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American Literature Archival Collections in USC Special Collections: Leonard Wibberley

Guide to the collections of American Literature held by USC Libraries Department of Special Collections

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Leonard Wibberley was born April 9, 1915, in Dublin, Ireland. He attended schools in Ireland and England and was an apprentice to a London publisher. At sixteen, he became a copy boy at the Sunday Dispatch; during the Depression, he worked as street fiddler, ditch digger, dishwasher, and cook. From 1932-1936, he was a reporter for the London Daily Mirror and assistant London editor for the Malayan Straits Times and the Singapore Free Press; he then became editor of the Trinidad Evening News in the West Indies. Wibberley worked for the Shell Oil Company in Trinidad from 1939-1941. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1943 to work for Walsh Kaiser Shipyards while also serving as cable editor for the Associated Press. He was the American correspondent for the London Evening News and a staff writer for The Los Angeles Times from 1950 until his death of a heart attack on November 22, 1983, in Santa Monica, California.

Wibberley wrote more than one hundred books, including stories for children, historical novels, satires, plays, and mysteries. Many of these were written under the pseudonyms Leonard Holton, Christopher Webb, and Patrick O'Connor. Wibberly is best known for his trilogy of political satires The Mouse That Roared, The Mouse on the Moon, and The Mouse that Saved the West; the first two were made into successful motion pictures.

Collection Overview

The Leonard Wibberley papers contain typescript and manuscript drafts and galleys for various works written by Leonard Wibberley (under his name and his psuedonyms), including the original manuscript of The Mouse that Roared. It also includes the texts of some of his lectures and articles and some of his business correspondence with his agents and publishers.