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Register of the Lee Shippey Papers
MSS 0147  
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Lee Shippey Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1915-1970
    Collection number: MSS 0147
    Creator: Shippey, Lee
    Extent: 3.25 linear feet (5 archives boxes, 1 record carton and 2 oversize folders)
    Repository: Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD
    La Jolla, CA 92093-0175
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: The papers of Lee Shippey, writer and journalist for the LOS ANGELES TIMES (1923-1958), include correspondence, poetry, published and unpublished manuscripts, lyrics, scrapbooks, and newspaper clippings. The scrapbooks document his LOS ANGELES TIMES daily column "Leeside o' L.A.," and his weekly column "The Seymour Family," as well as articles and columns for San Diego area newspapers and from his two years in Mexico. The papers are arranged in five series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, 4) SCRAPBOOKS, and 5) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research

    Preferred Citation

    Lee Shippey Papers, MSS 0147. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.


    Lee Shippey was born on February 26, 1884, in Memphis, Tennessee. The start of his career in 1906 coincided with his accidental blinding; he dictated his first humor columns for the KANSAS CITY STAR from his bed. Shippey never regained full sight and, unable to enlist, became war correspondent for the newspaper during World War I. His story on the end of the war in Verdun, France, attracted the attention of LOS ANGELES TIMES publisher Harry Chandler.
    After the war, Shippey edited an English language newspaper for two years in Tampico, Mexico. In the early 1920s, he moved his family to California and contacted Chandler, beginning a long association with the TIMES. His popular column "Leeside o' L.A.: Personal Glimpses of Famous Southlanders," ran daily from 1927 to 1958. Shippey also wrote the columns "Martian Observer," "Joshua Little," "How It Looks to Mars," and "Needles-Eye View." His weekly column, "The Seymour Family," was a humorous look at American families.
    Though Shippey became known as the "dean of Southern California columnists," he had always aspired to be a poet. He published both poetry and prose, and was active in several professional writers organizations on both sides of the Atlantic. His published works include PERSONAL GLIMPSES OF FAMOUS FOLKS (1929) from "Leeside o' L.A.;" FOLKS YOU SHOULD KNOW (1930); WHERE NOTHING EVER HAPPENS (1935); THE GIRL WHO WANTED EXPERIENCE (1937); a textbook entitled CALIFORNIA PROGRESS (1937) co-authored with Herbert Floercky; THE GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY (1938); IF WE ONLY HAD MONEY (1939); IT'S AN OLD CALIFORNIA CUSTOM (1948); LOS ANGELES BOOK (1950); his autobiography, LUCKIEST MAN ALIVE (1959); and "The Chivalry of Adolescence" (1964), a chapter from THE GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY, reprinted in CHUCKLEBAIT: FUNNY STORIES FOR EVERYONE. Two of Shippey's books were adapted into plays by others: THE GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY ("The Great American Family: A Comedy") and IT'S AN OLD CALIFORNIA CUSTOM.
    Shippey retired to Del Mar, California, and contributed several columns to the SAN DIEGO UNION and DEL MAR SURFCOMBER: "Surfside o' Del Mar," "Southwest Corner," "Lee Shippey Says," and "Lee Shippey Asks" through the late 1960s. He died in Encinitas, California, on December 30, 1969.


    The Lee Shippey Papers contain biographical materials, memorabilia, correspondence, published and unpublished manuscripts, and scrapbooks containing clippings of Shippey's columns and articles. The papers date from 1915-1970, occupy 3.25 linear feet and are arranged in five series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS, 4) SCRAPBOOKS, and 5) NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS.
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series contains memorabilia, articles about Shippey and obituary notices.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series is arranged alphabetically by author. Notable correspondents include Linus Pauling, Adlai Stevenson, and writers James Hilton, Rupert Hughes, Walt Mason, Irving Stone, and Paul I. Wellman. Letters from Harry Chandler, LOS ANGELES TIMES publisher, are included in the correspondence of the Times-Mirror Co. Correspondence from Harriet Hinsdale and Irving Stone concerns a proposed Jack London state park in California.
    The WRITINGS series is arranged in three subseries: A) Lyrics, B) Poetry and C) Prose.
    A) The Lyrics subseries contains two works: "Candle Light" and "Doughboy."
    B) The Poetry subseries contains single poems arranged alphabetically by title or first line.
    C) The Prose subseries contains drafts of stories and books by Shippey, arranged alphabetically by title. Also included are reviews, galley proofs and page proofs of some works.
    The SCRAPBOOKS are arranged chronologically and primarily contain clippings of Shippey's published columns, articles and poetry. One scrapbook documents Shippey's travels in Mexico in the mid-1920s. Articles about Shippey, some correspondence and typescripts of columns are scattered throughout the scrapbooks.
    The NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS series documents Shippey's columns and contains "Lee Side o' L.A." galley proofs and "Needle's Eye Views of the World" clippings, as well as unorganized loose clippings of Shippey's articles and columns arranged by chronologically.