Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Richard Wright Correspondence
Dorothy Canfield Fisher (1879 – 1958) was a best-selling American author, educational reformer, social activist, and influential member of the Book-of-the-Month Club selection committee from 1925 to 1951.
Richard Wright (1908-1960) is perhaps best known for his critically-acclaimed collection Uncle Tom’s Children: Four Novellas (1938), his groundbreaking novel Native Son (1940) and his autobiography, first published as Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth (1945). Black Boy was the on the bestseller list from April 29 to June 6 of that year, despite being denounced as obscene in the U.S. Senate by Democrat Theodore Bilbo of Mississippi, and it solidified Wright’s reputation, at the time, as the most famous black author in America. Wright spent the remainder of his career in Paris where he continued to produce fiction, extensive travel writings, essays about the social and political issues of the day and, toward the end of his life, an impressive body of haiku.
A restored text, Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth, was established by The Library of America in 1991. The letters between Richard Wright and Dorothy Canfield Fisher help to document the role that the Book-of-the-Month Club played in the publication of the first, excised version of Black Boy.
Eleven letters written between Dorothy Canfield Fisher and Richard Wright and an untitled, typed essay by Dorothy Canfield Fisher found in the Richard Wright Papers, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.