Skip to main content


Special Collections Online at UT

Robert V. Steele / Lately Thomas Papers

Identifier: MS-0700

  • Staff Only

Collection consists of materials used in the preparation of the following books by Lately Thomas:

  1. The Vanishing Evangelist (1959)
  2. A Debonair Scoundrel (1962)
  3. Sam Ward: King of the Lobby (1965)
  4. Delmonico's: A Century of Splendor (1967)
  5. The First President Johnson (1968)
  6. Between Two Empires (1969)
  7. The Mayor who Mastered New York (1969)
  8. Storming Heaven (1970)

The material includes extensive notes, both longhand and typewritten; clippings; books and pamphlets; printer's copy; galley proofs; and correspondence.

In addition to the papers relating to the books, there is included a portion of the very extensive research done for a projected account of the Tom Mooney, Preparedness Parade bombing in San Francisco in 1916, and the subsequent years of legal tussle over Mooney's conviction.


  • 1957-1973

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite and must be requested in advance. See for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.

Conditions Governing Use

The UT Libraries claims only physical ownership of most material in the collections. Persons wishing to broadcast or publish this material must assume all responsibility for identifying and satisfying any claimants on for detailed information. Collections must be requested through a registered Special Collections research account.


21.75 Linear Feet (23 boxes)


This collection contains materials used in the preparation of books published by Robert V. Steele under the pseudonym Lately Thomas. Included are extensive notes, both longhand and typewritten, clippings, books and pamphlets, printer's copies, galley proofs, and correspondence.

Biographical/Historical Note

Robert V. Steele was born on August 24th, 1898 in Waterbury, Connecticut. His father was a Methodist minister. Steele briefly served in the U. S. Marine Corps (1918-1919), but did not see overseas action. In 1955, he was employed by the Los Angeles Times, where he began investigating the career of Aimee Semple McPherson. The story of her 1926 so-called kidnapping affair was told in Steele's book The Vanishing Evangelist (1959). This publication also marked the first time Steele used the pseudonym Lately Thomas. Robert V. Steele died in San Francisco, California on September 21st, 1976.


This collection is in 23 boxes.

Acquisition Note

Collection was donated to Special Collections in July 1975 by Robert V. Steele.

Existence and Location of Copies

Transcription of negative photostats found in this collection are available as a PDF.

Related Materials

Interested researchers may wish to consult MS.0831, the Lately Thomas [Robert V. Steele] Collection.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA