Vincent Sheean Personal History Essay

Diana Sheean, an author and the widow of Vincent Sheean, died of a stroke complicated by pneumonia at St. Stephen's Hospital in London last Wednesday. She was 72 years old.

The daughter of Sir Johnston Forbes-Robertson and Lady Gertrude Forbes-Robertson, a well-known actor and actress, Mrs. Sheean was born in London and spent most of her childhood in Kent, near the cliffs of Dover. ''There the great events of the village,'' she recalled, ''were the arrivals of Channel swimmers and German mines, which still washed up on the beach from time to time.''

Mrs. Sheean, whose nickname was Dinah, wrote several books, including ''The Battle of Waterloo Road'' (1941), illustrated by Robert Capa's photographs, about the people in Britain during the war; ''War Letters From Britain'' (1941), edited with Roger W. Straus Jr.; ''A Cat and a King'' (1949), a novel about the theater, and ''My Aunt Maxine'' (1964), a biography of her aunt, Maxine Elliott, the American actress. #3 Plays 'Fizzed Out'

She was educated at boarding schools and at a French school in London, and she lived for several months with a family in Vienna. Her only connection with the theater, aside from the involvement of her parents, was writing three plays that, in her words, ''fizzed out.''

In 1935 she married Vincent Sheean, the noted American foreign correspondent, whose book ''Personal History'' was published to great success that year. They traveled widely in Spain, Czechoslovakia and elsewhere in Europe before settling in the United States.

During those travels Mrs. Sheean wrote dispatches to The New York Herald Tribune, and before and during World War II she was active in committees raising money and distributing food for Spanish refugee children and victims of Nazism.

Continue reading the main story

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Sheean, Vincent, 1899-1975.
Title: Vincent Sheean Papers
Inclusive Dates: 1940-1965
Quantity: 2.0 linear ft.
Abstract: Papers of the American author, journalist. Collection includes correspondence; manuscript articles, books, book reviews, plays, radio broadcasts, short stories, and speeches; and clippings.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

James Vincent Sheean (1899-1975) was an American journalist, novelist and biographer.

Born in Christian County, Illinois on Dec. 5, 1899 to William and Susan Sheean, he attended the University of Chicago. Sheean's best-known works are Personal History (1935), a political memoir, and Not Peace But a Sword (1939). Other books include Lily (1954), Mahatma Ghandi (1955), Nehru, Ten Years of Power (1959), and Dorothy and Red (1963), about Dorothy Thompson and Sinclair Lewis.

In 1935, he married Diana Forbes-Robertson, the daughter of Sir Johnston and Lady Forbes-Robertson, with whom he had two daughters. During the latter part of his life he resided in Ariolo, Italy.

Return to top

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Vincent Sheean Papers consist of correspondence, subject files, manuscripts, and published material.

Correspondence contains both incoming and outgoing correspondence.

Subject files contains manuscripts, published material, and a photograph.

Manuscripts includes manuscripts of articles, books, book reviews, plays, radio broadcasts, short stories, speeches, a story outline, and a symposium. It also includes a galley proof.

Published material contains newspaper clippings by and about Sheean.

Return to top

Arrangement of the Collection

Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author; outgoing is arranged chronologically. Subject files are arranged alphabetically by subject. Manuscripts are subdivided by type and within that arranged alphabetically by title.

Return to top


Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Return to top

Subject Headings


Lewis, Sinclair, 1885-1951.

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962.

Sheean, Vincent, 1899-1975 -- Dorothy and Red.

Sheean, Vincent, 1899-1975.

Thompson, Dorothy, 1893-1961.

White, Leigh, 1914-


Authors, American.

Journalism -- United States.

Journalists -- United States.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)


Galley proofs.

Manuscripts for publication.





Return to top

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Vincent Sheean Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Vincent Sheean.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: [Summit record]
Date: Feb 1967
Revision history: 22 Jul 2009 - converted to EAD (MRC); 22 Feb 2012 - updated box #s (MRC); 12 Sep 2016 - updates/corrections (MS)

Return to top


Box 1B-W, unidentified
Box 1Churchill, Winston, Sir (his Private Secretary)
Box 1Hammerstein, Arthur
Box 1Marshall, George C., General
Box 1Roosevelt, Eleanor
Box 1White, Leigh 1946-1949
Box 11940, 1948, undated
Subject files
Box 1Birth certificate
Box 1Chiang Kai-Shek
Box 1Contracts
Box 1Hammerstein, Oscar
Box 1Lists
Box 1Photograph of Colin Kelly
Box 1Research material
Box 1Wireless press messages
Box 1"Air War Story"
Box 1"Alexandra Tolstoy"
Box 1"America and the Peace"
Box 1"An American and the Big Four"
Box 1"Batavia"
Box 1"Bernard Shaw and the Twentieth Century"
Box 1"Between the Thunder and the Sun"
Box 1"Cairo and the Arab Center"
Box 1"Capitals at War" (4 copies)
Box 1"China is Vital to Us"
Box 1"Chinese Influence in Asia"
Box 1"Civilian Defense: English and American" (2 copies)
Box 1"Cradle and All" - Part 1, 2 copies; Part 2, 1 copy; Part 3, 2 copies (5 items)
Box 1"Death and Transfiguration"
Box 1"Don Carlo"
Box 1"England and Egypt"
Box 1"The Fighting Irish"
Box 1"The French Crisis"
Box 1"Impressions of Tokyo"
Box 1"The International Brigades of England"
Box 1"Labor and the British Labor Party"
Box 1"MacArthur's Tokyo"
Box 1"Metropolitan Opera House"
Box 2"On the Public Apathy"
Box 2"The Permanent French Crisis"
Box 2"The Return of the Native"
Box 2"Untitled Article in Ireland"
Box 2"What a Hitler Victory Would Mean to the United States"
Box 2"The Windsors"
Box 2"The Winning of the Way"
Box 2"A Woman for President"
Box 2Fragments
Box 2From the Far East
Box 2Untitled 1940
Box 2Untitled 1948-1949, 1951
Box 2Untitled undated
Box 2Notes, "Thy Brother's Keeper"
Book reviews
Box 2Miscellaneous
Box 2Beware of Caesar - Chapters I-XI (4 folders)
Dorothy and Red
Box 2Chapters I-VI
Box 3Chapters VII-XI, Epilogue, Index
Box 3Galley proofs (3 folders)
Box 3The Family Album
Box 4Oscar Hammerstein
Box 4The Pieces of a Fan
Box 4An International Incident
Box 4Money Talks
Box 4Inheritance
Box 4Wake Island
Radio broadcasts
Box 4Miscellaneous
Short stories
Box 4At Loch Key
Box 4The Great Embankment
Box 4The Impecunious Eunuch
Box 4The Luck of Tommy Thomas
Box 4The Sealskin Coat
Box 4When the Bud is Perfect
Box 4Miscellaneous
Story outlines
Box 4Russian Easter
Box 4[Untitled] (4 copies)
Box 4Fragment, pages 75-124

Return to top

Categories: 1

0 Replies to “Vincent Sheean Personal History Essay”

Leave a comment

L'indirizzo email non verrà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *