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RG3665.AM:  Francis Lynde Kroll, 1904-1973

Papers:  1939-1973

Lancaster, Cheyenne, Hitchcock, and Harlan Counties, Neb.:  Author; educator

Size:  2.0 cu.ft.; 4 boxes


Francis Lynde Kroll was born November 9, 1904, in Fairbury, Nebraska, the son of August and Maude Kroll. He attended the University of Nebraska, 1923-1926, but did not receive his degree. In 1926 he married Viola Hathaway; they had three sons. Kroll taught in the Nebraska and South Dakota school systems from 1927-1942 and again from 1955-1964. During the intervening years, he worked as a meat inspector for the Department of Agriculture. During his second tenure as a teacher, Kroll received his A.B. (1959) and M.A. (1962) degrees from Chadron State College at Chadron, Nebraska. From 1964 until his retirement in 1971, he served as Superintendent of Schools in the Nebraska towns of Sunol, Palisade, and Orleans.

Kroll’s writing career began in 1936, when he wrote a play for his students, and he wrote steadily until his death in 1973. He wrote primarily for the 9-13 years age group, publishing plays, novels, and short stories that were set on the western frontier. He published five books: Young Sioux Warrior, 1952, which won the Junior Literary Guild Award; Young Sandhills Cowboy, 1953; Young Crow Raider, 1954; Young Medicine Man, 1956; and Top Hand, 1965. His works also appeared in various magazines and anthologies.


This collection consists of three boxes of manuscript material arranged in eight series: 1) Correspondence, 1951-1973; 2) Autobiographical writings; 3) Plays; 4) Novels; 5) Short stories; 6) Articles; 7) Published newspaper and magazine articles, 1947-1961; and 8) Clippings. This collection relates to Francis Kroll’s writing as an author of plays, novels, and short stories having a western or frontier theme. Series 1 contains four folders of Correspondence; two folders of incoming letters, and two folders of outgoing letters. Incoming correspondence, 1951-1973, includes letters containing criticism and suggestions from various publishers. Royalty receipts and fan letters are also included. Outgoing correspondence, 1951-1973, consists primarily of cover letters being sent to publishers along with Kroll’s manuscripts.

Series 2 through Series 7 are comprised of Kroll’s writings: autobiographical sketches, plays, novels, short stories, and articles. Included with the autobiographical writings is a listing of the contents of the Francis Lynde Kroll Collection at the University of Oregon Library. Plays and novels are filed alphabetically. The short stories in Series 5 are primarily for grade school levels, 1-3. The non-fiction articles in Series 6 are designated for these grade levels. Some of these articles are untitled. Series 7 contains Kroll’s published newspaper and magazine articles and stories, 1939-1961. Series 8 consists primarily of newspaper clippings about Kroll. Some programs for conferences he participated in are also included.


Series 1 – Correspondence, 1951-1973

Box 1


  1. Incoming, 1951-1962

  2. Incoming, 1963-1973

  3. Outgoing, 1951-1963

  4. Outgoing, 1964-1973

Series 2 – Autobiographical Writings

  1. Autobiographical Writings – Includes list of the Francis L. Kroll Collection holdings at the University of Oregon Library

Series 3 – Plays

  1. “The Christmas Party”

    “Clothes Don’t Make the Scarecrow”

    “Court Poet”

    “East Street Trick or Treat”

    “A King is a King and a Fool is a Fool”

    “Lenin Slept Here”

  2. “Lucky Bill”

    “Rich Man – Beggar Man”

    “Rich Man – Poor Man”

    “The Scarecrow”

  3. “Sensible Nonsense”

    “Sparrow or Nightingale”

    “The Talking Scarecrow”

    “Tinkerer and Poet”

    “To Break a Witch’s Spell”

    “Trick or Treat Witches’ Style”

    “Troubles in Santa’s Workshop”

    “Witch Trouble”

Series 4 – Novels (typed copies)

Box 2


  1. China Siege

  2. Five Man Team

  3. The Giant of Herta

  4. Prairie Pioneer – (2 drafts, shortened and incomplete)

  5. Prisoner at Large

  6. Sandhill Cowboy (printer’s copy)

Box 3


  1. Sioux Journey (carbon)

  2. Top Hand (page proofs)

  3. Young Crow Raider (printer’s copy; jacket included)

  4. Untitled (2 drafts)

  5. Incomplete novel

  6. Fragments and miscellaneous pages

Series 5 – Short Stories

  1. Short stories, fiction – grade levels 1-3

Series 6 – Articles

  1. Articles non-fiction – grade levels 1-3 (some untitled)

Series 7 – Magazine and Newspaper Articles, 1939-1961

Box 4


  1. Published articles, 1939-1948

  2. Published articles, 1949-1961

Series 8 – Clippings

  1. Clippings



Authors — Nebraska

Children’s literature — Fiction

Educators — Nebraska

Kroll, Francis Lynde, 1904-1973


Encoded TMM   05-26-2010