Guide to the Alden R. Carter Papers, 1960-1997

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Summary Information

Title: Alden R. Carter Papers

Inclusive Dates: 1960-1997

Creator: Carter, Alden R., 1947-

Call Number: Eau Claire Mss CJ

Quantity: 8.6 c.f. (26 archives boxes including 5 videorecordings) and 27 megabytes (3240+ data files, in 1 computer disk box)

Repository: Housed at the Area Research Center, William D. McIntyre Library, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; owned by the Wisconsin Historical Society, Library-Archives Division

Archival Locations: UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library / Eau Claire Area Research Ctr.

Abstract: Papers of a Wisconsin writer of fiction and non-fiction for young adults, including book proposals, drafts, notes, galley proofs, publicity materials, high school and college term papers, and correspondence with publishers, editors, and agents. Videotaped interviews and talks by Carter are also present.

Note: There is a restriction on use of this collection; see details in the Restriction/Administrative Information portion of this finding aid.

Language: English

Search Terms/Subject Terms: Authors


Alden Richardson Carter was born April 7, 1947, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, to John Kelley Carter and Hilda Richardson Carter (Fletcher). Graduating from Eau Claire Memorial High School in 1965, Carter continued his education with a Navy ROTC scholarship at the University of Kansas, earning a bachelors degree in English and humanities. He graduated in 1969 and went into the Navy as an officer for the next five years. In 1974, after his stint in the Navy, Carter married Carol Shadis, whom he had met nine years before. As Carter says, “we were in love almost from the first.” Carter went on to earn his teaching certificate from Montana State University, then taught English and journalism in Marshfield, Wis.

Carter had known since he was eight that he wanted to write; he also knew that he was not finding the necessary time to write as a teacher. So, in 1980 with the support of his wife, Carter quit his job and began writing full-time. Growing Season was published by Coward-McCann in 1984 and was named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults.

Carter's mother Hilda Carter Fletcher has been his “first editor” for most of his books and her comments appear on many of the manuscripts throughout the collection. His literary agent encouraged him to write young adult nonfiction between fiction books. He coauthored his first nonfiction book, Supercomputers, with his brother-in-law, Wayne LeBlanc, with whom Carter also wrote his second nonfiction book, Modern Electronics. Carter continued writing young-adult fiction as well. Wart, Son of Toad (1985), Sheila's Dying (1987), and Up Country (1989) were all named ALA Best Books and Robodad (1990) (later reissued as Dancing on Dark Water (1993)) was named Best Children's Fiction Book of the Year by the Society of Midland Authors. Carter's nonfiction subjects range from China and the Revolutionary War, to computers and radios. His books have won a variety of awards.

Carter has been a resident of Marshfield, Wisconsin, since 1976. He and his wife have two children, Brian Patrick Shadis Carter (born 1983) and Siri Morgan Shadis Carter (born 1987). Carter's hobbies include travel, reading, canoeing, and outdoor activities, especially in Wisconsin.

Publications of Alden R. Carter

Growing Season (1984)
Wart, Son of Toad (1985)
Sheila's Dying (1987)
Up Country (1989)
”Tree” (short story, 1989)
Robodad (1990), reissued as Dancing on Dark Water (1993)
Dogwolf (1994)
Between a Rock and a Hard Place (1995)
"Bull Catcher” (short story 1996)
Bull Catcher (1997)
”The Gully” (short story 1997)
”Trashback” (short story 1997)
”Jock Story” (short story 1998)
Crescent Moon (1999)
Supercomputers (with Wayne LeBlanc, 1985)
Modern China (1986)
Modern Electronics (with Wayne LeBlanc, 1986)
Illinois (1987)
Radio: From Marconi to the Space Age (1987)
American Revolution Series: Colonies in Revolt (1988)
American Revolution Series: Darkest Hours (1988)
American Revolution Series: At the Forge of Liberty (1988)
American Revolution Series: Birth of the Republic (1988)
The Shoshoni (1989)
The Battle of Gettysburg (1990)
The Last Stand at the Alamo (1990)
The Colonial Wars: Clashes in the Wilderness (1992)
The War of 1812: Second Fight for Independence (1992)
The Mexican War: Manifest Destiny (1992)
The Civil War (1992)
The Spanish-American War: Imperial Ambitions (1992)
Battle of the Ironclads: The Monitor and the Merrimack (1993)
China Past--China Future (1994)
I’m Tougher than Asthma (with Siri Carter, 1996)
Big Brother Dustin (1997)
Seeing Things My Way (1998)
Dustin's Big School Day (1999)

Scope and Content Note

The collection includes all stages of the writing process for Carter's fiction and nonfiction, plus publicity information and papers written in high school (starting in 1959) and college. The papers detail the writing and publishing process from first drafts to the search for a publisher to galleys to how a successful writer goes about developing ideas for the next book. There are only a few personal letters, but much correspondence with publishers, editors and agents. The papers are grouped in nine series: Early Life, Book-Length Fiction, Book-Length Nonfiction, Short Stories, Speeches, Unpublished Book Proposals and Ideas, Biographical Information, Electronic Drafts and Correspondence, and Video Tapes. Within series, the materials are arranged largely in chronological order (by publishing date for books).

The Book-Length Fiction and Book-Length Nonfiction series may include notes for the book, drafts of the book, correspondence (including rewrite notes), galleys, and page proofs. In China Past--China Future, there are two manuscript copies from his book Modern China which Carter used for research purposes in the second China book. In Radio: From Marconi to the Space Age there is a manuscript titled “Modern Communications,” an earlier title for what became Radio.

The Short Stories series may contain notes drafts, correspondence and galleys. Unpublished Book Proposals and Ideas are chronological by date, with undated proposals in the back. This series may contain notes, outlines, proposal letters, and other correspondence. The Electronic Drafts and Correspondence series is on computer disks and contains materials from most of his books plus correspondence, material from speaking engagements, and other miscellaneous information. Carter's explanation of his file-naming system is located in box 1, folder 1. All of Carter's related computer files now reside on the Global-1 server at UWEC and can be accessed in Special Collections; they are regularly backed up. The first nine original disks also exist in Word 5.1 for Macintosh and the cross platform Word '98 format. Finally there is a series of Video Tapes.

Administrative/Restriction Information

Use Restrictions: Copyright in this collection is retained by Alden Carter, his heirs and assigns. All users are cautioned that most manuscripts included in the collection have been published in their final form as books under rights granted by the author to various publishers.

Acquisition Information: Presented by Alden R. Carter, Marshfield, Wis., 1994-1997. Accession Number: M94- 209

Processing Information: Processed by Daardi Sizemore, 1996-97 and Jennifer Snyder, 1999, at the Eau Claire Area Research Center.

Contents List

Box 1 
Folder 1

Series: Copy of this finding aid
Series: Early Life, 1959-1970

Box 1 Folder 2-4

High school papersBox 1
Folder 5Kansas University college papersBox 1
Folder 6Montana State University college papersBox 1
Folder 7Other papers 
Series: Book-Length FictionBox 1
Folder 5Growing Season (1984)Box 2
Folder 1 Handwritten rough manuscriptBox 2
Folder 2Typed manuscript Box 2
Folder 3Revised manuscript Box 2
Folder 4Revised typed manuscriptBox 2
Folder 5- 6Major revision of manuscriptBox 3
Folder 1- 2Manuscript with editing marks Box 3
Folder 3 CorrespondenceBox 3
Folder 4Rewrite notes Box 3
Folder 5 Galleys and specifications 
Wart, Son of Toad (1985) 

Box 4 
Folder 1 

Notes Box 4
Folder 2 Original manuscript (handwritten)Box 4
Folder 3 Original manuscript typed Box 4
Folder 4Manuscript with editor's comments Box 4
Folder 5Rewrite notes and correspondence Box 4
Folder 6Page proofs 
Sheila's Dying (1987) Box 5
Folder 1Notes Box 5
Folder 2-3Manuscript with typesetting orders Box 5
Folder 4Partial manuscript with editor's commentsBox 5
Folder 5 Rewrite notes and correspondenceBox 5
Folder 6Galleys
Up Country (1989)Box 6
Folder 1NotesBox 6
Folder 2Original manuscriptBox 6
Folder 3-4Revised manuscript

Box 6 
Folder 5

Robodad (1990)

Box 7 
Folder 1

NotesBox 7
Folder 2Manuscript with editor's notesBox 7
Folder 3Manuscript with typesetting ordersBox 7
Folder 4Correspondence and rewrite notes

Box 7 
Folder 5

Galleys with editBox 7
Folder 6GalleysBox 7
Folder 7Page proofs
Dancing on Dark Water (reissue on Robodad (1993)

Box 7 
Folder 8

New cover picture
Dogwolf (1994)Box 8
Folder 1NotesBox 8
Folder 2-3Early manuscriptBox 8
Folder 4-5Edited manuscriptBox 8
Folder 6-7Final manuscriptBox 8
Folder 8Correspondence and rewrite notes

Box 9 
Folder 1

Galleys with heavy editing

Box 9 
Folder 2

Galleys with less editingBox 9
Folder 3Page proofs
Between a Rock and a Hard Place (1995)Box 10
Folder 1 ManuscriptBox 10
Folder 2 ManuscriptBox 10
Folder 3 Working draft of manuscriptBox 10
Folder 4-5Early manuscript with editBox 10
Folder 6Early manuscript with editBox 10
Folder 7 Late working manuscript

Box 11 
Folder 1

Late working manuscript, continuedBox 11
Folder 2-3Galleys
Bull Catcher (1997)Box 12
Folder 1 Between Third and Home proposal (later Bull Catcher)Box 12
Folder 2Possible titles and early manuscript labeled Catching FireBox 12
Folder 3Catching Fire early manuscriptBox 12
Folder 4-5Manuscript 1st revisionBox 12
Folder 6-7 Edited manuscript versionBox 23
Folder 1- 2Revision 2 (corrected by Graham Olson - longtime baseball coach)Box 23
Folder 3Edited draft

Box 23 
Folder 4

Section of manuscript, Spring 1993Box 23
Folder 5Inserts

Box 23 
Folder 6

Long excerptsBox 23
Folder 7-8GalleysBox 23
Folder 9Edited manuscript, miscellaneous pagesBox 26
Folder 6Correspondence and rewrite notesBox 26
Folder 7Publication agreement and correspondenceBox 26
Folder 8Manuscript - 4045 word countBox 26
Folder 9Manuscript - 6143 word count
Crescent Moon (1999)Box 13
Folder 11st complete draft, 1996 JulyBox 26
Folder 10Manuscript - Comments/edits by Larry Lynch with cover letter, 1996 August 6Box 26
Folder 11Manuscript - Comments.edits by Hilda Carter Fletcher, 1996 August/September
Series: Book - Length Nonfiction
Supercomputers (1985)Box 14
Folder 1- 4NotesBox 14
Folder 5The 5th Generation - book, with notes, used as reference in SupercomputersBox 14
Folder 6ManuscriptBox 14
Folder 7Correspondence and rewrite notes

Box 14 
Folder 8

Modern China (1986)Box 15
Folder 1 NotesBox 15
Folder 2Manuscript with editBox 15
Folder 3 Manuscript with David Changs editBox 15
Folder 4 Manuscript with typesetting ordersBox 15
Folder 5 Correspondence and rewrite notesBox 15
Folder 6 Page proofs
Modern Electronics (I1986)Box 16
Folder 1 NotesBox 16
Folder 2 
Edited manuscript with original illustrationsBox 16
Folder 3 
Illinois (1987)Box 16
Folder 4 
NotesBox 16
Folder 5 
Rough manuscriptBox 16
Folder 6 
CorrespondenceBox 16
Folder 7 
Radio: From Marconi to the Space Age (1987)Box 16
Folder 8 NotesBox 16
Folder 9Modern Communications - became Radio: ... 18 months before publicationBox 16
Folder 10 Manuscript with edit and typesetting ordersBox 16
Folder 11 Rewrite notes and correspondenceBox 16
Folder 12 Galleys
American Revolution series: Colonies in Revolt (1988), Darkest Hours (1988), At the Forge of Liberty (1988), Birth of the Republic (1988)

Box 17 
Folder 1 

NotesBox 17
Folder 2 Correspondence and notes
The Shoshoni (1989)Box 17
Folder 3 NotesBox 17
Folder 4 ManuscriptBox 17
Folder 5 Correspondence and rewrite notesBox 17
Folder 6 Galleys
The Battle of Gettysburg (1990)Box 17
Folder 7 NotesBox 17
Folder 8ManuscriptBox 17
Folder 9 Correspondence and rewrite notesBox 17
Folder 10  Galleys

Box 26 
Folder 1

Reference sheet
The Last Stand at the Alamo (1990)Box 17
Folder 11NotesBox 17
Folder 12Correspondence and rewrite notesBox 17
Folder 13Galleys
The Colonial Wars: Clashes in the Wilderness (1992)Box 17
Folder 14NotesBox 17
Folder 15Early manuscript with editBox 17
Folder 16Revised manuscriptBox 17
Folder 17CorrespondenceBox 17
Folder 18Galleys with specificationsBox 17
Folder 19Maps
The American Revolution: War for Independence (1992)Box 18
Folder 1Notes

Box 18 
Folder 2

Maps and picturesBox 18
Folder 3Early manuscriptBox 18
Folder 4ManuscriptBox 18
Folder 5Revised manuscriptBox 18
Folder 6CorrespondenceBox 18
Folder 7Galleys and specifications
The War of 1812: Second Fight for Independence (1992)Box 18
Folder 8Notes

Box 18 
Folder 9

Early manuscript with edit Box 18
Folder 10Revised manuscript Box 18
Folder 11CorrespondenceBox 18
Folder 12Galleys
The Mexican War: Manifest Destiny (1992)Box 18
Folder 13NotesBox 18
Folder 14ManuscriptBox 18
Folder 15Copy-edited and fact-checked manuscriptBox 18
Folder 16Correspondence Box 18
Folder 17Galleys
The Civil War (1992) Box 19
Folder 1NotesBox 19
Folder 2Edited manuscript Box 19
Folder 3CorrespondenceBox 19
Folder 4GalleysBox 19
Folder 5Page proofs
The Spanish-American War: Imperial Ambitions (1992)Box 19
Folder 6NotesBox 19
Folder 7ManuscriptBox 19
Folder 8CorrespondenceBox 19
Folder 9GalleysBox 19
Folder 10Page proofs
Battle of the Ironclads: The Monitor and the Merrimack (1993) Box 19
Folder 11NotesBox 19
Folder 12ManuscriptBox 19
Folder 13CorrespondenceBox 19
Folder 14Galleys
China Past--China Future (1994)  Box 20
Folder 1NotesBox 20
Folder 2Notes-referenceBox 20
Folder 3Modern China revised manuscript with edit by David ChangBox 20
Folder 4Modern China page proofs with notes Box 20
Folder 5Revised manuscript Box 20
Folder 6Correspondence and rewrite notesBox 20
Folder 7Manuscript rough pages Box 20
Folder 8Page proofsBox 20
Folder 9Manuscript rough pages Box 20
Folder 10Galleys 
I'm Tougher than Asthma (1996)Box 24
Folder 1Galleys (copy of faxed original)Box 27
Folder 1Proposal for book - known as Siri's AsthmaBox 27 
Folder 2Correspondence and rewrite notes Box 27
Folder 3Photocopy of the book Where's Chimpy? by Bernice Rabe, a book about a girl with Down's Syndrome Box 27
Folder 4Picture of dust mite at x150 magnification: color photocopy, note included

Box 27 
Folder 5

Book mock-upBox 27
Folder 6-7Page mock-up (post-it notes) Box 27
Folder 8Handwritten mock-upBox 27
Folder 9Introduction by Carol S. Carter - draft[?]  Box 27
Folder 10Biography Box 27
Folder 11Suggested reading and resources list Box 27
Folder 12“More About Asthma,” 1995 July 25  Box 27
Folder 13Picture list with notes Box 27
Folder 14Edited manuscript, 1995 March 21 Box 27
Folder 15Edited manuscript with correspondence, 1995 May 16-17 Box 27
Folder 16Edited manuscript, 1995 May 16 Box 27
Folder 17Manuscript - submitted, 1995 May 16 

Box 27 
Folder 18

Edited manuscript - known as Siri and Her Asthma, 1995 June 26 Box 27
Folder 19Edited manuscript, 1995 July 3  Box 27
Folder 20Edited manuscript, 1995 July 21Box 27
Folder 21Edited manuscript with corrections by Dr. Bucholtz, correspondence included, 1995 August 3 Box 27
Folder 22Pages of designer set with correspondence, 1995 May 25 - known as Siri's AsthmaBox 27
Folder 23Faxed copy of designer set, 1995 August 1  Box 27
Folder 24Notes and brochures on asthma - from unmarked manila envelope 
Big Brother Dustin (1997)Box 24
Folder 21995 February 2 manuscript -known as Ready for Mary AnnBox 24
Folder 3 1995 December 18-19 edited manuscript- known as Ready for Mary AnnBox 24
Folder 4 1996 April 25 manuscript Box 26
Folder 2 Correspondence and rewrite notes Box 26
Folder 3 Page proofs, 1996 July 15 Box 26
Folder 4 Page proofs, 1996 July 26 Box 26
Folder 5 Design set of “photo album” in book, 1996 August 7 
Series: Short StoriesBox 21
Folder 1“Tree” (1989) galley

Box 21 
Folder 2

“The Gully” (1997) aka “Amish Rescue” - 2 versions Box 21
Folder 3“Trashback” (1997) 
“Bull Catcher,” (1996) Box 21
Folder 4Edited Manuscript pp. 15-30 Box 21
Folder 5Edited manuscript Box 21
Folder 6Edited Manuscript - 3,827 word count Box 21
Folder 7Edited Manuscript - 3,386 word count 

Box 21 
Folder 8

Manuscript - 7,865 word count Box 21
Folder 9Edited Manuscript - 7,865 word count Box 21
Folder 10Edited Manuscript - 7,984 word count Box 21
Folder 11Edited manuscript 
“Jock Story,” 1998 June 11 Box 26
Folder 16Manuscript - 1,969 word count Box 26
Folder 17Edited manuscript - 1,969 word count Box 26
Folder 18Manuscript - 1,905 word count 

Box 26
Folder 19

Manuscript - 1,966 word count 
Series: SpeechesBox 21
Folder 12 “Of Curve Balls and High Heat: How I Came to Write a Baseball Novel” (1997) 
Series: Unpublished Book Proposals and IdeasBox 21
Folder 13 Jim Fletcher proposal (1980)Box 21
Folder 14 A canoeing book (1983)
Modem Power

Box 21 
Folder 15 

Actual Proposal that Literary Agent sent, 1984 Box 21
Folder 161984 Box 21
Folder 17 Electronic Workhorse, 1983 or 1984 (The proposal was on mainframes. The topic was dropped and was replaced by Supercomputers.) Box 21
Folder 18 Thomas Edison (1985) Box 21
Folder 19 The Ain't Remover - A Practical Guide to Improving Your Child's Speech, circa 1985  Box 21
Folder 20Tesla- 1984-1986 
Gerard's Race (1996-7?) 

Box 21 
Folder 21 

Proposal- 2 versionsBox 21
Folder 22 Manuscript with friends suggestions 
Series: Biographical Information

Box 21 
Folder 23 

Credit List Box 21
Folder 24 Credit List, 1997 Box 21
Folder 25Autobiography - early copy 

Box 21
Folder 26 

Autobiography - copy Box 21
Folder 27Page copies of his autobiography from Gale Research Box 21
Folder 28Publicity brochures 
Series: Electronic Drafts and Correspondence (3.5" Computer Disks) 
Original Disks-Series A in Macintosh Clarisworks and Word 5.1 formats

Box 22 
No. A1

Wart, Son of Toad / Robodad

Box 22
No. A2

Alamo / Gettysburg / Shoshoni / Colonial WarsBox 22
No. A3American Revolution / Mexican War / War of 1812 

Box 22
No. A4

Supercomputers / Modern ElectronicsBox 22
No. A5Modern China / Spanish-American War / Civil WarBox 22
No. A6Radio: From Marconi to the Space Age / Illinois / Monitor and MerrimackBox 22
No. A7Revolution Series (4 Books) 

Box 22
No. A8

Sheila's DyingBox 22
No. A9Up Country

Box 22 
No. A10

Proposals Box 22
No. A11-12Letters for UW Archives 

Box 22
No. A13

UW Archives, Speaking, Drive Test Permission 
DogwolfBox 22
No. A14#1-10 Box 22
No. A15#1- Original and Revision Box 22
No. A16#2- Revision, Final, Revision, Smooth Final  Box 22
No. A17Correspondence 
Between a Rock and a Hard PlaceBox 22
No. A18#1Box 22
No. A19#2
Macintosh Word 5.1 Disks-Series B (User Copies) Box 22
No. B1Wart, Son of Toad / Civil WarBox 22
No. B2Robodad / Mexican WarBox 22
No. B3Radio / Illinois / Monitor and MerrimackBox 22
No. B4Modern Electronics / AlamoBox 22
No. B5Modern China / American RevolutionBox 22
No. B6Supercomputers / Spanish-American WarBox 22
No. B7Colonial Wars / Gettysburg / War of 1812Box 22
No. B8Revolution Series (4 books)Box 22
No. B9Up CountryBox 22
No. B10Sheila's Dying / Shoshoni
Series: Video Tapes
Originals - Series A Box 25
No. A1“The Creative Process and Writing.” Speaker: Alden Carter, 1985 June 27 Box 25
No. A2Alden Carter, Middle/Jr. High Author Breakfast - WCC, 1990 October 13 Box 25
No. A3Alden Carter - YA Author Speaking About Writing, 1992 April 6 Box 25
No. A4“A Conversation with Alden Carter.” Produced by the School District of Marshfield, WI, 1993  October 6 Box 25
No. A5“The Creative Process and Writing.” Speaker: Alden Carter, 1985 June 27 
User Copies - Series B Box 25
No. B1“The Creative Process and Writing.” Speaker: Alden Carter, 1985 June 27 Note: Video B1 may not match up correctly with A1. Box 25
No. B2Alden Carter, Middle/Jr. High Author Breakfast - WCC, 1990 October 13  Box 25
No. B3Alden Carter - YA Author Speaking About Writing, 1992 April 6 Box 25
No. B4“A Conversation with Alden Carter.” Produced by the School District of Marshfield, WI, 1993  October 6 Box 25
No. B5“The Creative Process and Writing.” Speaker: Alden Carter, 1985 June 27 Note: Video B5 may not match up correctly with A5.