Spence, Hartzell, 1908-2001

Alternative names
Birth 1908-02-15
Death 2001-05-09

Biographical notes:

Born in Clarion, Iowa, the son of a minister, Hartzell Spence graduated magna cum laude from the University of Iowa in 1930. From 1930 to 1941 he was the United Press bureau manager in Des Moines, and saw service during WW II in the Army Air Force where he was the founder and first editor of Yank, the Army weekly newspaper. He was removed as editor after fifteen months because of creative differences. After the war, he worked as a free-lance writer, particularly noted for his reporting on religion. He published several novels and wrote a comic strip (David Crane). His first published novel was One Foot in Heaven, which became a best-seller and went through three printings. It was made into a motion picture starring Frederic March and Martha Scott in 1941. He wrote a sequel, Get Thee Behind Me, which was also very popular. He wrote the scripts for the weekly radio program, "One Foot in Heaven", broadcast on the ABC network, 1944-1945. By 1947, Spence was a gentleman farmer at his home, Gaston Hall, a thirty-room, 700 acre estate in Virginia. Spence turned his experiences with the old showplace into a book titled Happily Ever After. Hartzell Spence died in May 2001.

From the description of Papers of Hartzell Spence, 1941-1962 late 1950s-early1960s. (University of Iowa Libraries). WorldCat record id: 236100635


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  • Radio journalists--Archives
  • Authors, American--Archives


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  • Iowa (as recorded)