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William Gaddis Papers (MSS049)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Correspondence

Fiction

Essays and Critical Writings

Drama

Corporate Writings

Personal Papers

Business Papers

Miscellaneous Printed Materials

Photographs and Negatives

Articles and Clippings

Audiovisual

Realia

Works By Others

Restricted Material - Open as of May 9, 2012



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William Gaddis Papers (MSS049), 1902-1998 | MSS Manuscripts

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Collection Overview

Title: William Gaddis Papers (MSS049), 1902-1998Add to your cart.

ID: MSS/MSS/049

Primary Creator: Gaddis, William, 1922-1998

Extent: 182.0 Boxes

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The William Gaddis papers consist largely of his own manuscript material: manuscripts and source material toward his books, drafts of various stories, published and unpublished, as well as essays, reviews, interviews, and a miscellaneous assortment of notes and other materials. Also present is a substantial amount of personal and general correspondence, primarily with family, friends, and fans. In addition, there is a relatively large amount of correspondence to editors, translators, and publishers, as well as correspondence with his colleagues in the literary community.

Collection Historical Note

William Thomas Gaddis, Jr. was born on December 29, 1922 in Manhattan and raised in Massepequa (Long Island), by his parents, Edith and William Thomas Gaddis, Sr. His father left the family when he was three years old. Two years later, Edith sent her only child to Merricourt Boarding School in Berlin, Connecticut. Gaddis continued in private school until the eighth grade, after which he returned to Long Island to receive his diploma at Farmingdale High School in 1941.

Gaddis entered Harvard University on scholarship in the fall of 1941, where he continued until an illness forced him to take a medical leave of absence. After being reinstated at Harvard in the fall of 1942, Gaddis majored in English. By the fall of 1943, Gaddis had joined the staff of the Harvard Lampoon, where he would eventually serve as President. After leaving Harvard without a degree in 1945, Gaddis moved to Greenwich Village. During this time, he worked at the New Yorker; however, his most important hours were spent socializing with the emerging Beat Generation and working on his first novel, The Recognitions (1955). During this period, Gaddis also traveled throughout Central America, Europe, and Northern Africa.

Shortly after the publication of The Recognitions, Gaddis married his first wife, Patsy Black, who would give birth to his only children, Sarah and Matthew. His first novel was not well-received by academia, literary critics, or the purchasing public, and so from the late 1950s to the the mid 1970s, Gaddis worked for Pfizer International, Eastman Kodak, IBM, and the United States Army, as a speechwriter and/or screenwriter to support his family.

In 1975, twenty years after his first novel, he published J.R., which would go on to win a National Book Award in 1976. By this time, he was also involved in his second marriage to Judith Thompson, which would dissolve shortly after J.R. was published. By the late 1970s, Gaddis had met Muriel Oxenberg Murphy, with whom he would reside until the mid-1990s.

Gaddis' third novel Carpenter's Gothic, (1985) which he called a 'romance,' would be nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award, while his fourth novel, A Frolic of His Own (1994), would earn him a second National Book Award in 1995. Gaddis was also awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Guggenheim, a Lannan Foundation grant, and a MacArthur Foundation award. He was a member of PEN and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

William Thomas Gaddis died of prostate cancer in 1998. His final work, Agapé, Agape was published four years later in the fall of 2002.

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.)

Copyright to significant portions of the collection held by Matthew and Sarah Gaddis. All inquiries concerning publication should be directed to The Wylie Agency, 250 West 57th Street, Suite 2114 New York, NY 10107.

Acquisition Method:

Purchased from the Estate of William Gaddis, circa March 2002.

Accession number 23969. Purchase from Ralph Sipper Books, June 24, 2011.

Accession number 23951. Purchase from Heritage Auction House, February 11, 2010.

Accession number 2012.025. Purchase from Ralph Sipper Books, September 18, 2012.

Related Materials: See also the Steven Moore Collection of William Gaddis (MSS156), the Richard Hazelton Papers (MSS131), the Hunter Low Papers (MSS132), the Charles Monaghan Papers (MSS076), and the Donald Oresman Papers (MSS130)

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

Processing Information:

Processed by Crystal Alberts: Summer 2003, 2004

Processed by Benjamin Cooper: Summer 2005

At Fortress FAE, before shipping, the older boxes in which the collection was packed (some of them apparently Gaddis' own liquor boxes), had to be replaced as they were water damaged. Often the shipping cartons into which the materials were placed were smaller than the original boxes, and so were re-numbered using letters of the alphabet. For example, during pre-shipping pre-processing, a box numbered 20 in the original booksellers inventory might be replaced with three cartons numbered 20a, 20b, and 20c. The same process was used with oversize folders, in order to save wear and tear on the materials as they were shipped. There is a shipping inventory that describes all of this. In addition to housing problems, a large portion of the collection was in poor order, but the decision was made to ship the materials and address the organization of the collection at Washington University.

The William Gaddis Papers arrived from Fortress FAE in New York City after having been packed in 42 archival cartons. They were accompanied by 3 pallets of books from his working library. The collection arrived with two inventories: one created by the bookseller and a partial inventory created and maintained by William Gaddis through 1994. The bookseller's inventory roughly followed Gaddis's.

In the course of processing at the university, the box numbers established by the bookseller's inventory were retained with the materials, but processing and preservation issues required a different arrangement with a new enumeration of boxes and folders. When an item was moved from a location in the intial inventory, a separation note was added to describe from where the item was taken and to where it was moved.

Currently the collection is housed in buffered archival folders and 8 1/2 x 14 clamshell manuscript boxes.

The correspondence in the collection was surveyed at Washington University. Two sorts of correspondence files were in the collection. There were files consisting of correspondence alone. These correspondence files were filed in chronological order by year in a correspondence series. Other correspondence within files was left where it was.

The novel drafts were left in the order in which Gaddis and/or the bookseller placed them. Some of the longer drafts were placed in multiple folders where this was necessary for preservation purposes. In certain cases, some of the drafts in the collection were created by Gaddis using strips of paper with typed text taped or glued to other pieces of paper. These were placed in protective mylar sleeves and photocopied. At times the strips had fallen off of the page because of the deterioration of the tape or glue. If this occurred, processors noted that the original order was lost.

The collection contains a large amount of newspaper print materials and faxed items. As Gaddis's works engage popular culture so intensely, these have been retained within the collection. There is no telling which bit of popular culture may have found its way into his novels. The most at risk of these items are being photocopied for preservation purposes. Occasionally, the items are so faded and/or deteriorated that they require a transcription by the processor in order to preserve the information. When this occurs, the processor makes a note that a transciption was made of the original. Rarely, the item is too damaged and/or faded to preserve the information.

Business papers consists of contracts and royalty statements found in correspondence files. These materials were transferred to their own series for preservation purposes.

Personal papers consists of materials related to personal, medical, and educational business, as well as genealogy that were found in correspondence files. These materials were transferred to their own series for preservation purposes.

The audiovisual series consists of cassette tapes, a Beta videocassette, photographs and negatives originally found throughout the collection. They were gathered into a separate series during the processing of the collection for preservation purposes. Most items have a separation note describing from which folder the item was taken.

Bound texts found in the collection, particularly those found in boxes designated by the bookseller as 12, 26-29, 41-42, were moved to Rare Books for cataloging. The books that made up William Gaddis' Working Library were also moved to Rare Books for cataloging. Whenever a bound text was transferred from the collection to Rare Books, a separation note was added.

Any items determined to be oversize were transferred from the location they were in when the collection arrived at Washington University to an oversize location for preservation purposes. Generally, separation notes accompany these items.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1902-1998],
[Series 2: Fiction],
[Series 3: Essays and Critical Writings, 1977-1997],
[Series 4: Drama],
[Series 5: Corporate Writings],
[Series 6: Personal Papers],
[Series 7: Business Papers],
[Series 8: Miscellaneous Printed Materials],
[Series 9: Photographs and Negatives],
[Series 10: Articles and Clippings],
[Series 11: Audiovisual],
[Series 12: Realia],
[Series 13: Works By Others],
[Series 14: Restricted Material - Open as of May 9, 2012],
[All]

Series 6: Personal PapersAdd to your cart.
Papers related to Gaddis' personal life.
Sub-Series 1: Education MaterialsAdd to your cart.
Box 141Add to your cart.
Folder 500: Harvard Psychology Class NotebookAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 501: Personal - Education - HarvardAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Harvard transcript.

Folder 502: Education - School Work (1929-1935) (Berlin CT - Merricourt / Worthington)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Elementary school papers.

Folder 503: Tuition Bills - MerricourtAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 504: Harvard School WorkAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Psychology papers.

Folder 505: Harvard Tuition Bills (1941, 1942-1945)Add to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 506: Schoolwork - MerricourtAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Elementary composition books and reports.

Folder 507: Juvenalia - 1941-1945Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Poem scrawled on scratch paper.

Folder 508: Merricourt documents (1932-1935)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Blank Merricourt application and invoice.

Folder 509: Merricourt Work (1929-1935)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Fragments of creative works, mostly poems, and photocopies.

Folder 510.1: Harvard Lampoon MagazineAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 510.2: Farmingdale High School Hi-Life yearbookAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Sub-Series 2: Private PapersAdd to your cart.
Box 142Add to your cart.
Folder 511: Addresses (book)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Address book from Paris.

Folder 512: Gaddis Coat of Arms MaterialAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 513: Personal Misc. 1940-1953Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Travel documents.

Folder 514: Sarah Gaddis - EducationAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Preschool forms.

Folder 515: Correspondence - Sarah GaddisAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Christmas card to Sarah (1999).

Folder 516: Sarah and Matthew MiscAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Summer reading list, 5th grade.

Folder 517: Sarah and StocksAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Application for Sarah to elementary school. Also stock certificates for FAS International and Norman Mining Company.

Folder 518: MiscAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Postcard and stamps.

Folder 519: Address Book, Gaddis Photo ID from Army Pictorial Center, Sarah Health FormAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 520: Family - legal documentsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 521: Personal - Family - EphemeraAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Locks of hair, blank envelope.

Folder 522: Personal MiscAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Descriptions of the children, William Gaddis' resume.

Folder 523: Finances - Bills - 1945-1953Add to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 524: Assorted Business 1958-Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Liberty Mutual cancellation notice.

Folder 525: Journals 1935 and 1941/42Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Bound journals / calendars from Harvard and Boy Scouts.

Folder 526: Journal ? entriesAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Gaddis' notes to himself at the age of 70 and after the publication of "JR," regarding his own debt and finances.

Folder 527: Misc Clippings / Bound NotebookAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings and notebook. Old folders.

Box 143Add to your cart.
Folder 528: PassportsAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Three of Gaddis' passports.

Folder 529: Medical RecordsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 530: Bank RecordsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 531: Legal DocumentsAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Traffic ticket, jury summons, Will documents.

Folder 532: FBI File (a)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

First part of FBI file on Gaddis.

Folder 533: FBI File (b)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Second part of FBI file on Gaddis.

Folder 534.1: Personal Finance (Bills/Receipts)Add to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 534.2: Certificate of deathAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 534.3: Divorce decree and Agreement of Separation from Patsy GaddisAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 534.4: Photocopy of William R. Gaddis's willAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 534.5: Photocopy of birth certificateAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Sub-Series 3: Miscellaneous PapersAdd to your cart.
Various miscellaneous writings, sorted roughly by decade. 1976 National Book Award program and speech.
Box 144Add to your cart.
Folder 535: 60sAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Handwritten addresses, notes.

Folder 536: 60s and 70sAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Handwritten notes, envelopes.

Folder 537: Early 70sAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings and notes.

Folder 538: 70s (a)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Brochure, draft, notes.

Folder 539: 70s (b)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Facsimile of Serendipity Books catalog 32.

Folder 540: 70s (c)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

"Recognitions" the journal, "JR" National Book Award speech and the 1976 National Book Award schedule of events and accompanying materials.

Folder 541: Bard and clippingsAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Bard College papers and clippings.

Folder 542: Late 70s (a)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Book by and from John Napper. Washington University publicity posters.

Folder 543: Late 70s (b)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings.

Folder 544: 70s (d)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

"Who's Who" galley proof on Gaddis.

Folder 545: ClippingsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 546: 70s (e)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings and resume.

Folder 547: MiscAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Ferry schedule, clippings, notes

Folder 548: '88-'91 (a)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings, Donald Barthelme obituary.

Folder 549: '88-'91 (b)Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings, notes, cover of French edition of "Carpenter's Gothic."

90s, (1 folder)

Clippings, reading announcement poster, and Gaddis family name history.

Located in oversize.

Box 145Add to your cart.
Folder 550: From Folder Marked "From Robert Graves" - Gaddis Self-PortraitAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Drawing by Gaddis of himself.

Folder 551: "From Robert Graves" - ClippingsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 552: "[aborted JR play]"Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Drafts of PEN address (1986), notes, version of JR with notes to turn into a play.

Folder 553: Notes, ClippingsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 554: 60s and FOIA requestAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Folder is empty. See 143/532-533 for FBI file.

Folder 555: Corr 90-95Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Calendar, French review of "JR," notes, and cards.

Folder 556: Corr 95-6Add to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 557: Corr 98-95Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Essay written on Gaddis. Maps, notes, clippings.

Folder 558: Corr 1959-Add to your cart.

(1 folder)

Clippings, handwritten notes.

Folder 559: Professional Organizations - Misc / GeneralAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Brochure for National Book Foundation.

Folder 560: ClippingsAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 561: 1994 National Book Award Finalist CertificateAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Folder 562.1: MacArthur CertificateAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

New York State Edith Wharton Citation of Merit, photocopies, (1 folder)

Located in oversize.

Folder 562.2: Various brochuresAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)
Sub-Series 4: Tax Returns and Personal FinanceAdd to your cart.
Various tax and personal finance documents, including processed checks and credit card receipts.
Box 146Add to your cart.
Folder 563: 1954 Tax FormAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Partially completed, presumably not filed. Empty envelope.

Folder 564: ReturnAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Tax documents.

Folder 565: Receipts and Tax DocumentsAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Tax documents.

Folder 566: Personal FinanceAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Processed checks and financial documents.

Folder 567: Receipts and ChecksAdd to your cart.

(1 folder)

Credit card receipts and processed checks.

Folder 568: Army Contracts and ExpensesAdd to your cart.
(1 folder)

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Correspondence, circa 1902-1998],
[Series 2: Fiction],
[Series 3: Essays and Critical Writings, 1977-1997],
[Series 4: Drama],
[Series 5: Corporate Writings],
[Series 6: Personal Papers],
[Series 7: Business Papers],
[Series 8: Miscellaneous Printed Materials],
[Series 9: Photographs and Negatives],
[Series 10: Articles and Clippings],
[Series 11: Audiovisual],
[Series 12: Realia],
[Series 13: Works By Others],
[Series 14: Restricted Material - Open as of May 9, 2012],
[All]


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