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Henry Kisor papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Kisor

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, research notes, interviews transcripts and recordings, manuscripts, and bound books. Includes interviews and correspondence with well known authors such as Joseph Heller, Nelson Algren, Walker Percy, Jack Conroy, Kurt Vonnegut, Larry King, and others.


  • Creation: 1904-2014
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1980-2000



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Henry Kisor papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Henry Kisor papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of creator

Born in 1940, Henry Kisor became deaf after an episode of meningitis at age three. His parents taught him to read print, then speechread through the methods of Doris Mirrielees, who emphasized that deaf children can thrive in a hearing society, given the right tools.

Kisor received his B.A. from Trinity College and his M.S.J. from Northwestern. He began his journalism career in newspapers at the Wilmington Evening Journal in New Jersey, working as a copyeditor. In 1965, he moved to Chicago, first to the Chicago Daily News, and then, when the Daily News closed, to the Chicago Sun Times. In both of these positions, he served as the book editor, receiving a Pulitzer prize nomination and becoming a 1981 finalist for Criticism. During his time as Chicago Sun Times’ Book Editor, Kisor interviewed and corresponded with many prominent authors. Kisor was also inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame in 2001.He retired from the Chicago Sun Times in 2006.

In 1990, Kisor published his first book, What’s that Pig Outdoors, a memoir about growing up deaf and its impact on his life. Kisor then began riding Amtrak for a non-fiction book about the California Zephyr, published in 1994. His third main non-fiction book is titled Flight of the Gin Fizz, and follows his midlife decision to pursue flying.

Kisor is also known for his novel mystery series (Seasons’ Revenge, A Venture into Murder, Cache of Corpses, Hang Fire, Tracking the Beast, The Riddle of Billy Gibbs), following Deputy Sheriff Steve Martinez as he cracks cases in the Upper Peninsula.

In 1967, Kisor married Deborah Abbot, a librarian. The couple have two adult sons and spend their time in Evanston, Illinois or Ontonagon, Michigan.


14 Linear Feet (32 boxes and 1 oversize box)


Henry Kisor is a journalist and author. Born in 1940, Henry became deaf at the age of three. He is known for his decades long (1965-2006) journalism career at Chicago Daily News and Chicago Sun Times as well as his published fiction and nonfiction books. As a journalist, he mainly worked as a book editor and was a 1981 finalist for a Pulitzer Price for Criticism.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Personal Papers
Box 1, Media Box 4
Series 2: Journalism Career
Boxes 1-4
Series 3: Correspondence
Boxes 4-7
Series 4: Author Interviews
Boxes 7-9, Media Box 1
Series 5: Zephyr
Boxes 9-15, Media Box 1
Series 6: What's That Pig Outdoors
Boxes 15-20, Media Box 2
Series 7: Flight of the Gin Fizz
Boxes 20-25, Media Box 3
Series 8: Novels
Boxes 25-29, Media Box 3
Series 9: Bound Books
Box 30

Collection Stack Location

1 41 5-6, 1 30 3


Gift, Henry Kisor, 2019.

Processed by

Emily Richardson and Georgia Fowler, 2019.

Inventory of the Henry Kisor papers, 1904-2014, bulk 1980-2000
Emily Richardson
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States