Guide to the Elizabeth Marion Saunders Papers 1933-1989
Cage 629

Summary Information

Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Saunders, Elizabeth Marion
Elizabeth Marion Saunders Papers
Cage 629
Date [inclusive]
2 containers., 1 linear feet of shelf space.
Collection materials are in English.
Papers include drafts of writings, correspondence, journals, two scrapbooks and miscellaneous papers related to literary and cultural interests.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]. Cage 629, Elizabeth Marion Saunders Papers . Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Elizabeth Marion Saunders (born 1916) was raised on a farm near Spangle, Washington, where she graduated top in her class from Fairfield High School in 1933. After graduation, she worked for several years in the newsroom of the Spokesman-Review. During this period, she met Ruby El Hult and Eleanor Garst, the three of whom formed a literary friendship that lasted throughout their lives. As Garst was later to reminisce, "I and Ruby were gonna change the world. . . so, in our fashion, we did. . ."

By 1950, Saunders had authored three books under her maiden name, Elizabeth Marion: The Day Will Come (1939),  Ellen Spring (1941), and  The Keys to the House (1944). She also apparently wrote two subsequent manuscripts, but became discouraged when unable to find a publisher for them. In the aftermath, she largely abandoned novel writing. Her two unpublished manuscripts have since disappeared.

She did, however, continue to record her observations and thoughts in journals and letters that are included in her papers. The collection contains Betty's Chronicles, (1945-1947),  Mildred's journal (1959 and 1960), and the  Cockalorum Chronicles (c. 1979) which comprised letters between Saunders and Hult. Since Saunders lived in eastern Washington's rural farm country, her writings are replete with references to nature and the changing seasons. Additionally, she shares progressive thoughts with her friends concerning politics and culture.

She married Eugene D. Saunders of Rockford in 1954, a man whom she met while working as the managing editor of the town's Standard-Register. Some of Saunders writing from this period is preserved in the collection and includes material relating to the region's history and economics, as well as perceptive social and political commentary. Her columns were titled Drips from a Leaky Faucet and  Marionettes.

In 1988 she suffered a stroke that left her incapacitated. She died in 1993.

There is some evidence of feminist thought in Saunders writings and in the literature she collected. Joseph Kinsey Howard's The Sun Dance, for example, revolves around a strong Indian woman who exhibits extraordinary courage and strength.

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Scope and Content

The papers of Elizabeth Marion Saunders consist of drafts of writings, correspondence, journals, two scrapbooks and miscellaneous paper related to literary and cultural interests.

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The papers are arranged topically and include a variety of materials collected by Elizabeth Marion Saunders. Her writings are grouped into articles that she wrote for the newspapers at which she was employed, her journals, an unpublished manuscript, and a copy of one of her published books, Ellen Spring. In addition to Saunder's writings, the papers include her correspondence, two scrapbooks, and miscellaneous papers relating to her literary and cultural interests.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Washington State University Libraries Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections  © 2012

Terrell Library

P.O. Box 645610

Pullman, WA, 99164-5610 USA


Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research use.

Acquisition Information

The Washington State University Libraries acquired the papers of author Elizabeth Marion Saunders from her sister, Shirley Gardner of Fairfield, Washington, in 1990 (Accession MS90-22). In 1993, an anonymous donor contributed the journals which Saunders penned in 1959 and 1960 (MS93-33).

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Names and Subjects

Geographic Name(s)

  • Washington (State) -- History -- Archives

Personal Name(s)

Creator(s) :
  • Saunders, Elizabeth Marion--Archives
Subject(s) :
  • Saunders, Elizabeth Marion -- Correspondence
  • Hult, Ruby El, 1912- -- Correspondence
  • Garst, Eleanor -- Correspondence
  • Marion, Elizabeth, 1916-


  • American fiction -- Northwest, Pacific -- Women authors
  • Literature
  • Washington (State)

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Detailed Description of Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Articles by Elizabeth Marion Saunders 

box folder

Drips From a Leaky Faucet, and  Marionettes,  The Standard-Register (Rockford). (A smattering of EMS wisdom on the responsibilities of citizens living within a democracy and the price of progress.)  1952-ca 1955 

1 1

Hangman Creek,  The Standard-Register (Rockford) (With wit and humor Elizabeth Marion Saunders highlights how historical development impacted the local environs) 1952 

1 2

Wheat: Here in Poetic Wording Is the Stirring Saga of Those Who Raise This Region's Amber Grain,  The Spokesman-Review (Spokane) 1953 

1 3

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box folder

Bibliography of Washington Women Writers, She Who Watches, 1989 

1 4

Career, Elizabeth Marion Saunders ca 1950 

1 5


box folder

Eleanor Garst to Elizabeth Marion Saunders (References to Elizabeth Marion Saunders 's writing and her generosity.) 1945-1981 

1 6

Located in other repositories, Cornell, Princeton 1981 

1 7

Miscellaneous 1981 

1 8

Naomi and Paul, Experiences Abroad 1959 

1 9

Elizabeth Marion Saunders and Ruby El Hult, The Cockalorum Chronicles: New Words Between Old Friends, 1979 

1 10

Ruby's Guide to San Francisco 1964 

1 11

Ruby El Hult to Elizabeth Marion Saunders (Commentary on nature and Japanese literature.) 1989-1988 

1 12

Ruby El Hult to Shirly Gardner (Includes two letters, one written 27 Nov 1989 and the other 8 Dec 1989 reflecting on Elizabeth Marion Saunders 's life and career as an author.) 1988-1989 

1 13

Shirly Gardner in reference to Elizabeth Marion Saunders 's manuscripts 1989 

1 14

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box folder

Editing, Elizabeth Marion Saunders, Pavarotti plans Chicago benefit, undated 

1 15

Ellen Spring, Elizabeth Marion (  The story of one woman that is the story of every woman.) 1945 

1 16

The Growing of Native Species of Plants in the Spokane, Washington Area, undated 

1 17

Mildred's Journal, Elizabeth Marion Saunders 

box folder


1 18


1 19

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Literary Copy 

box folder

Academic; Using Manuscript Collections to Write History 1965 

1 20

The Sun Dance, by Joseph Kinsey Howard, Great Falls, Montana 1945 

1 21

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box folder

Memorabilia, Glen Adams, Publisher-Historian, Ye Galleon Press 1989-1990 

1 22

Newletters, Dishman Hills Natural Area Assn., Inc. 1981 

1 23

Personal Matters, Elizabeth Marion Saunders 1933-1954 

1 24

Publication Agreements and Copyright Renewal 1941-1971 

1 25


box folder

The Nothing Album, (Elizabeth Marion Saunders' collection of news articles, photographs, poems, and miscellanea.) 1960-1987 

2 26

A Woman's Book, (Elizabeth Marion Saunders' collection of miscellanea relevant to feminist subjects.) 1977-1986 

2 27

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Unpublished Manuscript 

box folder

Elizabeth Marion, Betty's Chronicles, (A chronicle of farm life in eastern Washington.) 1945-1947 

2 28

Elizabeth Marion Saunders and Ruby El Hult Odd Topic: Ruby and Lispet Play the Name Game, 1981 

2 29

Ruby El Hult, The Spiders and I, 1981 

2 30

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