James Baldwin Manuscript Holdings

October 25, 2016

By Nancy Kuhl

Writer James Baldwin (1924-1987) is counted among the most important and influential African American writers of the twentieth century. His novels and essays explore the complexities and consequences of racial strife in the United States. Famous for his astute observations of American culture and his incisive examination of the psychological effects of racism and segregation, Baldwin’s most celebrated works include: Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953),  Notes of a Native Son (1955), Giovanni’s Room (1956),  Another Country (1962), and The Fire Next Time  (1963).
NOTE: materials in the Beinecke Digital Library may be protected by copyright; some images can only be viewed through the Yale Univeristy VPN.
Manuscripts, letters, and archival materials related to James Baldwin:
James Baldwin Early Manuscripts and Papers, 1941-1945 (6 boxes)
Call Number: JWJ MSS 21
Walter O. Evans collection of James Baldwin, 1953-1987(2 boxes)
Includes letters to Mary Garin Painter, Eugene Lerner, and David Leeming, and a typescript of Another Country
Call Number: JWJ MSS 107                               
James Baldwin drafts for Playboy; Uses of the blues, ms.; The man child, ms., 5 black and white photographs, and other related papers, 1962-1985 (1 box)
Call Number: JWJ MSS 75         
Digital Library: Drafts and Proofs                       
James Baldwin correspondence with Orilla Winfield, 1955-1990 (1 box)
Call Number: JWJ MSS 156    
Dangerous road before Martin Luther King / James Baldwin
“A propos de M. Wilson”
1 item (2 p.) ; 30 cm.       1971 May 29
Essay, holograph, on Edmund Wilson, signed at Nice. With typed transcript.
[Malcolm X]
1 item ([1], 146 p.) ; 28 cm.  [ca. 1969]
Draft, typescript mimeograph, of Baldwin’s screenplay based on Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Differs substantially from version published in 1973 as One Day, When I Was Lost; possibly an earlier draft.   Inscribed “Background material for screenplay on Malcolm X. Calder Willingham.”
Digital Library: typescript
“Notes for Project : Letter to My Younger Brother”
1 item (2 leaves) ; 28 cm. undated
Manuscript, typed and signed, discussing a book project.
Digital Library: typescript
“The Negro in Paris”
1 item ([8] leaves) ; 25 cm. [ca. 1950-1952]
Draft, typescript, of article for The Reporter. Accompanied by three TLS, dating from 1952, to “Mr. Rodman” of The Reporter, all regarding the article, and one ANS to an unidentified recipient.
Digital Library: typescript
Letter: to Sam[uel L. Blumenfeld]
2 items. 1953 May 31 and 1954 February 11
One TLS in which Baldwin announces his intention to finish “Letter for My Younger Brother,” describes his thoughts on newly begun novel (“Giovanni’s Room”), and requests a loan of twenty dollars. The letter includes a clipping of an article on James Baldwin from the Herald Tribune Book Review (1953 May 31).
Digital Library: 11 February 54
Letter: to Sam[uel L. Blumenfeld]
1 item   1953 June 6
One TLS to Samuel L. Blumenfeld written in Paris roughly one month after Baldwin’s first book was published.
Letter: to Sam[uel L. Blumenfeld]
1 item   1954 January 11
One TLS to Samuel L. Blumenfeld, written in Cannes, discussing various writing projects, including Baldwin’s new work on a “primer” based on correspondence with his younger brother, completion of “The Amen Corner,” and work towards his second novel, Giovanni’s Room.
Digital Library: 1954 January 11
Letters: between Sam[uel L. Blumenfeld] and Baldwin
2 items 1956 November 26 and n.y. December 5
One TLS to Samuel L. Blumenfeld, written in Corsica, and one TL to Baldwin from Blumenfeld. Baldwin mentions a new novel (possibly “Another Country”), the reception of “Giovanni’s Room,” and discusses returning to New York in the Spring of 1957. In his letter Blumenfeld discusses reading “Giovanni’s Room” and compliments Baldwin’s writing.
Letters: to [Edward] Parone
3 items 1955 March 11, July 7, and 1959 January 29
One ALS and two TLS to Edward Parone. Baldwin discusses his play “The Amen Corner”as well as his personal life (such as his financial situation and partner Lucien Happersberger). Includes letter written while Baldwin was at Yaddo and in New York and Washington, D.C.
Correspondence with John C. Wilson
17 items, 1957-1958
Correspondence regarding a proposed stage adaptation of Baldwin’s novel, Giovanni’s Room (New York: Dial Press, 1956). Correspondence includes one typescript letter, signed, from Baldwin to Wilson, and one typescript carbon letter from Wilson to Baldwin. Accompanied by 15 letters between between Wilson and others, including Albert I. Da Silva of Reinheimer & Cohen, Frederick L. Keefe of The New Yorker, and representatives of the William Morris Agency.
Letters to Shawn Henderson with related notes and sketches
Digital Library: letters

James Baldwin manuscripts in the Book-of-the-Month-Club Records
If Beale Street could talk, circa 1974 (box 1); The amen corner, circa 1967; Another country, circa 1962; Blues for Mister Charlie, circa 1964; Go tell it on the mountain, circa 1963; Notes of a native son, circa 1963 (box 48)
Call Number: YCAL MSS 278

Partial typescript draft of Go Tell It on the Mountain in the Richard Wright Papers, with manuscript annotations by Wright (Box 89)
Call Number: JWJ MSS 3
Clippings related to James Baldwin 1942-1969 (7 folders)
in the Clippings File of the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection
Open Letter to Angela Davis / Baldwin, James – manuscript
David Leeming Collection of James Baldwin research
Call Number: JWJ MSS 172
Letters to Carl Van Vechten
Digital Library: Folder 36
James Baldwin Manuscript in the New World Writing Records
“Roy’s Wound”
Digital Library: manuscript