Manuscripts and Letters

Manuscripts and Letters

The following research libraries hold significant collections of Styron’s manuscripts, letters, and other literary papers. The websites for these libraries provide finding aids, guides to their collections, contact information, and other assistance. Searches for Styron manuscript items can be conducted by using the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections.

Duke University
The major research collection of William Styron’s papers is in the Special Collections Library in the William R. Perkins Library at Duke University, the author’s alma mater. This collection includes the holograph of Sophie’s Choice, three scrapbooks of memorabilia and clippings, letters and other correspondence, and numerous manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, and photographs. In April 2008, Random House donated a large collection of Styron’s literary manuscripts to Duke. The library has also recently acquired a group of manuscripts and association copies from the Styron family. Learn more.

The Library of Congress
This important collection includes the holographs for Lie Down in Darkness, The Long March, Set This House on Fire, and The Confessions of Nat Turner, together with other typescript and proof material. The collection contains the typescript of “Blankenship” (in The Suicide Run) and a false start for Set This House on Fire. Correspondence between Styron and Willie Morris is available at the LC in the papers for Harper’s Magazine. Learn more.

Columbia University
The Butler Library at Columbia holds significant collections of Styron’s business correspondence with his publisher (in the Random House papers) and with his first literary agent, Elizabeth McKee (in the Harold Matson papers). Learn more.

Lilly Library
The Lilly Library at Indiana University is the repository for the papers of Bobbs-Merrill, the publisher of the first edition of Lie Down in Darkness. This collection includes correspondence and internal memoranda about the bowdlerization of the novel. See Styron’s “I’ll Have to Ask Indianapolis—” in Havanas in Camelot. Learn more.

Harry Ransom Center
The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, holds correspondence between Styron and the novelist James Jones. Among its collections is the typescript of Styron’s address at Wilberforce University, November 24, 1967, delivered shortly after the publication of The Confessions of Nat Turner. Learn more.

University of Florida
Special Collections at the Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, holds the typescripts of The Long March and correspondence between Styron and the editor and writer Vance Bourjaily (look in the archives for discovery magazine, where “Long March” was first published). The library also has among its collections several letters between Styron and Herbert Gold. Learn more.