|Title:||Stuart Wright Collection: John Updike Papers|
Wright, Stuart T.
|Repository:||ECU Manuscript Collection|
|Abstract:||Papers (1946-2010, undated) of John Updike, the noted American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic, including manuscript volumes, correspondence, manuscript and drafts of published materials, including interviews for Writers at Work: Seventh Paris Review original art, proofs, relating to his life and literary career.|
|Extent:||3.0 Cubic feet, 4 archival boxes, 176 items, 6,998 p.|
1 November 2013, 130 items, 3.0 cubic feet; Papers (1946-2010, undated) of John Updike, noted American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic; including notebooks, correspondence, manuscript and drafts of published materials, original art, proofs, annotated and inscribed printed works, etc. relating to his life and literary career. Vendor: Stuart Wright.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Stuart Wright Collection: John Updike Papers (#1169-023), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Preliminary inventory and Container list by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Saundra Pinkham and Shelby Sapp, 11/19/2010; revised 10/27/2011, 6/18/2013, 10/9/2013, 12/10/2013; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 11/8/2011, revised 7/6/2012, 12/10/2012; Updated Archivists Toolkit, Jonathan Dembo, 11/21/2013, 12/10/2013, 12/12/2013.
John Hoyer Updike (18 March 1932 – 27 January 2009) was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic. He was born in Reading, Pennsylvania, to Linda Grace (née Hoyer), an aspiring writer, and Wesley Russell Updike, a high school math teacher, and grew up in nearby Shillington, PA. The family later moved to the unincorporated village of Plowville. His mother's efforts to publish her writing inspired him as a child. " Updike's Berks County, PA also childhood influenced the environment of the Rabbit Angstrom tetralogy and other writings.
In 1950, he graduated from Shillington High School as co-valedictorian and class president. He then attended Harvard on a full scholarship. At Harvard, he achieved early recognition as a contributor to the Harvard Lampoon, of which he served as president, before graduating summa cum laude in 1954 with a degree in English. After graduating from Harvard, Updike decided to become a graphic artist and attended The Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford. At first, he wanted to be a cartoonist. After returning to the United States, however, Updike and his family moved to New York, where he became a regular contributor to The New Yorker. This was the beginning of his writing career. He occasionally contributed cartoons to various publications.
Updike's most famous work is his Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom series and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction twice (1982, 1991) -- one of only three authors to have won the award more than once. He published more than twenty novels and more than a dozen short story collections, as well as poetry, art criticism, literary criticism and children's books. Many of his stories, reviews, and poems appeared in The New Yorker, starting in 1954, and The New York Review of Books. He was also an accomplished cartoonist. Updike achieved great literary fame and success during his lifetime. In addition to winning the two Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction, he won two National Book Awards, three National Book Critics Circle awards, the 1989 National Medal of Arts and the 2003 National Humanities Medal. He also received the Rea Award for the Short Story. The National Endowment for the Humanities selected Updike to present the 2008 Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. government's highest humanities honor; Updike's lecture was entitled "The Clarity of Things: What Is American about American Art."
In 1953, Updike married Mary E. Pennington, an art student at Radcliffe College. Their first child, Elizabeth, was born in 1955 while Updike attended Oxford. They had three more children together. They divorced in 1974. In 1977 Updike married Martha Ruggles Bernhard with whom he lived for the remainder of his ife, in Beverly Farms, Massachusetts. He died of lung cancer at a hospice in Danvers, Massachusetts, on 27 January 2009, at the age of 76.
The John Updike 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.
The John Updike Papers is arranged in two series in original order.
Series 1: Manuscript Materials consists of composition notebooks that represent his life at Harvard University, ca. 1950-1954; correspondence, speeches, drafts of poems, short stories & a script, broadsides, cartoons of public figures and issues in the news, ca. 1958 - 1960; drawings; photographic prints of John Updike and Kurt Vonnegut by Jill Krementz; and edited transcriptions of oral interviews for Writers at Work: Seventh Paris Review (1986), including interviews with Eugene Ionescu, Philip Larkin, May Sarton, John Ashbery, Malcolm Cowley, Guillermo Cabrera, Raymond Carver, Arthur Koestler, William Maxwell, Milan Kundera, Edna O'Brien, Philip Roth, John Barth, Elizabeth Hardwick, Elie Wiesel, and Thomas McGuane; and issues of the Harvard Lampoon containing Updike's work.
Series 2: Proofs consists of 38 proofs of published works that Updike received as a publisher's reader or reviewer of the work, including loose manuscripts such as clippings, letters, advertising, and reviews by Updike and others about the works.