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William H. Gass Papers (MSS051)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Manuscripts

Material Towards Books

Manuscripts By Others

Personal Papers

Ephemera

Realia

Audiovisual

Print Materials



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William H. Gass Papers (MSS051), 1948-2015 | MSS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: William H. Gass Papers (MSS051), 1948-2015Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1948-2015

ID: MSS/MSS/051

Primary Creator: Gass, William (1924-)

Extent: 146.0 Boxes

Date Acquired: 07/19/1968

Languages: English, German, French

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The William H. Gass Papers consist largely of his own manuscript material: manuscripts and proof material toward his books, drafts of various stories, essays, and reviews, interviews, and a miscellaneous assortment of notes and other materials. Also present is a substantial amount of professional correspondence, primarily with universities, magazines, and publishers, as well as with his colleagues in academia and in the literary community.

Collection Historical Note

William Howard Gass (July 30, 1924 - December 6, 2017) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, critic, and former philosophy professor. Born in Fargo, North Dakota, Gass grew up in Warren, Ohio, where he graduated from Warren G. Harding High School.  He has described his childhood as an unhappy one, with an abusive, racist father and a passive, alcoholic mother. He attended Wesleyan University, and then served as an Ensign in the Navy during World War II for three and a half years. He earned his A.B. in philosophy from Kenyon College in 1947 where he graduated magna cum laude. From there he entered Cornell University as a Susan Linn Fellow in philosophy and by 1954 had earned his PhD in that subject. His dissertation, "A Philosophical Investigation of Metaphor," was based on his training as a philosopher of language.

Gass taught at The College of Wooster for four years, Purdue University for sixteen, and Washington University in St. Louis, where he was a professor of philosophy (1969–1978) and the David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities (1979–1999). Since 2000, Gass has been the David May Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Humanities.  In 1990, Gass founded the International Writers Center at Washington University, whose purpose was to "build on the strengths of its resident and visiting faculty writers; to serve as a focal point for writing excellence in all disciplines and in all cultures; to be a directory for writers and writing programs at Washington University, in St. Louis, in the United States, and around the world; and to present the writer to the reader."

Gass’ first novel, Omensetter's Luck, about life in a small town in Ohio in the 1890s, was published in 1966. Critics praised his linguistic virtuosity, establishing him as an important writer of fiction. In 1968, he published In the Heart of the Heart of the Country, five stories dramatizing the theme of human isolation and the difficulty of love. That same year Gass published Willie Masters' Lonesome Wife, an experimental novella illustrated with photographs and typographical constructs intended to help readers free themselves from the linear conventions of narrative. He has also published several collections of essays, including Fiction and the Figures of Life (1970) and Finding a Form (1996). Despite his prolific output, he has said that writing is difficult for him. In fact, his epic novel The Tunnel, published in 1995, took Gass twenty-six years to write.

Gass received many awards and honors, including grants from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1965, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1970. He won the Pushcart Prize awards in 1976, 1983, 1987, and 1992, and in 1994 he received the Mark Twain Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literature of the Midwest. In 1975, he received the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Fiction and the American Book Award for The Tunnel in 1997. In 2000, he was honored with the PEN/Nabokov award and the PEN/Nabokov Lifetime Achievement award which he has called his "most prized prize." Gass has received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism three times, for Habitations of the Word (1985), Finding a Form (1997) and Tests of Time (2003).

Administrative Information

Repository: MSS Manuscripts

Access Restrictions: Open

Use Restrictions:

Users of the collection must read and agree to abide by the rules and procedures set forth in the Materials Use Policies.

Providing access to materials does not constitute permission to publish or otherwise authorize use. All publication not covered by fair use or other exceptions is restricted to those who have permission of the copyright holder, which may or may not be Washington University.

If you wish to publish or license Special Collections materials, please contact Special Collections to inquire about copyright status at (314) 935-5495 or spec@wumail.wustl.edu. (Publish means quotation in whole or in part in seminar or term papers, theses or dissertations, journal articles, monographs, books, digital forms, photographs, images, dramatic presentations, transcriptions, or any other form prepared for a limited or general public.)

Acquisition Source: Gift and purchase

Acquisition Method:

Accession number 954, Purchase from House of Books, July 19, 1968

Accession number 1027, Gift of William H. Gass, March 7, 1969

Accession number 1616, Purchase from unknown, April 11, 1984

Accession number 1862, Gift of William H. Gass, February 3, 1991

Accession number 1966, Gift of William H. Gass, December 27, 1992

Accession number 2146, Gift of William H. Gass, July 28, 1994

Accession number 2235, Gift of International Writers Center, October 10, 2000

Accession number 22925, Gift of William H. Gass, circa 1999

Accession number 22927, Gift of William H. Gass, circa 1994

Accession number 22984, Unknown

Accession number 23034, Gift of William H. Gass, August 1, 2004

Accession number 23038, Gift of William H. Gass, circa 2004

Accession number 23075, Unknown

Accession number 23084, Unknown, November 2005

Accession number 23890, Gift of Heide Ziegler, circa 2006

Accession number 23927, Gift of Lorin Cuoco, April 10, 2007

Accession number 23947, Purchase from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., November 2, 2009

Accession number 23964, Gift of Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc., November 5, 2010

Accession number 2012.018, Transfer from University Archives, July 19, 2012

Accession number 2012.027, Gift of William H. Gass, November 15, 2012

Accession number 2012.029, Purchase from Between the Covers, November 21, 2012

Accession number 2013.034, Gift of William H. Gass, December 20, 2013

Accession number 2016-021, Gift of Thomas LeClair, September 30, 2016

Related Materials: See also the International Writers Center Archive (MSS059)

Preferred Citation: Name of the Collection, Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Manuscripts],
[Series 3: Material Towards Books],
[Series 4: Manuscripts By Others],
[Series 5: Personal Papers],
[Series 6: Ephemera],
[Series 7: Realia],
[Series 8: Audiovisual],
[Series 9: Print Materials],
[All]

Series 5: Personal PapersAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 1: AwardsAdd to your cart.
Box 123Add to your cart.
Folder 1: The Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, 1996Add to your cart.
Consists of materials relating to the 1996 St. Louis Art Award received by Gass
Folder 2: Nomination form for the National Medal of Arts (Jan Garden Castro), 1987Add to your cart.
Folder 3: The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, 1996: May 18Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, press releases, programs, etc.
Folder 4: The Pen/Nabokov Award, 2000Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and Gass's remarks for the PEN Literary Awards Ceremony, "Pen-Nabokov Prize"
Folder 5: St. Louis Walk of Fame, 1998Add to your cart.
Consists of correspondence related to Gass's induction to the St. Louis Walk of Fame
Folder 6: Washington University in St. Louis, Emeritus Appointment, 1999Add to your cart.
Program
Sub-Series 2: Business cardsAdd to your cart.
Box 123Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Various business cards collected by GassAdd to your cart.
10 items
Sub-Series 3: CalendarAdd to your cart.
Box 123Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Calendar, 2000Add to your cart.
Located in oversize
Sub-Series 4: Conferences and Speaking EngagementsAdd to your cart.
Consists of itineraries and other materials related to conferences and speaking engagements attended or participated in by Gass
Box 123Add to your cart.
Folder 9: ACRL President's Program, The Value of Values: Changes and Continuities as We Face the New Millennium, 1998: June 29Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, etc
Folder 10: American Academy of Arts and Letters Tribute for John Hawkes, 2000: November 14Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, travel information and receipts, program information, and two typescript [computer printout] of "Commemorative Tribute: John Hawkes"
Folder 11: American Literature in the Seventies, German Association for American Studies in Tübingen, 1979Add to your cart.
Folder 12: The American Photography Institute 1999 National Graduate Seminar, 1999: June 8Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, travel information, typescript [computer printout] of "Idea and Image," etc
Folder 13: Ascent/Accent Symposium and Memoriam for Dan Curley, 1989: April 5-6Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, excerpt by Carol Pierman, and Gass's notes/outline
Folder 14: AWP.Y2KC Annual Conference, 2000: March 29-April 1Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, conference schedule, etc.
Folder 15: Being Blue: Sex and Obscenity in LiteratureAdd to your cart.
Includes travel and program information.
Folder 16: Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival, 2000: April 5-9Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, travel information, etc.
Folder 17: Brandeis University, Ontological Transformation, 1999: October 21Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, notes, and travel information
Folder 18: Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, 1974-1976Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, curriculum information, staff member information, schedules, volumes of The Crumb, postcards, brochures, notes, etc
Folder 19: Cambridge Festival of American Literature 2000, 2000: March 17-19Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, travel information, program information, typescript [computer printout] of Middle C as send to Stand Magazine, etc.
Box 124Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Charlene Bry Salon, 1999: April 9Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, etc.
Folder 2-5: Commission on the Humanities, 1978-1981Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, reports, meeting notes, publications, etc.
Folder 6: Conference on a National Humanities Center, 1974Add to your cart.
Includes brochures, correspondence, travel information, etc.
Folder 7: Detroit Salon Meeting, 2000: September 10Add to your cart.
Includes guest list and expense statement
Folder 8: The Dual Muse, 1998: May 16Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence. Delivered at the 1998 Washington University Reunion program
Folder 9: Eden Mills Writers' Festival, 1999: September 12Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and travel information
Folder 10: The Ghost of ArtAdd to your cart.
Gass's show at the Washington University Gallery of Art. Includes correspondence
Folder 11: Hannover Expo 2000, 2000: August 2Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and travel arrangements
Folder 12: Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards ProgramAdd to your cart.
Box 125Add to your cart.
Folder 1-2: MiscellaneousAdd to your cart.
Includes correspondence, travel and program information, etc for various conference and speaking engagements
Folder 3: La Novela en Espanol, Hoy at Indiana University, 1980: September 18-20Add to your cart.
Includes program and campus information.
Folder 4: Lannan Reading Series with Jamaica Kincaid, 2000: May 17Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, etc.  Also includes information concerning Gass's participation as commencement speaker at St. John's College (2000: May 20) and three typescript [photocopy] of his address, "The Good Books"
Folder 5: Learning and Discovery: Gateways to the 21st Century, Inaugural Symposium for Mark S. Wrighton, 1995: October 6Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, issues of the Record, program memorabilia, and typescript [computer printout] of "Chancellor Wrighton Symposium"
Folder 6: Literary Advisory Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, 1978-1980Add to your cart.
Includes program information, correspondence, clippings, etc
Folder 7: The Loft Mentor Series, 1980Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, publications, etc
Folder 8: Loyola University J. Edgar and Louise S. Monroe Library Dedication, Discoveries, 1999: February 19Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence
Folder 9: Missouri Historical Society, Literary St. Louis, 2000: November 11Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and program details
Folder 10: Missouri Historical Society, The Urban Image, 2000: February 10Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and syllabus
Folder 11: National Book Awards, 1972-1979Add to your cart.
Includes news releases, nomination lists, correspondence, etc
Box 126Add to your cart.
Folder 1-2: National Endowment for the Humanities, 1972-1982Add to your cart.
Includes reports, correspondence, handbook, etc
Folder 3: National Science Foundation Proposal, A Natural History of the Senses, 1991: March 1Add to your cart.
Gass served as an advisor. Includes the proposal
Folder 4: National Society of Arts and Letters (St. Louis Branch), 2000: June 5Add to your cart.
Includes notes
Folder 5: Nice Conference on Postmodern Fiction: Performance and Representation, 1982: April 22-24Add to your cart.
15 items
Folder 6: Norman Cousins Writers' Conference, 1992: May 4-7Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, and notes
Folder 7: PEN American Center Proust Tribute, 2000: October 25Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, travel information, and a typescript [photocopy] of "Reading Proust"
Folder 8: PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, 1981Add to your cart.
Includes program, notes, and clippings
Folder 9: The People Speak, How Do You Know You Know?, 1979: December 17Add to your cart.
Includes press release and Gass's notes
Folder 10: Rea Award for the Short Story, 2000: April 20Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, nomination information from other judges, press releases, clippings,
Folder 11: Salzberg Seminar, 1972-1973Add to your cart.
Includes notes, program information, and brochures
Box 127Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Southern Methodist University - "And", 1983: November 6Add to your cart.
Includes contract and itinerary
Folder 2: Stieren Arts Enrichment Series, Spring 1998Add to your cart.
Schedule for Gass and correspondence
Folder 3: Syracuse University, 1999: November 17Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and travel information
Folder 4: Town and Gown LectureAdd to your cart.
Folder 5: United States International Communication AgencyAdd to your cart.
Includes correspondence
Folder 6: Washington University Assembly Series, Retrospection, 2000: October 11Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and program information
Folder 7: Washington University Campus Y Book Fair at Left Bank Books, 1999: September 4Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and notes
Folder 8: The Washington University Club of Dallas/Fort Worth, In Defense of the Book, 1999: March 1Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, program information, travel information, etc.
Folder 9: Washington University Lifelong Learning, 2000: October 30Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence and notes
Folder 10: Washington University School of Law, In Defense of the Book, 1999: April 22Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence
Folder 11: The Writers Place, Kansas City, 1999: October 15Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, notes, and travel information
Folder 12: YaddoAdd to your cart.
Sub-Series 5: Driver's licenseAdd to your cart.
Box 127Add to your cart.
Folder 13: Driver's licenseAdd to your cart.
Consists of two expired driver's licenses belonging to Gass. Restricted, see curator for more details
Sub-Series 6: FinancialAdd to your cart.
Consists of legal agreements concerning various books by Gass, workshops, or readings; royalty reports; tax statements; rental/lease agreements; and receipts. Restricted, see curator for details
Box 127Add to your cart.
Folder 14-15: Royalty Statements, 1959-1999Add to your cart.
Restricted, see curator for more details
Folder 16: Miscellaneous Financial Records, 1965-2000Add to your cart.
Consists of invoices, agreements and contracts, travel information, etc.  Restricted, see curator for more details
Sub-Series 7: MedicalAdd to your cart.
Box 127Add to your cart.
Folder 17: Explanation of Medicare benefitsAdd to your cart.
Restricted, see curator for details
Sub-Series 8: OrganizationsAdd to your cart.
Box 128Add to your cart.
Folder 1-10: The American Academy of Arts and LettersAdd to your cart.
Item 5 located in Box 129, Folder 1-2
Item 1: Charter and By-Laws of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and LettersAdd to your cart.
Item 2: The American Academy of Arts and Letters Proceedings, 1990, 1994-1999Add to your cart.
7 items
Item 3: The American Academy of Arts and Letters Records, 1991-1992, 1995-2001Add to your cart.
6 items
Item 4: Member Nomination InformationAdd to your cart.
Includes some photocopied clippings and correspondence
Box 129Add to your cart.
Folder 1-2: The American Academy of Arts and LettersAdd to your cart.
Items 1-4 located in Box 128, Folders 1-10
Item 5: General Information, 1993-2000Add to your cart.
Includes correspondence, brochures, invitations, schedules, award nominations, membership rosters, ceremonial programs, etc.  Also includes a copy of "Memorial Tribute to Stanley Elkin"
Folder 3-7: American Academy of Arts and SciencesAdd to your cart.
Item 1: The American Academy of Arts and Sciences Membership Directory, 1996Add to your cart.
Item 2: American Academy of Arts and Letters Records, 1995-2000Add to your cart.
3 items
Item 3: American Academy of Arts and Sciences Bulletin, 1992-2000Add to your cart.
Volume XLVI, Number 1 (October 1992); Volume XLVI, Number 5 (February 1993); Volume XLVII, Number 1 (October 1993); Volume XLVII, Number 3 (December 1993); Volume XLVII, Number 1 (October 1994); Volume XLVIII, Number 4 (January 1995); Volume XLIX, Number 8 (May 1996); Volume L, Number 3 (December 1996); Volume L, Number 7 (May 1997); Volume LI, Number 3 (January/February 1998); Volume LI, Number 5 (May/June 1998); Volume LII, Number 4 (March/April 1999); Volume LIII, Number 4 (March/April 2000); and Volume LIII, Number 5 (May/June 2000). 14 items
Box 130Add to your cart.
Folder 1: The Academy of American Poets Report to the Members, 1995-1999Add to your cart.
4 items
Folder 2-4: John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Reports of the President and the Treasurer, 1994-1999Add to your cart.
6 items
Folder 5: PEN American CenterAdd to your cart.
13 items
Folder 6-8: River StyxAdd to your cart.
Item 1: River Styx binder, 1982-1985Add to your cart.
Includes River Styx PM Series flyers, photocopies of clippings, River Styx magazine prospectuses, board member information (meeting minutes, financial information, by-laws, etc.), correspondence, etc.  Original binder has been retained
Item 2: Miscellaneous River Styx materials, 1985Add to your cart.
Includes meeting agendas, minutes of board and executive committee meetings, correspondence, budget projections, Duff's Poetry Series press releases, board of director members, by-laws of the Big River Association, River Styx prospectuses, job descriptions, etc
Sub-Series 9: PhotographsAdd to your cart.
Box 131Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Photographs of GassAdd to your cart.
14 items. Photograph of Gass receiving an honorary degree from Purdue University is located in oversize.
Sub-Series 10: TeachingAdd to your cart.
Box 131Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Marianne Moore's Lexicon. Complied as a Companion to her Complete Poems by William Gass and divided into People and Places, Plants, and AnimalsAdd to your cart.
Created for the Philosophy and Literature Spring 1999 class during Gass’ final semester of teaching
Folder 3: Philosophy of Architecture: The WindowAdd to your cart.
Course syllabus
Sub-Series 11: International Writers Center (IWC)Add to your cart.
Box 131Add to your cart.
Folder 4: Correspondence, advisory board minutes, and flyerAdd to your cart.
4 items
Sub-Series 12: Vita and Biographical InformationAdd to your cart.
Box 131Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Vita and Biographical InformationAdd to your cart.
Includes Gass's vita (2013), a proof copy of Gass's information from International Authors and Writers Who's Who (2000), biographical information for Spoken Word Sunday program (2000), and invitation text.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence],
[Series 2: Manuscripts],
[Series 3: Material Towards Books],
[Series 4: Manuscripts By Others],
[Series 5: Personal Papers],
[Series 6: Ephemera],
[Series 7: Realia],
[Series 8: Audiovisual],
[Series 9: Print Materials],
[All]


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