Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Story Press
Princeton University. Library. Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Story Magazine and Story Press Records
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
272 boxes
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-272


Consists of the fairly complete working business files of the original Story and other related publishing ventures of owner-editors Martha Foley and Whit and Hallie Burnett, and the new Story author files of Richard and Lois Rosenthal. Included are editorial and personal correspondence, business and financial records, and artwork.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of the fairly complete working business files of the original Story (1931-1967) and other related publishing ventures of owner-editors Martha Foley, Whit and Hallie Burnett, and the new Story (1989-1999) author files of Richard and Lois Rosenthal. The collection includes editorial and personal correspondence, business and financial records, and artwork. Among the numerous writers represented in the files are Ludwig Bemelmans, Erskine Caldwell, Truman Capote, Joseph Heller, Norman Mailer, Carson McCullers, William Peden, J. D. Salinger, William Saroyan, Jesse Stuart, and Tennessee Williams, plus new writers who have gone on to garner literary acclaim since 1989. Special format materials consist of photographs, scrapbooks, phonograph records and tape recordings, and printed materials.

Some of the J. D. Salinger-related materials are photocopies of photocopies. There is currently no information about where the original materials are.


The collection has been arranged primarily in alphabetical series by author, with approximately 30 boxes containing the Burnetts' personal papers and manuscripts not directly related to Story. The 44 boxes of 1989-1999 Story author files are arranged alphabetically by author and story title.

Collection Creator Biography:

Story Press

Story magazine was founded in 1931 by journalist and editor Whit Burnett and his first wife, Martha Foley. The inaugural April/May 1931 issue of Story (167 copies) was printed on an old mimeograph machine in Vienna, Austria, and featured short stories by new authors. In 1933, the printing of Story was moved to New York City. Burnett and Foley created The Story Press in 1936. By the late 1930s, Story's circulation had reached as high as 21,000 copies. Authors discovered and published by Story in those early, fruitful years included Joseph Heller, J. D. Salinger, Tennessee Williams, and Richard Wright. Story also published the early work of such authors as Carson McCullers, William Saroyan, and Ludwig Bemelmans, and sponsored numerous awards, including W.P.A., Armed Forces, and an annual college fiction contest.

Beginning in 1942, Burnett's second wife, Hallie Southgate Burnett, collaborated with him on both The Story Press and Story, with the latter publishing the early work of Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and John Knowles. In the early 1950s, Story was briefly published in book form. The original magazine format returned in 1960, and endured until publication was suspended in 1967 due to a lack of funds. However, Story's name continued to live on through the Story College Creative Awards, of which Whit Burnett was director from 1966 to 1971.

After a twenty-year hiatus, Story was revived as a quarterly magazine by publisher Richard Rosenthal and editor Lois Rosenthal, also a husband and wife team, who fulfilled their promise to Whit Burnett that they would relaunch Story one day. This new version of Story was published from 1989 to 1999, under the auspices of F & W Publications in Cincinnati, Ohio. Story was a five-time finalist and two-time winner of the National Magazine Award for fiction, and had a circulation of over 40,000 subscribers. The Rosenthals carried on the Story tradition of publishing a mix of well-known authors, such as Andrea Barrett, Barry Lopez, Joyce Carol Oates, and Carol Shields, and new authors, such as Junot Díaz, Elizabeth Graver, and Abraham Rodriguez. In late 1999, owing to the impending sale of F & W Publications, the Rosenthals made the decision to end their stewardship of Story with the publication of a final Winter 2000 issue.

1931 Story is founded by Whit Burnett and his first wife, Martha Foley, in Vienna. 1932 Story is printed in Palma, Majorca. 1933 Story transfers its printing to New York City. 1936 The Story Press is founded in New York 1942 Hallie Burnett, Whit Burnett's second wife, becomes co-editor of Story and The Story Press. 1948 Publication of Story magazine is suspended (due to financial difficulties). 1951 Story is published in book form (until 1953). 1960 Story is reactivated by Whit and Hallie Burnett (with William Peden and Richard Wathen Princeton '39 as associate editors). 1966 Story is acquired by Scholastic Magazines, Inc. 1967 Publication of Story is suspended by the Burnetts. 1989 Story magazine and The Story Press is relaunched by Richard and Lois Rosenthal in Cincinnati, Ohio. 1999 The Rosenthals end their publication of Story with the Winter 2000 issue.

Collection History


Princeton University Library made the initial purchase from Whit and Hallie Burnett in 1965, which was later followed by gifts from William Peden in 1969, Hallie Burnett Zeisel in 1979, a bequest from the estate of Hallie Burnett Zeisel in 1998, and a gift by Richard and Lois Rosenthal in 1999 and 2015.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sylvia Yu and Heather Shannon in 2000. Finding aid written by Sylvia Yu and Heather Shannon in 2000.

The collection title was updated in 2022 by Faith Charlton to be closer in alignment with DACS. Although multiple parties are associated with the collection's provenance, technically making this an assembled collection, the bulk of the collection is from the creator; thus Princeton Univeristy Library was not included in the title as the creator. PUL as a corporate body was added as the collector.

In 2022, restrictions on Ernest Hemingway and J. D. Salinger materials where researchers were required to use surrogates were lifted as part of a restrictions review project.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Story Magazine and Story Press Records; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-272

Find More

Related Materials

Burnett, Whit. The Literary Life and the Hell with It (Harper, 1939).


Wallace Stevens' letters were published in the Glenn MacLeod article "A New Version of Wallace Stevens," Princeton University Library Chronicle, XLI(1):22-29, Autumn 1979.

Most of the information in the historical note is summarized and compiled from "What's STORY magazine? - A Brief History," published on the Writer's Digest website at:,as well as from the Gale Literary Databases and the Story collection files.

Subject Terms:
American fiction -- 20th century.
Authors and publishers -- United States -- 20th century.
Novelists, American -- 20th century.
Periodicals -- Publishing -- United States -- 20th century.
Publishers and publishing -- New York (State) -- New York-- 20th century.
Short stories, American -- 20th century.
Genre Terms:
Business records -- 20th century.
Correspondence -- 20th century
Story Press