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Stuart Wright Collection: William Goyen Papers, 1935–1963, undated

Manuscript Collection #1169-022

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Stuart Wright Collection: William Goyen Papers
Creators: Goyen, William [Charles William], 1915-1983
Wright, Stuart T., 1948-
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1935-1963, undated) documenting the life and literary career of William Goyen, the noted American novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, editor and teacher, consisting of loose manuscripts transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including manuscripts, notes and clippings by or about William Goyen, D. H. Lawrence, Merriam Golden, Stephen Spender, and others.
Extent: 0.25 Cubic feet, 1 archival box; 8 items.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

21 June 2010, 0.004 cubic feet; 1 archival box; 8 items; 15 p. Papers (1935-1963) documenting the life and literary career of William Goyen, the noted American novelist, short story writer, poet, playwright, editor and teacher, consisting of loose manuscripts transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection including manuscripts, notes and clippings by or about William Goyen, D. H. Lawrence, Merriam Golden, Stephen Spender, and others. Vendor: Stuart Wright.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Stuart Wright Collection - William Goyen Papers (#1169-022) East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

Acquisition Information

  • Purchased from Stuart Wright, 6/21/2010

Processing Information

  • Processed, Container List & Preliminary inventory by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Saundra Pinkham, revised 11/19/2010; Final inventory by Douglas Tuers, revised 1/24/2011; Finding aid by Dick Wolfe, Trisha Capansky, 11/4/2011 & 12/1/2011; revised by Jonathan Dembo, 1/23/2012; Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, 7/6/2012; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 7/18/2012.


Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

William Goyen

Charles William Goyen was born in Trinity, Texas on 24 April 1915. He earned a bachelors in literature (1937) and masters (1939) in comparative literature from Rice University in Houston. After teaching for less than a year at Rice, Goyen entered the U. S. Navy as an officer. During World War II, Goyen served aboard the aircraft carrier USS CASABLANCA, 1939-1945. After the war, moved to Taos, New Mexico, where he lived near D. H. Lawrence’s widow, Frieda Lawrence, who helped him pursue his writing career.

Afterwards, Goyen taught at a number of universities, including the New School of Social Research, Columbia University, Princeton University, and the University of Houston in the 1960s. He was a senior trade book editor at McGraw-Hill from 1966-1971. He then served as a visiting professor of English at Brown University, in 1973. Goyen was the author of five novels, four short story collections, five plays, and a non-fiction book related to his conversion experience. He was married to the actress Doris Roberts from 1963 until his death. After leaving Brown University, Goyen moved to Los Angeles, California where he died on 30 August 1983.

Stuart Wright

The William Goyen Papers were collected and compiled by Stuart T. Wright. Wright was born on 30 March 1948 in Roxboro, North Carolina. He was the son of Frances Critcher Wright (1919-2010) and Wallace Lyndon Wright (1921-1965). An avid reader as a boy, Wright developed a strong interest in the American Civil War and with his father toured many of the war’s battlefields searching for artifacts and studying the history of the era. At the age of 12, he won a statewide “Johnny Reb” essay contest and by the age of 15 had visited every major battlefield of the Civil War. Wright attended Roxboro High School, from which he graduated in 1966. It was during these years that he developed an interest in collecting historical books and manuscripts and began relationships with a number of local collectors and dealers.

In the fall of 1966, Wright enrolled at Wake Forest University as a pre-med, history, German and music student. Wright earned a B.A. in German and music in 1970. As a graduate student at Wake Forest University, Wright focused his studies on Southern history and literature, his ambition being to build an authoritative Southern Studies collection for the university. He received a master's degree in Southern Studies in 1973 and a second master's degree in U.S. History in 1980. Additionally Wright holds a professional degree from England in a medically related field. It was while studying there that he became interested in Thomas Wolfe, the noted North Carolina native and novelist.

Following his graduation from Wake Forest, Wright began to develop his collections more systematically, acquiring many first editions of Southern writers. In 1976 he began teaching at Reynolda House, a Wake Forest University affiliate dedicated to the arts and arts education. Wright taught classes in American music as well as human anatomy for art students. In 1978 Wright became Lecturer in Education at Wake Forest University. During his 10 years teaching at Wake Forest University, Wright authored numerous works of Civil War and North Carolina history, and dozens of articles, bibliographies, essays and reviews on Southern literature and the writers whose papers he collected. In addition, he developed a strong interest in the writings of the English poet Donald Davie and the Minnesota-born poet Richard Eberhart, whose works he also collected.

At the same time, Wright also began a career as a publisher by starting Palaemon Press in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. By 1984, Palaemon Press had produced 316 titles, consisting mainly of broadsides and limited editions, of the poetry and essays of such Southern writers as A. R. Ammons, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, William Goyen, George Garrett, and Eudora Welty. He also built comprehensive collections and compiled book-length descriptive bibliographies of A.R. Ammons, Andrew Lytle, Reynolds Price, James Dickey, William Goyen, Walker Percy, Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, George Garrett, Richard Eberhart, and Donald Davie. As well as serving as editor of the contemporary literature section of the Bulletin of Bibliography throughout the 1980s, Wright also contributed pioneering checklists of the writings of Southern poets Henry Taylor, Charles Wright, and Robert Morgan. For Meckler Publishing he served as series editor for a number of book-length bibliographies and checklists. In recognition of these accomplishments, when he was just 32, Wright was elected to membership in New York's prestigious Grolier Club.

All of these works are represented in the Stuart Wright Collection. In his dealings with these various authors Wright made consistent efforts to acquire personal papers, letters and documents, photographs, manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and published materials to supplement his continuing activities as a purchaser of their works. In this way, Wright acquired perhaps a majority of his overall collection. Over the years a number of biographers used Wright’s collection to aid their research. For example, James A. Grimshaw, Jr. used the collection extensively for his Robert Penn Warren: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1922-1979 published by the University Press of Virginia, in 1981 and Craig S. Abbott did so as well for John Crowe Ransom: A Descriptive Bibliography, published by Whitston Publishing Company, Inc. in 1999. Joseph Blotner also used the Wright collection in researching Robert Penn Warren: A Biography, published by Random House in 1997.

Nevertheless, from the mid- to late 1980s, Wright began to look for a permanent home for his collection, which he felt had grown too large and yet had been too little used. Unable to find a repository willing to accept the entire collection under suitable conditions, he sold a number of individual author collections to Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Emory University. It was not until 2010 that he reached agreement to house the remaining, and largest part of his collection at East Carolina University. The Stuart Wright Collection in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection of J.Y. Joyner Library includes 22 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers. The related Stuart Wright Book Collection holds several thousand volumes by or about many of the same writers. Many of these volumes contain annotations, inscriptions, and insertions that reveal much about the authors in the collection and their relationships with one another. In 1998 Wright moved to England, and since 2001 he has resided in the medieval market town of Ludlow, in Shropshire.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

This collection consists entirely of loose manuscripts transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, including items relating to William [Charles William] Goyen, D. H. [David Herbert] Lawrence, Merriam Golden, Stephen Spender, and others.

The William Goyen Papers are arranged in original order in one series.

Series 1: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from Stuart Wright Book Collection consists entirely of loose manuscript and other materials transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection. Perhaps the most interesting material in the collection consists of poems by English author and poet, D. H. Lawrence, read by Merriam Golden at Lawrence’s funeral. The poems were transferred from Lawrence’s book, David. The series also includes notes and clippings related to Stephen Spender, and William Goyen removed from The Edge of Being by Stephen Spender, from The Fair Sister, by William Goyen (1963), and from Ghost and Flesh, by William Goyen (1952). The loose manuscripts are linked to the book of origin by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #38.04). Series one is held in Box 1.a – 1.d

Note to Researchers: Series 1: Loose Manuscripts Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection consists of items found laid in works in the Stuart Wright Book Collection by, about, associated with, or owned by William Goyen. They include notes and bookmarks inserted by Goyen, Stuart Wright, and others; also notes, cards, correspondence, clippings, advertising, reviews, ephemera, etc. relating to his published works. The loose manuscripts are linked to the books from which they came by their Stuart Wright Book Collection Number (e.g. Stuart Wright Book Collection #40.15).

Related Collections Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Container List Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Series 1:
Loose Manuscripts Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection
  • Box 1#1169-022.1
    • Folder a#1169-022.1.a
      David, by D. H. Lawrence [Books] (1935) Printed. 1 item. 8 p. Note: Book signed by William Goyen; Poems by D. H. Lawrence Read by Merriam Golden at the Ceremony for the placing of Lawrence's ashes at Kiowa Ranch, San Cristobal, N.M. [New Mexico]" autographed: Ruther Swaine - Reserve": Poems read: "Things Men Have Made", "Whatever Man Makes", "Work", "After All Saints' Day", "All Saints Day", & "Prayer - (Last Poem, unfinished at death) (ca. 1935) Typescript. Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection #49.17
    • Folder b#1169-022.1.b
      Edge of Being, The, by Stephen Spender [Books] (1949) Printed. 1 item. 1 p. Note: Stuart Wright post it note: "Inscribed to William Goyen" (undated) Holograph; Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection #49.24
    • Folder c#1169-022.1.c
      Fair Sister, The, by William Goyen [Books] (1963) Printed. 1 item. 1 p. Note: William Goyen, New York City, Note in torn endpaper: "For Anne, one of the first readers of this little tale, . . . ." (September 1963) Holograph; Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection #49.25
    • Folder d#1169-022.1.d
      Ghost and Flesh, by William Goyen [Books] (1952) Printed. 5 items. 5 p. Note: "Ghost and Flesh" title page with ink stains (undated) Original art [?]; "Talented Texan" in San Antonio Express (4 May 1952) Clipping; Fragile, torn, needs conservation; "On Goyen's 'My Fair Sister'" in Rice Alumni Magazine annotated on verso: "Given to me by Joe Rider Nov. 19, 63 - Austin" (ca. 1963) Clipping; "Among the Elegant Set" in Houston Post includes illustrations of Goyen and fiancé at Goyen family party (27 October 1963) Clipping; Fragile, Torn, Pressure sensitive tape, needs conservation; "Poetic Stories of Great Human Loneliness: Ghost and Flesh, by William Goyen, Reviewed by Sylvia Stallings", Herald Tribune Book Review (10 February 1952) Clipping; Torn, Fragile, needs conservation; Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection #49.34
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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Division, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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