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Wilder (Thornton) Papers

The collection consists chiefly of correspondence with family, friends, and literary colleagues; and writings, accompanied by related material. There are smaller amounts of personal papers, printed material, photographs, memorabilia, and audio recordings. The material documents Wilder's life and work, in particular his career as a successful novelist and playwright.Series I, Correspondence, consists of four subseries: Family Correspondence; General Correspondence; First Name Only and Unidentified Correspondence; and Third Party Correspondence. Wilder's correspondence with family members, notably with his sister Isabel, is extensive and contains much information on both his personal and professional activities.General Correspondence consists mainly of letters received by Wilder and particularly documents his literary activities and public reception after the success of Our Town in 1938. Correspondents include Garson Kanin, Michael Myerberg, Vivien Leigh, Louise Talma, Max Beerbohm, Vincent Sheean, Gertrude Stein, Glenway Wescott, and Herberth Herlitschka.Series II, Writings, contains excellent documentation of Wilder's works, including holograph and typescript drafts of all of his major writings; extensive materials relating to the production and adaptation histories of Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth; and review and publicity files for both plays and novels. The series also holds drafts of many essays and lectures by Wilder, as well as copies of writings by others, most but not all Wilder-related.Series III, Personal Papers, includes journals, autobiographical notes and notebooks kept by Wilder; numerous awards and honors bestowed on him; papers relating to his education and career as a university lecturer; research notes on Finnegans Wake; his military service papers; and some financial and travel records. Series IV, Printed Material, consists of newspaper clippings, pamphlets, and an extensive run of theater programs for plays attended by Wilder and his sister Isabel.Series V, Photographs, primarily contains portraits of Wilder taken throughout his life, including some of his stage appearances and a variety of publicity shots. There are also photographs of family and friends and production photographs for several plays.Series VI, Memorabilia and Other Papers, contains artwork, other realia, and musical scores by Louise Talma and others. Series VII, Audio Tapes and Other Recordings, consists of a variety of sound recordings received with the Wilder Papers, including interviews and readings. Series VIII, Thornton Wilder Papers Addition, contains a small amount of family correspondence received after the collection had been processed.
Call Numbers
YCAL MSS 108
Creation Date
January 15, 2013

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