Madeleine B. Stern papers

Madeleine B. Stern papers

Dates: 1944-1998

Collection includes correspondence, financial records, manuscripts, transcripts, and photocopies from the years of 1944 to 1998. Financial records and correspondence relate to her book business, Antiquarian Booksellers. Correspondence, transcripts, and photocopies relate to her own work as an author and items she has collected regarding Louisa May Alcott.

  • Extent: 10 boxes (5 linear ft.). -- 22 cartons (22 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Stern, Madeleine B., 1912-2007
  • Call Number: MSS 1486
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84606;
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research.
Languages and Scripts
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from Madeleine B. Stern collection of papers must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS 1486; Madeleine B. Stern collection of papers; 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS 1486, LTPSC.
Custodial History
Donated by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern between 1984 and 2002.
Acquisition Information
Donated; Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern; 1984-2002.
Subject Terms
Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888; Fuller, Margaret, 1810-1850; Rostenburg, Leona; Stern, Madeleine B., 1912-2007--Archives; American literature--19th century--Bibliography; Antiquarian booksellers; Authors, American--20th century; Business, Industry, Labor, and Commerce
Genre / Form
Financial records; Letters; Manuscripts, American; Photocopies; Transcripts
Processing Information
Processed; Amanda Clark; May 2008.
Appraisal Information
LDS, Utah, and Western American women (Collection development policy of 20th Century Western and Mormon Manuscripts, August 2007).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Stern (Madeleine B.) papers
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Amanda Clark and Karen Glenn, student processors, and John M. Murphy, curator
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2010-12-09T17:35-0700
Finding Aid Language
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

Maedeleine B. Stern (1912-), dealer in rare books and biographer, especially of Louisa May Alcott and other 19th century authors.

Madeleine B. Stern was born to Moses R. and Lillie Mack Stern in New York City 1 July 1912. She received her B.A. degree from Barnard in 1932 and her M.A. (degrees in English Literature) from Columbia University in 1933. Her biography of Margaret Fuller was written partly in Ogunquit, Maine, where she spent several summers. She contributed many articles on various literary subjects to the Sewanee Review, the New England Quarterly, Americana, The South Atlantic Quarterly, etc. (from inside back cover of The Life of Margaret Fuller, 1942). On the merits of this text, Madeleine was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to work on a biography of Louisa May Alcott. When the Fellowship expired, Madeleine taught English in secondary schools to support herself until March 1945, when she resigned as a teacher and became the business partner of her friend and co-worker, Leona Rostenberg, in the sale of rare books. From 1945 to 1991, while in that trade, she amused herself by researching alternately rare (often foreign) books and 19th century America.

In that time, she produced numerous volumes on her favorite research subject, Louisa May Alcott, including a biography of the same title. Her partner, Leona, discovered four of Alcott’s unknown thrillers, as a result Madeleine wrote Behind a Mask: The Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, 1975; Plots and Counterplots: More Unknown Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, 1976; A Double Life: Newly Discovered Thrillers of Louisa May Alcott, 1988; and Freaks of Genius, 1991. Subsequently, Madeleine also edited Critical Essays on Louisa May Alcott (1984), A Modern Mephistopheles, and Taming a Tartar (1987); and co-edited Selected Letters (1987), Journals (1988), and Selected Fiction (1991).

Apart from her research on Louisa May Alcott, Stern also wrote books on assorted obscure figures in 19th American history, such as Stephen Pearl Andrews, Margaret Fuller (aforementioned), Mrs. Frank Leslie, Dr. Isabel Barrows, Victoria Woodhull, etc., as well as about 19th century life and 19th century women in general. Also, she authored several bibliographies on rare books and booksellers.

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John Murphy
Curator - 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts