University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Vincent Sheean and Ruth Falkenau Correspondence 1919-1986

© 2015 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Sheean, Vincent and Ruth Falkenau. Correspondence




0.25 linear feet (1 box)


Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Letters and texts sent by journalist and novelist Vincent Sheean and his wife Diana Sheean to Ruth Falkenau between 1919 and 1986. Includes personal correspondence describing Sheean's work and travels and a manuscript, "The Voice of the Turtle."

Information on Use


The collection is open for research.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Sheean, Vincent and Ruth Falkenau. Correspondence, [Box #, Folder #], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Vincent Sheean was born James Vincent Sheean on December 5, 1899 in Pana, Illinois. He studied at the University of Chicago from 1916 to 1918, but left the University before graduation to become a reporter, briefly in Chicago, then for the New York Daily News. From the 1920s through the 1940s, Sheean served as a foreign correspondent in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, writing for the Chicago Tribune, Saturday Evening Post, and New York Herald Tribune, among other publications. He published several novels works of biography and autobiography. Sheean and Diana Forbes-Robertson were married in 1935, and later divorced and remarried. Vincent Sheean died in Italy in 1975.

Ruth Falkenau was born on September 28, 1895 to Esther Friend Greenebaum and Harry Falkenau, a well-regarded Chicago antiquarian. Falkenau received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in 1918. Her friendship and correspondence with Sheean continued from their student days at the University until his death in 1975.

Scope Note

The Vincent Sheean and Ruth Falkenau Correspondence contains forty-eight letters. Many of the letters document Sheean’s life as a writer shortly after leaving the University of Chicago in 1918, and his travels in Europe and Asia as a foreign correspondent from the 1920s through the 1950s.

The collection also contains correspondence between Falkenau and Sheean's wife Diana, following his death in 1975, correspondence with biographers of Sheean, and a 1920 manuscript, “The Voice of the Turtle.”

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Box 1   Folder 1

James Vincent Sheean to Ruth Falkenau, 1919-1920

Box 1   Folder 2

James Vincent Sheean to Ruth Falkenau, 1920-1927

Box 1   Folder 3

James Vincent Sheean to Ruth Falkenau, 1928-1939

Box 1   Folder 4

James Vincent Sheean to Ruth Falkenau, 1940-1958, undated

Box 1   Folder 5

Diana Sheean to Ruth Falkenau, 1975-1986

Box 1   Folder 6

“The Voice of the Turtle,” December 8, 1920