Stuart Wright Collection: David Slavitt Papers, 1967-2009 (bulk 1970-1994), undated

Manuscript Collection #1169-056

  • Descriptive Summary
     
    Title: Stuart Wright Collection: David Slavitt Papers
    Creator: Slavitt, David R., (David Rytman), b. 1935, Henry Sutton (pseud)
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: Papers of David R. Slavitt (1967-2009 [Bulk: 1970-1994], undated) documenting the life and literary career of the prolific White Plains, New York-born American writer, poet, translator, and educator at several universities, who has authored more than 100 books; consisting of manuscript typescripts, loose manuscripts transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, and proofs of his works, including his novel Cold Comfort; also including several works under his pseudonym "Henry Sutton" notably a typescript of his poem The Cock Book: Or A Child’s First Book of Pornography; and proofs of Vector: A Novel (1970).
    Extent: 0.5 Cubic feet, 0.50 Cubic feet, 1 archival box, 11 items, 417 p.,
  • Description
     

    The Stuart Wright Collection: David R. Slavitt Papers are arranged in original order in 2 series.

    Series 1: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection, consists of papers (1970-1980, undated) including manuscript typescripts, loose manuscripts transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, and proofs of works published by David Rytman Slavitt (b. 1935), the prolific American writer, poet, and translator who has published more than 100 books, including those under several pseudonyms, including Henry Sutton. Source: Cary Addition Box # 66, 100, 133, 154, 161. Series 1 is housed in Box 1.a-1.e

    Series 2: Ludlow Addition #2 to the Stuart Wright Collection, consists of papers (1967-1994) including Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection. Source: Ludlow Addition Box # 166. Series 2 is housed in Box 1.f-1.j.

  • Biographical / Historical Note
     

    David R. Slavitt was born David Rytman Slavitt on 23 March 1935 in White Plains, New York. Slavitt attended boarding school in Massachusetts and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University, in 1956, where he had studied under Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren, and was elected class poet. He later earned his Master's degree in English from Columbia University in 1957.

    In 1958, Slavitt embarked on a career as a writer, translator, poet, novelist, and film critic and over the years has written for many famous publications including Reader's Digest and Newsweek. He also had taught at many institutions including the University of Maryland College Park, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

    Over his career Slavitt has authored over 100 books, including popular novels under his various pseudonyms, most notably Henry Sutton.

    Sources:

    "David Slavitt Biographical Sketch", by George Garrett. [Biographical Sketch] Clipping. #1169-056.1.j "David R. Slavitt". [Biographical Sketch]. Wikipedia Accessed 28 October 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_R._Slavitt.

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of John Leche, 10/28/2016

    Stuart Wright collected and compiled the David Rytman Slavitt (Henry Sutton) Papers. He was born, Stuart Thurman Wright, 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 106 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers, illustrators, composers, and publishers. 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.

    Author: Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2016

  • Administrative Information
     
    Accessions Information

    27 October 2011, (Cary Addition #1), 0.40 cubic feet; 0.9 archival box; 5 items; 404 p. Papers (1970-1980, undated) including manuscript typescripts, loose manuscripts transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection, and proofs of works published by David Rytman Slavitt (b. 1935), the prolific American writer, poet, and translator who has published more than 100 books, including those under several pseudonyms, including Henry Sutton. Source: Cary Addition Box # 66, 100, 133, 154, 161. Vendor: Stuart Wright

    20 July 2012, (Ludlow Addition #2), 0.10 cubic feet; 0.10 archival box; 6 items; 13 p. Papers (1967-1994) consisting of Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Book Collection. Source: Ludlow Addition Box # 166. Vendor: Stuart Wright

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Stuart Wright, 10/27/2011, 7/20/2012

    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: David R. Slavitt Papers (#1169-056), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

    Processing Information

    Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King & Dale Wetterhahn, 12/8/2015, 2/10/1026, 3/29/2016, 8/24/2016; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 8/24/2016; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 9/20/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of John Leche, 4/26/2016, 10/28/2016, rev. 2/6/2017; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 2/6/2017.

Container List

  • Cary Addition to Stuart Wright Collection
     

    • Manuscript Typescripts
       

      • Box 1
         
        Cock Book, The : Or A Child's First Book of Pornography [Poem] by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (undated) Typescript. 1 item. 4 p. ; Note : 1) Inscribed on front cover : "For Stuart with kind regards Henry Sutton" ; Source : Cary Addition Box #100B.000
    • Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Books Collection
       

      • Box 1
         
        Vector, by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (c. 1970) Note : 1) Bernard Geis Associates, Publishers, New York. NY. News release by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, announcing new Henry Sutton novel challenging "germ warfare credibility gap" (August 1970) Newsletter. 1 item. 2 p. ; Source : Cary Addition Box #154.005
        Vector : A Novel, by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (© 1970) Note : 1) Bernard Geis Associates, Publishers, New York, NY. Review request slip [Blank] (© 1970) Printed form. 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Cary Addition Box #161.037
    • Proofs
       

      • Box 1
         
        Cold Comfort : A Novel, by David Rytman Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (New York, NY : Methuen © May 1980) Uncorrected Proof. Bound. Soft Cover. 1 item. 127 p. ; Note : Autographed "David R. Slavitt" on title page ; Source : Cary Addition Box #133.011
        Liberated, The, by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (New York, NY : Doubleday & Company, Inc., © 1973) Galley Proofs. Bound. Soft Cover. 1 item. 270 p. ; Note : 1) Inscribed on title page "To DS Henry Sutton" ; 2) Front cover missing ; brittle, fragile, torn pages ; needs conservation ; Source : Cary Addition Box #066A.021
  • Ludlow Addition to Stuart Wright Collection
     

    • Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Books Collection
       

      • Box 1
         
        Feel Free : A Novel, by Henry Sutton [David R. Slavitt] (© 1968) Note : 1) Hodder and Soughton Limited with compliments card (ca. 1968) Printed. 1 item. 1 p. ; Brittle, fragile ; needs conservation ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.035
        Rochelle or Virtue Rewarded, by David Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (© 1968) Note : 1) David Slavitt Publicity Photograph, by Bernard Gotfryd for Rochelle or Virtue Rewarded published by Delacorte Press (ca. 6 Sept. 1967) Photographic print with caption. Black & White. 5" x 7" 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.038
        Slavitt : The Unauthorized Autobiography, by David Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (© 1994) Note : 1) David Slavitt. Letter to "Dear Conspirator" entitled "Slavitt Bash Book News : See You Saturday Night -- With Slavitt!?" describing publication of his autobiography (1 Oct. 1994) Typescript. 1 item. 1 p. ; 2) DPD Consignment Transit Cover (17 Sept. 2009) Printed form. 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.033
        Vital Signs, by David R. Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (© 1973) Note : 1) David R. Slavitt [Henry Sutton], Philadelphia, PA. Letter to Stuart Wright acknowledging receipt of long list ; flattered ; listing omitted books ; enclosing signed copy of Vital Signs ; asks Wright to arrange readings with paid travel so he can visit North Carolina, meet Wright and visit Fred Chappell (7 July 1981) TLS. 1 item. 1 p. ; brittle, fragile ; needs conservation ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.023
        Voyeur, The, by Henry Sutton [David R. Slavitt] (© 1969) Note : 1) David Slavitt Biographical sketch, by George Garrett (ca. 1980) Clipping. 1 item. 8 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.029

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Container List

  • Cary Addition to Stuart Wright Collection
     

    • Manuscript Typescripts
       

      • Box 1
         
        Cock Book, The : Or A Child's First Book of Pornography [Poem] by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (undated) Typescript. 1 item. 4 p. ; Note : 1) Inscribed on front cover : "For Stuart with kind regards Henry Sutton" ; Source : Cary Addition Box #100B.000
    • Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Books Collection
       

      • Box 1
         
        Vector, by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (c. 1970) Note : 1) Bernard Geis Associates, Publishers, New York. NY. News release by Letty Cottin Pogrebin, announcing new Henry Sutton novel challenging "germ warfare credibility gap" (August 1970) Newsletter. 1 item. 2 p. ; Source : Cary Addition Box #154.005
        Vector : A Novel, by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (© 1970) Note : 1) Bernard Geis Associates, Publishers, New York, NY. Review request slip [Blank] (© 1970) Printed form. 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Cary Addition Box #161.037
    • Proofs
       

      • Box 1
         
        Cold Comfort : A Novel, by David Rytman Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (New York, NY : Methuen © May 1980) Uncorrected Proof. Bound. Soft Cover. 1 item. 127 p. ; Note : Autographed "David R. Slavitt" on title page ; Source : Cary Addition Box #133.011
        Liberated, The, by Henry Sutton [David Rytman Slavitt] (New York, NY : Doubleday & Company, Inc., © 1973) Galley Proofs. Bound. Soft Cover. 1 item. 270 p. ; Note : 1) Inscribed on title page "To DS Henry Sutton" ; 2) Front cover missing ; brittle, fragile, torn pages ; needs conservation ; Source : Cary Addition Box #066A.021
  • Ludlow Addition to Stuart Wright Collection
     

    • Loose Manuscript Items Transferred from the Stuart Wright Books Collection
       

      • Box 1
         
        Feel Free : A Novel, by Henry Sutton [David R. Slavitt] (© 1968) Note : 1) Hodder and Soughton Limited with compliments card (ca. 1968) Printed. 1 item. 1 p. ; Brittle, fragile ; needs conservation ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.035
        Rochelle or Virtue Rewarded, by David Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (© 1968) Note : 1) David Slavitt Publicity Photograph, by Bernard Gotfryd for Rochelle or Virtue Rewarded published by Delacorte Press (ca. 6 Sept. 1967) Photographic print with caption. Black & White. 5" x 7" 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.038
        Slavitt : The Unauthorized Autobiography, by David Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (© 1994) Note : 1) David Slavitt. Letter to "Dear Conspirator" entitled "Slavitt Bash Book News : See You Saturday Night -- With Slavitt!?" describing publication of his autobiography (1 Oct. 1994) Typescript. 1 item. 1 p. ; 2) DPD Consignment Transit Cover (17 Sept. 2009) Printed form. 1 item. 1 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.033
        Vital Signs, by David R. Slavitt [Henry Sutton] (© 1973) Note : 1) David R. Slavitt [Henry Sutton], Philadelphia, PA. Letter to Stuart Wright acknowledging receipt of long list ; flattered ; listing omitted books ; enclosing signed copy of Vital Signs ; asks Wright to arrange readings with paid travel so he can visit North Carolina, meet Wright and visit Fred Chappell (7 July 1981) TLS. 1 item. 1 p. ; brittle, fragile ; needs conservation ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.023
        Voyeur, The, by Henry Sutton [David R. Slavitt] (© 1969) Note : 1) David Slavitt Biographical sketch, by George Garrett (ca. 1980) Clipping. 1 item. 8 p. ; Source : Ludlow Addition Box #166.029


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