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Sandy Asher Papers

Identifier: DG0042

Scope and Contents

The collection contains Asher's correspondence to the de Grummond Collection and materials related to fourteen of her published books and two of her short stories, as well as a partial typescript of a play and a printed article written by her.

The correspondence with the de Grummond Collection, consisting of photocopies of seventeen letters, is arranged chronologically and documents Asher's donations to the Collection since 1981. Materials related to books have been arranged alphabetically by title and within each title according to the probable order in which the materials were created, whenever possible to determine. In all instances, chapters of typescripts mentioned in the box inventory correspond to chapters in the published book and not necessarily to chapters as they appear in the typescripts.

Asher's lifelong interest in dance is reflected in her Ballet One series of books for elementary-level readers. They concern a group of third-grade friends who study ballet in the same beginners' class. Four books of this series are represented in the collection. For Best Friends Get Better (1989) the collection holds notes, sixteen complete typescripts, and one incomplete typescript of chapter 9. Can David Do It? (1991) is represented by notes, four complete typescripts, one incomplete typescript, the typescript of an unpublished chapter, and a letter to Asher from her editor. For Mary-In-the-Middle (1990) the collection holds a handwritten outline, notes, four complete or nearly complete typescripts and one incomplete typescript. For Pat's Promise (1990), holdings include the author's notes, nine complete type-scripts, two incomplete typescripts, and correspondence.

Daughters of the Law (1980) is a young adult novel about two girls, one of them Jewish, who become close friends in spite of their different backgrounds. This novel was Asher's first serious attempt at long fiction, and took ten years of numerous rewrites before it was completed. For this title the collection holds five complete typescripts and a partial outline. The earliest typescripts bear little resemblance to the finished book -- the two protagonists of the published novel, Ruthie and Denise, appear only as minor characters in the earliest drafts.

Everything is Not Enough (1987) is the story of Michael, a seventeen-year-old boy who must choose between the comfortable, yet stayed and predictable, life chosen for him by his parents and the uncertain future that awaits him if he follows his dreams and strikes out on his own. Holdings for this title include numerous research materials and notes, seven complete or nearly complete typescripts, one incomplete typescript, the typescript for an unpublished chapter, page proofs, and miscellaneous items. Several of the typescripts have irregular pagination and appear to be in a severe state of disorder.

Just Like Jenny (1982) also reflects Asher's love of ballet. The novel concerns Stephie and Jenny, two friends who have the potential to become great dancers but must discover if they have the dedication to match their talent. For this title the collection holds two typescripts, a letter to Asher from her editor, galleys, and an uncorrected proof.

The largest holdings in the collection are for Missing Pieces (1984), about a teenaged girl whose first romance helps her deal with both her father's recent death and her relationship with her emotionally-withdrawn mother. Included in the holdings are the author's notes, editorial comments by her husband, numerous typescripts of three different versions of the book, a letter to Asher from her editor, style sheets, and miscellaneous items.

Summer Begins (1980) is the story of Summer Smith, an eighth-grade girl who unwittingly creates a crisis in her school when she writes a controversial editorial for her class newspaper. This book was Asher's first published novel, which she wrote while still working on Daughters of the Law. For this title the collection holds a typescript, the first ten pages of which are missing.

Teddy Teabury's Fabulous Fact (1985), a book for upper-level elementary readers, tells how Teddy Teabury saves his community and his parents' business by putting his town on the map as the gerbil capital of the world. For this title there are notes, seven complete typescripts, several incomplete typescripts, and corrected pages. For the sequel, Teddy Teabury's Peanutty Problems (1989), there are notes, numerous typescripts, corrected pages, and correspondence to Asher from her publisher.

In Things Are Seldom What They Seem (1983), fourteen-year-old Maggie must deal with conflicting loyalties when she discovers that her sister's high school drama teacher takes more than a professional interest in his students. For this title, holdings include research materials, notes, typescripts, a letter to Asher from her publisher, galleys, and an uncorrected proof.

Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (1987) was written to help young writers develop ideas for stories. For this title the collection holds notes, five type- scripts, a letter from Asher to her agent, and a publicity sheet.Wild Words! How to Train Them to Tell Stories (1989) further instructs young writers in the art of crafting fiction. Parts of this book grew out of exercises conducted by Asher at a creative writing summer camp for adolescents at which she was a visiting author. The collection holds various materials related to this creative writing camp, such as Asher's handouts and photocopies of original stories written by her students. Some of the students' stories were published in Wild Words! For this title there are also three typed proposals, correspondence with the editor, the author's notes for corrections, and three typescripts.

Only two of Asher's short stories are represented in this first donated collection. For "Great Moves" there are three typescripts and a letter to Asher from her agent. For "Munch, Crunch and the Triple Escape" there is an undated typescript. No publication data for the latter story is currently available.

Asher is a playwright as well as a novelist, and many of her plays have been produced on stage. The collection holds a partial typescript of "The Grand Canyon," which won first prize in the Little Theater of Alexandria's 1983 One act Playwriting Contest. Those interested in reading more of "The Grand Canyon" should examine the typescripts of Best Friends Get Better, Everything is Not Enough, Pat's Promise, andTeddy Teabury's Fabulous Fact, since the author used pages of the written play as scrap paper for writing several rough drafts of these books. Fragments of Asher's plays God and a Woman and Little Old Ladies in Tennis Shoes may also be found mixed among the typescripts of her novels.


  • 1980-1993

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.

Biographical / Historical

Sandra Fenichel was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on October 16, 1942. As a child, she knew she wanted to do three things: dance, act, and write. Dance lessons began at the age of four and a half, and Asher continued to study various forms of dance for many years. She also began acting in school plays at the age of six and continued to play parts in amateur productions as she grew older. While still in college she decided against a career as a professional dancer, though she continued to act in minor productions until after her marriage in 1965. Asher wrote plays from the time she was in grade school and as a senior in high school wrote, directed and narrated her own production.

Asher received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Indiana University in 1964 and married professor Harvey Asher the following year. Before she became a successful author she worked as a scriptwriter for a radio station, an advertising copywriter, and a drama critic for the Bloomington Spectator. Her first serious attempt at a novel was Daughters of the Law (1980), which she began in 1969. While still working on this novel she wrote Summer Begins (1980), her first published fiction. She has since written other novels for young adults as well as fiction for elementary level readers. Her nonfiction works Where Do You Get Your Ideas? (1987) and Wild Words! (1989) help teach young potential authors about creative writing. In addition to her books, Asher has also written numerous plays and has contributed dozens of poems, stories and articles to magazines such as Writer's Digest, Humpty Humpty's Magazine, and Parents Magazine.

In 2014, Sandy Fenichel Asher was named as the first Lancaster County (PA) Children's Laureate by the Lancaster Literary Guild.


Something About the Author, vol. 36, pp.27-30.


6.40 Cubic Feet (27 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials received from Sandy Asher between 1981 and 1993.
Sandy Asher Papers
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001