Phil Stong Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Following graduation from the public schools of Keosauqua, Iowa, where he was born in 1899, Philip Duffield Stong went to Drake University, from which he graduated in 1919. After some graduate study at Columbia University (1920-1921) and at the University of Kansas (1923-1924), Stong wrote editorials for the Des Moines Register and later taught courses in journalism and speech at Drake University. In 1925 he went to New York City, working successively for the Associated Press, the North American Newspaper Alliance, Liberty, Editor and Publisher, and the New York World. In 1931 he began to devote all his time to creative writing.

Stong’s first published novel, State Fair, was an immediate success, bringing him economic security and a strong reputation. The novel was made into a motion picture, with Will Rogers in one of the lead roles; after World War II the story was again filmed, this time in color. One of the immediate results of the first motion picture version was that the author was able to repurchase the farmstead which had belonged to his maternal grandfather. After 1932 Stong published a number of novels, but none achieved the popularity of his first. Most of his fiction is about Iowa and the people from the rural areas and small towns of that state. Stong presents midwestern farm life as a full and pleasant existence. Stranger’s Return relates the return to happy farm life of a young woman...

(The entire section is 535 words.)


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Andrews, Clarence A. A Literary History of Iowa. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1972.

Mills, George. “Phil Stong’s Legacy.” Des Moines Register, August 11, 1974.

Paluka, Frank. Iowa Authors: A Bio-Bibliography of Sixty Native Writers. Iowa City: Friends of the University of Iowa Libraries, 1967.

“Phil Stong.” In Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 6: 1956-1960. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1980.