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Suzanne Clauser Papers (MS-124)

Identifier: MS-124

Scope and Contents

The papers within the Suzanne Clauser collection fall into six series. The arrangement within the files is chronological.

Series I, Early Work, contains handwritten and typed drafts, correspondence and final published copies of two of Clauser's early pieces: “The Green Key,” a short story; and “Indian Ghosts,” a travel reminiscence. Also included, are several drafts of an unpublished short story, "The Gift." Dates for this series are 1961 1962.

Series II, Bonanza, contains correspondence and drafts for nine of the thirteen scripts Mrs. Clauser sold to the Bonanza television series. The correspondence is mainly with the production staff and covers business matters, script revisions and various story ideas. The scripts in this series show an evolution through drafts and revisions to the "shooting final" copy. This series covers the years 1962 1972.

Series III, A Girl Named Sooner, Novel and Screenplay, contains material pertaining to the novel and the television play of the same name. Included is correspondence between Clauser and publishers, literary agents, and television producers; as well as drafts and revisions of both the novel and screenplay. Also included is a copy of the published novel and a German language edition. Span dates for this series are 1962 1980.

Series IV, Television Screenplays, contains drafts, revisions and "shooting finals" of full length Clauser screenplays, most of which have been produced for television. Two of the plays, Pioneer Woman and Little Women, also contain a prospectus for their expansion into a weekly series. Some plays represented in this series include accompanying correspondence regarding revisions, logistics of shooting, and various business matters. The material in this series covers the years 1962-1993.

Series V, General Correspondence, The general correspondence in this series is mostly with Clauser's literary agents in New York and Hollywood, and pertains to whatever writing project she was at work on at the time. The correspondence dates from 1963 1979.

Series VI, Miscellaneous Material, contains biographical and professional data, a file of newspaper and magazine clippings, and a copy of Night Song by the late Constance Sontag, for which Mrs. Clauser wrote the foreword. This material dates from 1971-1993.


  • Creation: 1961-1993
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1961-1988


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Restrictions exist for any publication or quotation of the material in this collection. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections and Archives for more information.

Biographical / Historical

Suzanne Phillips Clauser was born in 1929 and grew up in a suburb near New York City. She attended Indiana University and graduated in 1951 with a degree in American and British literature. In the same year, she married Charles Clauser, a graduate student finishing a Ph.D. in physical anthropology. In 1954 her husband was awarded a Fulbright Grant and the Clausers spent ten months in Burma and Rangoon. Eventually, the Clausers settled in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

In the early 1960s, Clauser drew on her experience in Asia for her first successful writing effort, a travel reminiscence of India published in Blackwood's Magazine, a British literary journal. After, Clauser began to write scripts for the Bonanza television series. Rod Serling, who came to Yellow Springs to teach a writing course at his Alma Mater, Antioch College; helped Clauser sell her first script to Bonanza in 1964. During the next eight years, Clauser wrote material for Bonanza regularly. By the time the series ceased production in 1972, it had accepted thirteen of Clauser’s scripts and produced eleven.

Clauser’s first novel, A Girl Named Sooner, was published by Doubleday and Company in 1972. It was well received and Mrs. Clauser was soon at work on its adaptation to a full length television movie. Sooner was shot on location in a small Indiana town and aired in June of 1975. It received very high ratings as well as endorsements from the National Educational Association and the National Council of Churches.

Clauser wrote several highly regarded, full length plays including Pioneer Woman (1974); The Family Nobody Wanted (1974); Grandpa and Frank (1977); a four hour adaptation of Alcott's Little Women (1978); and The Pride of Jesse Hallam (1981), a story about adult functional illiterates which won an award for the best original television play for 1981. Clauser’s Christmas Snow aired in December of 1986 and was named best children’s program at the 1987 Golden Gate Awards.


3.5 linear feet

Language of Materials



Suzanne Clauser was a Yellow Springs, Ohio author who wrote extensively for television and published a successful novel. Her papers include: copies of her earlier unpublished works, copies of several scripts written for the Bonanza television series, correspondence, material pertaining to her novel titled A Girl named Sooner, screenplays, biographical materials, and clippings.


This collection is arranged into 6 series and 22 subseries:

Series I:
Early Work, 1961 1962
Series II:
Bonanza Material, 1962 1972
Series III:
A Girl Named Sooner, Novel and Screenplay, 1962 1980
Series IV:
Television Screenplays, 1962 1993
Subseries IVA:
Pioneer Woman, 1973-1974
Subseries IVB:
The Family Nobody Wanted, 1974-1979
Subseries IVC:
Grandpa and Frank, 1976-1977
Subseries IVD:
Little Women, 1977-1979
Subseries IVE:
The Pride of Jesse Hallam, 1979-1981
Subseries IVF:
Journey to Topaz, 1962-1975
Subseries IVG:
Executive Order, 1975
Subseries IVH:
24 McFall, 1975
Subseries IVI:
Harper’s Ferry, 1977-1978
Subseries IVJ:
Suzannah and Em, 1978
Subseries IVK:
First Do No Harm, 1968-1979
Subseries IVL:
Ri, 1979
Subseries IVM:
Children of An Lac, 1980
Subseries IVN:
An Unmarried Man, 1980
Subseries IVO:
Country Roads, "Lucille", 1981
Subseries IVP:
Calamity Jane: Her Own Story, 1982-1983
Subseries IVQ:
The Soong Sisters, 1984
Subseries IVR:
Happy Ending, 1986
Subseries IVS:
Christmas Snow, 1986
Subseries IVT:
From Vietnam with Love, 1988
Subseries IVU:
Heaven and Hell, 1993
Subseries IVV:
Danielle Steel’s Message from ‘Nam, 1993
Series V:
General Correspondence, 1963-1979
Series VI:
Miscellaneous Material, 1971-1993

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This collection was donated to Wright State University Special Collections and Archives by Suzanne Clauser in May 1981.

Processing Information

Processed by: Dorothy Smith, Spring 1982. Revised by Tim Binkley in 2004. Finding aid revised according to DACS standards by Allie Edmonds in 2018.

Guide to the Suzanne Clauser Papers (MS-124)
Dorothy Smith, Spring 1982.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2004: Revised by Tim Binkley
  • 2018: Finding aid revised according to DACS standards by Allie Edmonds

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Wright State University Libraries
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA