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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

Language of Materials

This material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 2 business days are needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.


21.75 Linear Feet


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.

Acquisition Note

Collection was donated to Special Collections in July 1975.

Existence and Location of Copies

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

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