate proofs (3 items, totalling about 150 pages); promotional material (3 items); and correspondence (20 items).

Folder 17

Outline

Folder 18

Draft 1

Folder 19

Draft 2

Folder 20

Draft 3

Folder 21

Galley Proofs

Folder 22

Plate Proofs

Folder 23

Promotional Material

Folder 24

Correspondence 1968-1970

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.6. I Would Rather be a Turnip, (1971).

About 20 items.

Synopis and chapter outlines (about 4 items); complete drafts (3 items, totaling about 360 pages); galley proofs (2 items, totaling about 100 pages); and correspondence (10 items).

Folder 25

Synopsis and chapter outlines

Folder 26

Draft 1

Folder 27

Draft 2

Folder 28

Draft 3

Folder 29

Galley Proofs

Folder 30

Correspondence 1968-1979

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.7. The Mock Revolt, (1971).

About 20 items.

Summary and research material (2 items); complete and partial drafts (5 items, totaling about 550 pages); page proofs (2 items, totaling about 320 pages); and correspondence (8 items).

Folder 31

Summary and research material

Folder 32

Draft 1

Folder 33

Partial Draft, attached to Draft 1

Folder 34

Draft 2

Folder 35

Partial Draft, attached to Draft 2

Folder 36

Draft 3

Folder 37

Page Proofs

Folder 38

Page Proofs

Folder 39

Correspondence 1969-1976

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.8. Delpha Green and Company.

About 30 items.

Partial drafts (2 items, totaling about 200 pages); scattered chapters and pages (about 70 pages); complete drafts (5 items, totaling about 530 pages); page proofs (3 items, totaling about 450 pages; and correspondence (15 items).

Folder 40

Partial Drafts

Folder 41

Scattered chapters and pages

Folder 42

Draft 1

Folder 43

Draft 2

Folder 44

Draft 3

Folder 45

Draft 4

Folder 46

Draft 5

Folder 47

Page Proofs

Folder 48

Page Proofs

Folder 49

Page Proofs

Folder 50

Correspondence 1972-1975

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.9. Me Too, (1973).

About 35 items.

Outline and notes (about 5 items); complete drafts (3 items, totaling about 375 pages); galley proofs and page proofs (2 items, totaling about 170 pages); and correspondence (25 items).

Folder 51

Outline and notes

Folder 52

Draft 1

Folder 53

Draft 2

Folder 54

Draft 3

Folder 55

Galley Proofs

Folder 56

Page Proofs

Folder 57

Correspondence 1972-1974

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.10. The Whys and Wherefores of Littabelle Lee, (1973).

About 38 items.

Scattered chapters and pages (about 25 pages); complete drafts (4 items, totaling about 500 pages); galley proofs (2 items, totaling about 100 pages); and correspondence (31 items).

Folder 58

Draft 1

Folder 59

Scattered chapters and pages

Folder 60

Draft 2

Folder 61

Draft 3

Folder 62

Draft 4

Folder 63

Galley Proofs

Folder 64

Correspondence 1972-1974

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.11. Dust of the Earth, (1975).

About 12 items.

Complete and partial drafts (3 items, totaling about 340 pages); galley proofs and page proofs (2 items, totaling about 200 pages); and correspondence (6 items).

Folder 65

Draft 1

Folder 66

Partial Draf

Folder 67

Draft 2

Folder 68

Galley Proofs

Folder 69

Page Proofs

Folder 70

Correspondence

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.12. Trial Valley, (1977).

About 23 items.

Complete drafts (5 items, totaling about 600 pages); galley proofs and page proofs (3 items, totaling about 260 pages); jacket design (1 item); and correspondence (14 items).

Folder 71

Draft 1

Folder 72

Draft 2

Folder 73

Draft 3

Folder 74

Draft 4

Folder 75

Draft 5

Folder 76

Galley Proofs

Folder 77

Page Proofs

Folder 78

Jacket Design (improperly titled)

Folder 79

Correspondence 1976-1980

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.13. Queen of Hearts, (1978).

About 24 items.

Complete drafts (3 items, totaling about 360 pages); scattered pages with corrections (about 20 pages); galley proofs and page proofs (4 items, totaling about 460 pages); and correspondence (16 items).

Folder 80

Draft 1

Folder 81

Draft 2

Folder 82

Scattered pages

Folder 83

Draft 3

Folder 84

Galley Proofs

Folder 85

Galley Proofs

Folder 86

Galley Proofs

Folder 87

Page Proofs

Folder 88

Correspondence 1977-1981

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.14. A Little Destiny, (1979).

About 21 items.

Synopsis and notes (5 items); complete drafts (4 items, totaling about 500 pages); galley proofs and page proofs (3 items, totaling about 250 pages); and correspondence (9 items).

Folder 89

Synopsis and Notes

Folder 90

Draft 1

Folder 91

Draft 2

Folder 92

Draft 3

Folder 93

Draft 4

Folder 94

Galley Proofs

Folder 95

Page Proofs

Folder 96

Correspondence 1978-1979

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.15. The Kissimmee Kid, (1981).

About 25 items.

Outlines and notes (5 items, totaling about 20 pages); complete drafts (4 items, totaling about 480 pages); galley proofs and page proofs (2 items, totaling about 260 pages); and correspondence (14 items).

Folder 97

Outlines and Notes

Folder 98

Draft l

Folder 99

Draft 2

Folder 100

Draft 3

Folder 101

Draft 4

Folder 102

Galley Proofs

Folder 103

Page Proofs

Folder 104

Correspondence 1979-1980

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.16. Hazel Rye, (1982).

About 31 items.

Outlines and notes (15 items, totaling about 50 pages); complete drafts (5 items, totaling about 560 pages); galley proofs (2 items, totaling about 360 pages); jacket design and notes (3 items); and correspondence (6 items).

Folder 105

Outlines and Notes

Folder 106

Draft 1

Folder 107

Draft 2

Folder 108

Draft 3

Folder 109

Draft 4

Folder 110

Draft 5

Folder 111

Galley Proofs

Folder 112

Galley Proofs

Folder 113

Jacket Design and Notes

Folder 114

Correspondence 1981-1982

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.17. Sugar Blue, (1984).

About 23 items.

Outlines and notes (1 item, totaling about 30 pages); complete drafts (2 items, totaling about 190 pages); galley proofs (2 items, totaling about 310 pages); and correspondence (18 items).

Folder 115

Outlines and Notes

Folder 116

Drafts 1 and 2 (interleaved)

Folder 117

Draft 3

Folder 118

Galley Proofs

Folder 119

Galley Proofs

Folder 120

Correspondence 1982-1983

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subseries 1.18. Sweetly Sings the Donkey, (1985).

About 12 items.

Complete drafts (3 items, totaling about 360 pages); galley proofs (3 items, totaling about 450 pages); blueline (1 item); page proofs (1 item); and correspondence (4 items).

Folder 121

Drafts 1 and 2 (interleaved)

Folder 122

Draft 2

Folder 123

Draft 3

Folder 124

Galley Proofs

Folder 125

Galley Proofs

Folder 126

Galley Proofs

Folder 127

Blueline

Folder 128

Page Proofs

Folder 129

Correspondence

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. General Correspondence, 1968-1982.

About 215 items.

Arrangement: chronological.

Correspondence with publishers and with professors of education and librarianship, most of them at institutions in Appalachia; and a few fan letters. There is very little of a personal nature; topics discussed include reviews of the Cleavers' books and the arrangement of speaking engagements.

Folder 130-141

Folder 130

Folder 131

Folder 132

Folder 133

Folder 134

Folder 135

Folder 136

Folder 137

Folder 138

Folder 139

Folder 140

Folder 141

Correspondence, 1968-1982

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Addition of January 1993 (Acc. 93006).

Filed in Boxes 7 and 8

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