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Manuscripts of Modern America
Literary Manuscripts

What follows is a descriptive list of collections of literary manuscripts of the post-Civil War era, located among the North American manuscript holdings in the Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame. Manuscript groups included here date wholly or primarily from 1865 to the present day.

Some of the descriptions that follow may be linked to finding aids, which will provide readers with fuller information on that particular collection.

  • ED DORN PAPERS. 1952-2000 (bulk 1987-1999). 18 containers (27 linear feet). The correspondence and manuscripts of American poet Ed Dorn; the archives of a literary magazine titled Rolling Stock; manuscripts by other writers; and audio tapes. These papers contain items relating to the life and work of American poet Edward Dorn primarily from the late 1980s till his death in 1999 with important exceptions including some correspondence, notebooks, and files that date from earlier in his life. Edward Merton Dorn (2 April 1929-10 December 1999) was an American poet, writer, and teacher. He was born in Villa Grove, Illinois, attended the University of Illinois, Eastern Illinois University, and Black Mountain College, where he studied under Charles Olson and Robert Creeley. He taught at several institutions, including among others Idaho State University, the University of Essex in England where he lived for five years, and lastly the University of Colorado. He met his first wife Helene Buck in 1951, was divorced, and in 1969 married Jennifer Dunbar with whom he edited the literary magazine, Rolling Stock. His most notable work was the "Gunslinger" series (1968-1972; published as Slinger in 1975); he also gained prominence in 1975 with the publication of The Complete Poems: 1956-1974. Some twenty-eight other books of poetry and essays reflect a deep interest in the American west and identification with the working classes. Ed Dorn visited Notre Dame in March of 1981 to give a reading at the Sophomore Literary Festival. MSN/MN 3009. [Finding Aid]

  • ROBERT CREELEY LETTERS TO SARAH CREELEY. 1973-2005 (bulk 1993-2005). 29 letters, postcards, and greeting cards, some with envelopes and/or enclosures; 5 miscellaneous pieces of ephemera. A small collection of correspondence, photographs, and ephemera preserved by Sarah H. Creeley (b. 1957), daughter of the American poet Robert Creeley (1926-2005). Most of the items are short personal letters or cards directed to Sarah by her father in the 1990s. Also housed in the Department of Special Collections is Robert Creeley's personal library of more than 6000 volumes, and attendant ephemera. MSN/MN 3007-1 to MSN/MN 3007-34. [Finding Aid]

  • ROBERT CREELEY EPHEMERA. 1951-2005. Around 240 items. A collection of non-book material, much of it printed ephemera, acquired with the University's purchase of the 6000-volume personal library of the American poet Robert Creeley. The collection includes printed mailings and other announcements, periodical issues, broadsides, and posters, as well as photographs, photocopied texts of various kinds, and a small manuscript component. Much of the printed matter was received by Creeley through the mails, sometimes with an attendent letter or note; among the latter are examples written by the poet Basil Bunting and the painter R. B. Kitaj. EPH 5009-1 to EPH 5009-239-F3. [Finding Aid]

  • RAYMOND E. F. LARSSON PAPERS. 1927-1983 (bulk 1940-1960). 19 containers (7.6 linear feet). A substantial collection of the correspondence, literary manuscripts, and drawings of the American poet Raymond E. F. Larsson (1901-1991). Larsson was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He lived in New York and Paris before publishing his first collection of poems, O City, Cities, in 1929. During the prewar period Larsson continued to publish, in journals and in editions of his work. In 1932 he converted to Catholicism; much of his subsequent poetry bears the obvious imprint of his faith (as does a devotional work, Saints at Prayer, published in 1942). In 1949 Larsson was institutionalized for mental illness; thereafter he published little, though he continued to write prolifically. The collection includes around 700 letters to and from Larsson; frequent correspondents include the British editor and historian George Dangerfield; the Wisconsin writer August Derleth; and Norbert Engels, professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Among the literary manuscripts are around 1000 of Larsson's poems, mostly unpublished, and edited typescripts of published collections. There are also some manuscripts of other writers, including Derleth and Theodore Maynard. Also in the collection are around 700 of Larson's pencil drawings, mostly from the 1940s and 50s. MSN/MN 3000-1 to MSN/MN 3000-306. [Finding Aid]

  • WILLA CATHER LETTERS. 1937 and undated. 2 letters. Two unrelated letters signed by Willa Cather (1873-1947). The more significant of the two, a TLS of 7 May 1937 addressed to Br. Emil Mohr, C. S. C., speaks of teaching and of the pleasures of the Latin language. MSN/MN 3001-1 to MSN/MN 3001-2. [Finding Aid]

  • JACK LONDON LETTERS. 1900 and 1905. 3 letters. Included are a 4-page TLS (31 January 1900) from London to Houghton, Mifflin & Co., fulfilling a request for biographical information prior to the publication of The Son of the Wolf, London's first book. There is also a brief ALS (24 February 1905) directed to R. H. Russell of The Metropolitan Magazine regarding the impending serialization of London's short novel The Game, with a retained copy of Russell's reply. MSN/MN 3002-1 to MSN/MN 3002-2.

  • EZRA POUND LETTER. July [1922-1924]. 1 letter (2 pages). A TLS from Paris, in which Pound responds to a request from an unidentified anthologist. In withholding his permission, Pound rails against the "parasitic" character of anthologies, whose "purely commercial" publishers fail to pay contributors and are averse to inventive writing. MSN/MN 3003-1.

  • HIGGINSON-RILEY LETTER. 1911. 1 letter (1 page). A brief letter (21 March 1911) from Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) to the poet James Whitcomb Riley, expressing thanks for some (unidentified) verses. MSN/MN 3004-1.

  • FRANK NORRIS MANUSCRIPT. [1897]. 1 sheet. A single folio leaf from the now-dispersed holograph manuscript of Norris's novel McTeague: A Story of San Francisco (New York: Doubleday & McClure Co., 1899). Critics believe the manuscript was written out by Norris in late 1897, and served as printer's copy for Doubleday & McClure. There are numerous, mostly minor revisions in Norris's hand. The text itself describes the immediate aftermath of McTeague and Trina's wedding; it appears more or less verbatim on pp. 177-79 of the first edition. MSN/MN 3005-1-F1.

  • STEPHEN CRANE MANUSCRIPT. [189-]. 1 sheet. A clear copy, written and signed by Stephen Crane (1871-1900), of his poem "The successful man has thrust himself". The manuscript text departs in various minor respects from the version published in War is Kind (New York, 1899, p. 45); these mostly relate to punctuation. MSN/MN 3006-1.

  • LOUISE CHANDLER MOULTON LETTERS. ca. 1884-ca. 1896. 33 letters, some with envelopes. A group of personal letters authored by the Boston poet, story-writer, and critic Louise Chandler Moulton (1835-1908). Many deal with literary or publishing matters; 15 are directed to the American photographer and publisher F. Holland Day. MSN/MN 3012-1 to MSN/MN 3012-33. [Finding Aid]

  • LOUISE IMOGENE GUINEY PAPERS. 1895-1926 (bulk 1901-1913). 89 letters and cards; miscellaneous printed matter. The balance of this collection consists of 88 letters and cards written by the American Catholic poet, editor, and critic Louise Imogene Guiney (1861-1920) to J. R. Tutin. MSN/MN 3011-1 to MSN/MN 3011-39. [Finding Aid]

  • LOUISA MAY ALCOTT COLLECTION. 1879-1887. 4 items. A small group of items relating to Alcott, including one autograph letter signed; one letter written on her behalf by her London publisher; one inscribed photographic portrait; and one leaf from the holograph manuscript of the novel Jack and Jill: a Village Story. MSN/MN 3010-1 to MSN/MN 3010-4. [Finding Aid]

  • JACK BENNY PROGRAM SCRIPTS. 1943-1965. 40 volumes, with insertions. A collection of some 600 radio and television scripts of the Jack Benny Program, dating from 1943 to 1965. The Benny show was broadcast on radio from 1932 to 1955, and on television from 1950 to 1965. The collection comprises the working scripts of George M. Balzer (1915-2006), one of Benny's team of writers for more than 20 years. MSN/MN 3008-1-B to MSN/MN 3008-40-B; MSN/MN 3008-41 to MSN/MN 3008-61. [Finding Aid]

  • DEBBIE GREEN CIVIL RIGHTS MANUSCRIPT. 1965. 1 typescript (67 pages); attendant materials. A 67-page single-spaced typescript written by New York folksinger Debbie Green (b. 1940), recounting a week in Amite County, Mississippi in November 1965. Green, folk musician Eric Anderson, and writer Jack Newfield were sent to Amite County by The Village Voice, ". . . to participate in the Civil Rights activity there and return with . . . impressions for publication . . . ." Newfield's eventual article for the Voice (2 December 1965) is necessarily summary. Green's unpublished account, "Impressions from the Battle Front," runs to some 40,000 words, and emphasizes the personal dynamics of county residents, voter registration workers, and outsiders within the cultural context of the Civil Rights era rural South. MSN/MN 3013-1 to MSN/MN 3013-3.

  • UPTON SINCLAIR LETTERS TO MELVILLE KRESS. 1933-1958 (bulk 1928-1938). 55 folders; 1 container; .5 linear feet. A collection of 55 typescript letters written by Pulitzer Prize winning American author Upton Beall Sinclair (1878-1968) to Melville L. Kress (1906-1998), a labor organizer, factory worker, and long-time correspondent. The letters reveal aspects of the background and context of Sinclair's literary work, particularly his World's End series of eleven novels, as well as containing reflections on his friends and acquaintances, thoughts on current events, and advice to Kress on the latter's writing. MSN/MN 3014-1 to MSN/MN 3014-55.


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