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Helen Ann Raiber papers

Identifier: MSS 0981

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the adolescent works of Helen Ann Raiber, starting at age eleven and lasting through her teenage years into adulthood, as well as letters from various authors and artists to whom she wrote. The letters are kept in an album with associated photographs and additional items. Most are written and received in response to Raiber’s fan mail. Among the correspondents, many are authors, such as Florence Crannell Means, Beulah Marie Dix, Ursula Moray Williams, and Elizabeth Janet Gray. Other correspondents include composer Charles Wakefield Cadman, cartoonist Murat Bernard “Chic” Young, and jazz artist Sidney Bechet. Most of the letters from authors discuss the author's own work, including several stories that were published in the periodical American Girl. Many of the letters contain advice, comments on Helen’s aspiration to be a writer and her writing skills, and questions about her own work. There is at least one letter, the letter from actor George Gaynes in 1953, which briefly discusses an article Raiber published about him.

Raiber's earliest dated work in this collection is a bound journal containing “My Storys and Poems,” which was hand-written and -illustrated by her beginning in December 1937. The story is about the adventures of a teddy bear and doll during Christmas time. The collection also contains clippings of some of her published writings, such as poems, essays, and short stories. Most are undated, but one clipping shows that it was published in The Seminary Opinator on February 19, 1943.


  • Creation: 1937-1970
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1937-1943


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Biographical Information

Helen Ann Raiber was born in 1926 in Pennsylvania to Nicholas Haumann Raiber and Mary Belle Barnhart. She had one older brother, Richard, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II (1942-1946). She spent a good portion of her childhood living in Kingston, Pennsylvania, and attended Kingston High School for at least her first two years of high school. Growing up, she was an avid reader and she aimed to become a published writer. As reported in a 1941 profile on her, which was published in the Wilkes-Barre Times, Raiber wrote to many writers and artists whom she admired, asking for their advice so she could one day successfully write and illustrate her own novels. She kept an album of responses she received.

Raiber published various writings in the Seminary Opinator, the weekly publication of Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School, where she presumably attended for her last few years of high school. She likely continued to publish into adulthood.

In 1958, she married William Wayne Bewley. She died in 1971.

1930 Federal Census (accessed via on September 8, 2021) 1940 Federal Census (accessed via on September 8, 2021) Pennsylvania, Veteran Compensation Application Files, WWII, 1950-1966 (accessed via on September 16, 2021) Dangerfield, Kay. "Palette Vignettes of the Valley." The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, The Evening News, March 12, 1941. "U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012"; School Name: Kingston High School; Year: 1940 (accessed via on September 8, 2021) "U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012"; School Name: Kingston High School; Year: 1941 (accessed via on September 8, 2021)


0.33 linear foot (1 box)


Helen Ann Raiber (1926-1971) was a writer born and raised in Pennsylvania. Throughout her life, she wrote letters to writers and other artists whose work she admired. The Helen Ann Raiber papers consist of an album of letters she received from authors and artists, a journal with a story she wrote as a child, and a scrapbook containing her published poems and articles.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Raiber family, 2004.


Sheet music for "Will You Remember (Sweetheart)," written by Sigmund Romberg, was removed because of moldy condition.

Physical Description

Some clippings and photographs in the letters album are loose.

Rights Statement

The text of this web page can be reused and modified under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. (

Shelving Summary

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Julianna Salak, September 2021.

Finding aid for Helen Ann Raiber papers
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections.
2021 October 4
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

181 South College Avenue
Newark DE 19717-5267 USA