Phil Stong

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Philip Duffield Stong (January 27, 1899 – April 26, 1957[1]) was an American author, journalist and Hollywood scenarist.[1] He is best known for writing the novel State Fair, on which three films (1933, 1945 and 1962) and one musical by that name were based.

Stong was born in Pittsburg, Iowa, near Keosauqua. His father operated the general store, which is now an antique store. The 1844 brick house where Stong was born is located adjacent to the store and is now a private residence. He attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Stong scored his first success in 1932 with the publication of his famous novel, State Fair, which was later adapted for the screen as the hit Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of the same name. In addition to his novels, his short stories were published in most of the leading national magazines of the time, and he wrote several screenplays.

About his writing career, he once said, "Fell while trying to clamber out of a low bathtub at the age of two. Became a writer. No other possible career."

Stong's The Other Worlds: 25 Modern Stories of Mystery and Imagination, was considered by Robert Silverberg (in the foreword to Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year's Best Science Fiction) to be the first anthology of science-fiction. Compiling stories from 1930s pulp magazines, along with what Stong called "Scientifiction" it also contained works of horror and fantasy.

Stong published more than forty books. He died at his home in Washington, Connecticut, in 1957. Stong is buried at Oak Lawn Cemetery in Keosauqua.

Asked in 1951 to comment on humanism, Stong responded: "I’ve never gone deeply enough into any of the various definitions of “humanism” to be able to make any intelligent or instructive comment on the subject. When I read any of these tenuous expositions, they remind me (a) of the blind men and the elephant and (b) that I’d better have a glass of beer and get to bed. I don’t see how you distinguish between the humanism of More and that of Dewey or of Aristophanes or Lackland or Chaucer or Bunyan or Saintsbury or Taine. The boys that practice it seem to me tremendously more effective than the ones who preach it from the varied pulpits."


  • Adventures of "Horse" Barnsby (1956)
  • Blizzard (1955)
  • Buckskin Breeches (1937)
  • Career (1936)
  • Farmer in the Dell (1935)
  • Gold in Them Hills (1957)
  • Hiram, the Hillbilly (1951)
  • The Iron Mountain (1942)
  • Ivanhoe Keeler (1939)
  • Jessamy John (1947)
  • The Long Lane (1939)
  • Mississippi Pilot (1954)
  • One Destiny (1941)
  • The Princess (1941)
  • The Rebellion of Lennie Barlow (1937)
  • Return in August (1953)
  • State Fair (1932)
  • Stranger's Return (1933)
  • Village Tale (1934)
  • Week-end (1935)
  • Marta of Muscovy (1945)
  • The Other Worlds: 25 Modern Stories of Mystery and Imagination (1941)
  • Honk, the Moose (1935; Newbery Medal Honor Book)
  • Phil Stong's Big Book: Farm Boy; High Water; No-Sitch, The Hound (1937)
  • Young Settler
  • The Hired Man's Elephant (1939)
  • Way Down Cellar (1942)



  1. ^ Hassler, p. 474.