Guide to Harry Ferman Letters

Collection Summary

Title: Harry Ferman Letters
Call Number: MS 98-11
Size: 0.25 linear feet
Acquisition: Donated by Ralph Finnell.
Processed by: JLY, 01/2001

Literary Rights

Literary rights were not granted to Wichita State University. When permission is granted to examine manuscripts, it is not an authorization to publish them. Manuscripts cannot be used for publication without regard for common law literary rights, copyright laws and the laws of libel. It is the responsibility of the researcher and his/her publisher to obtain permission to publish. Scholars and students who eventually plan to have their work published are urged to make inquiry regarding overall restrictions on publication before initial research.

Content Note

The collection consists of four letters written by Harry Ferman to his friend Ralph Finnell. The letters were written between the years 1944 and 1945. Each of the letters also has artwork drawn by Ferman.

Administrative History

Harry Ferman became the editorial artist for the Wichita Beacon newspaper in 1930 while also producing artwork for the Beacon's Sunday magazine section and providing illustrations for books. Ferman became well known for his letter writing, especially for the sketches he would add to each one written. The recipients of these letters were known as "Fermanites" and lived throughout the nation. In 1960 the Eagle purchased the Beacon and Ferman went to work for Boeing in the art department. Harry Ferman died April 28, 1973.

Series Listing

Series 1 Box 1 Letters and Envelopes. This collection consists of 4 letters written by Harry Ferman to Ralph Finnell between 1944 and 1945. The letters are decorated by drawings also done by Ferman. Also in the collection are 3 envelopes addressed from Ferman to Finnell.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1 -- Letters and Envelopes
Box 1 FF 1 "Saturday": The letter is two pages long. Drawings on the first page include a nude woman sunbathing in a desert with a large cactus nearby, the sun above has a face. The drawing on the second page is of a woman with a short skirt and small top walking. In the letter Ferman quotes from a letter received from his friend Pottorf and notes that his daughter is now nearly 5 months old.
Box 1 FF 2 "Droopy Monday- Office": The letter is one page front side only. The drawings include a female devil-like creature standing inside a cave looking out to a male devil-like creature. In the letter Ferman mentions his mothers illness and details the actions of his coworkers.
Box 1 FF 3 "Saturday June 2": The letter is written on 1 page, front and back. The drawings on the front side include an eye, 2 female heads, and a small female nude. There is no drawing on the back. The letter discusses the days events at the Beacon.
Box 1 FF 4 "Monday- At the Office April 9, 1945": The letter is written on 1 page, front and back. The drawings on the front include an eye, an upside down city skyline, a nude female pixie riding a bubble beckoning to a drooping looking male creature. In the lower left hand corner the papers has been burnt so that the corner is missing. A cigarette has been drawn with the ash being the only part left of the corner. The back has no drawings. The letter discusses the staff of the Beacon and their daily activities.
Box 1 FF 5 Envelopes. There are 3 envelopes all addressed to Ralph Finnell. Each has a handwritten return address to Ferman in the upper left hand corner. They are postmarked May 21, 1944, July 22, 1944, and April 9, 1945, all from Wichita, Kansas.