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Special Collections and University Archives

Finding Aid

Marion Meade - Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney Archives
MsC 914
Collection Dates: 2009-2010
10 linear ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Digital Surrogates: Except where indicated, this document describes but does not reproduce the actual text, images and objects which make up this collection. Materials are available only in the Special Collections Department.

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Acquisition and Processing Information: Gift of Marion Meade, 2011.

Photographs: Box 7


Scope and Contents

Research for the book Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eilleen McKenney.

Biographical Note

Marion Meade's previous biography subjects include Eleanor of Acquitane, Madame Blavatsky, Victoria Woodhull, Dorothy Parker, Buster Keaton, Woody Allen, and women writers of the nineteen twenties. Meade studied at Northwestern University and holds a Master's degree from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. She has contributed articles to The New York Times and The Village Voice, in addition to writing two novels. She lives in New York City.

Related Materials

See the other materials of Marion Meade

Buster Keaton

Woody Allen

Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin

Box Contents List

Box 1




Chronologies by years, 1903-1940:

---. 1903-1921--Harlem, New York City

---. 1922-1924--See subject files Tufts and Brown

---. 1925

---. 1929-1930--See subject file Beatrice Mathieu

---. 1931--Viele Pond summer; Sutton Hotel, New York City

---. 1932

---. 1940--See also subject files Ann Dowless Moore; Death Certificates/Coroner's Jury

Drafts and Notes by book chapter:

---. Preface

---. Chapters 1-23. (25 folders)

---. Appendix-Works of Nathaneal West

Family history/genealogies:

---. Weinstein, Wallenstein, Jardio, Ross, etc.

---. Nancy Silbert (West great niece)

---. Business files, Weinstein-Wallenstein family: NYC building construction, real estate

Bucks County, Pennsylvania (town of Erwinna, Pa. )

General Research - Subject Files

General Notes (2 folders)


West's Humor

West Personality/psychology


Camp Paradox

Tufts University

Box 2

Brown University

Guggenheim Application

Miss Lonelyhearts contracts--Boni & Liveright, Harcourt

Contempo magazine

Crimes and Misdemeanors


Sexuality and homosexuality


New York City 1930s

The Depression

West Addresses--New York and Hollywood

New York City Hotels: Kenmore Hall and Sutton Club then

New York Citt Hotels: Kenmore and Sutton now

Hotel: Parva Sed Apta--Hollywood

West's Los Angeles—includes West addresses in Hollywood

Death certificates (West and McKenney); coroner's jury hearing

Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens, New York City

People: Subject flies

Beatrice Mathieu [Roos]--writer, West's fiance

Alice Shepard [Dougall]--fashion model, West's fiance

Charles A. Pearce--Harcourt editor of Miss Lonelyhearts and My Sister Eileen

Joseph Schrank--playwright, screenwriter, West's coauthor "Good Hunting" play, 1938 (2 folders)

Josephine Herbst--writer, Bucks County neighbor

Mike Gold--writer, owner of Erwinna, Pennsylvania, farm

Lester Cole--screenwriter

F. Scott Fitzgerald--writer. File includes Sheilah Graham (girlfriend) and Frances Ring (secretary)

John O'Hara--writer

Stanley Rose--Hollywood bookseller

Yetive Moss--clerk, Stanley Rose bookstore

Sidney Joseph (S.J.) Perelman— writer-humorist, West's brother in law; Laura Weinstein Perelman, West's sister

Adam Perelman--West's nephew, son of Sid and Laura

Maxine Winokur--West's niece, executor of West-Perelman estate

Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman--writers

John Sanford--writer, childhood friend

---. Memoirs (3 books )—annotated by MM (in Box 8)

---. John Sanford-James Light correspondence

---. John Sanford -Angel Flores correspondence -including Sanford's 1939 "hate'' letter

---. John Sanford, Folder 1

---. John Sanford folder 2

Box 3

---. Jack Mearns-Sanford literary executor (some Mearns letters also in Sanford files, "Ruth McKenney psychology" and elsewhere)

---. "Caliphornia"--novel by Jack Mearns

Tony Kahn--NPR broadcaster- writer, son of blacklisted Screenwriter Gordon Kahn

J.D. (Sandy) McClatchy--poet, librettist (Miss Lonelyhearts opera)

Maxim Lieber—literary agent

Quentin Reynolds—writer, friend aka "Susan Chester"

David Goodrich

Ann Dowless Moore--Joseph Dowless daughter--present at scene of fatal car crash

Bettye Musham—business executive, one-time owner of the West-Perelman Farm, Erwinna, Pennsylvania.

Leila Hadley Luce— writer, editor, Sid Perelman's friend

Budd Schulberg—writer, West friend


Chronology by year

---. 1913-1930

---. 1930-1933

---. 1934

---. 1935

---. 1936

---. 1937

---. 1938

---. 1939

---. 1940

Subject files

General Notes

Family: Mishawaka, Indiana, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland addresses

McKenney Family History

---. Genealogies

Ethel Weirich McKenney--stepmother; Jack McKenney--stepbrother; Robert McKenney--stepbrother

Flynn family history

---. Genealogies

Richard Selvey (Eileen's cousin)

Pamela Turner

---. (1) Interviews and other research contributed by professional family historian, on-site in Cleveland

---. (2) Research continued

Cleveland Heights (Ohio) High School (class of 1931)

---. Letters to surviving classmates

---. Ruth Beebe Hill (classmate)

---. Alix Kates Shulman (writer, graduate of Heights High)

Gay Street, New York City. McKenney sisters lived at No. 14 Gay St., 1935

Earl Wilson--New York Post "Broadway" columnist; friend

Knickerbocker Village, New York, Apartment complex, home of Eileen and Morris Jacobs (husband), 1935-1936

Morris Jacobs--Eileen's first husband

Thomas Jacobs aka Patrick Bransten--son of Eileen and Morris Jacobs, adopted in 1941 by Ruth McKenney and Richard Bransten, renamed Patrick

Hillary Hillson--daughter of Patrick Bransten

Amy Baxter--daughter of Morris Jacobs and second wife

Jen Cazier--granddaughter of Morris Jacobs. Missing

St. Clair McKelway--writer, New Yorker magazine editor, Eileen's boyfriend, 1937-1939

Robert Josephy--book designer, Eileen's boyfriend

Matthew Josephson--writer, friend

"My Sister Eileen" by Ruth McKenney (Stage, screen, television 1940- 2003)

Jo Ann Sayers—actress in original stage production

Joseph Fields and Jerome Chodorov--playwrights who adapted "My Sister Eileen" for the stage. File includes author correspondence with Chororov family members and friends (Louise Hirschfeld)

"Wonderful Town"-- 1953 musical adaptation of "My Sister Eileen". 2003 revival.

RUTH MCKENNEY BRANSTEN--writer, sister of Eileen McKenney

General biographical info—includes published writings

Xeroxes from McKenney books

Ruth—psychology, medical problems

Akron—Employment at Akron Beacon Journal

New York Post--including Newark Star Ledger--newspapers employing Ruth McKenney, 1935-1937. Including Walter Lister material, Post Editor

Correspondence with New Yorker Magazine (1936 -1948)

Katharine White—Ruth's editor at the New Yorker

Christina Stead-writer, friend

Roger Straus—publisher; fragment from unidentified oral history

Richard Bransten (husband of Ruth McKenney)

---. Bransten/Brandenstein genealogies

---. Louise Rosenberg Bransten Berman--Richard Bransten first wife. Includes info on Thomas Bransten -Bransten-Rosenberg son

Holly wood-McKenney-Bransten film credits

Eileen Bransten--daughter of Ruth McKenney and Richard Bransten

Box 4

Harcourt Inc. (publisher of McKenney books) Includes complete McKenney file from Harcourt Records Center.

---. Correspondence

---. Contract Files

---. Clippings

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) official files on Ruth McKenney

---. FOIA Applications and Correspondence

---. Official files

Copies of Ruth McKenney works:

---. Early editions, heavily annotated by Meade

---. History of Mishawaka, Indiana

Videos of selected West Films

---. Follow Your Heart

---. Ticket to Paradise

---. Rhythm in the Clouds

---. It Could Happen to You

---. The President's Mystery

Box 5


Book Publishers: Boni & Liveright, Harcourt, Covici-Friede

Random House--Bennett Cerf

West-Cerf correspondence

Writer friends; Bob Brown, James Farrell, Edmund Wilson, Jack Conroy, Darrell McGowan

Critical Essays

Literary critics--articles

Ober Agency

Max Rudin/Library of America

Reviews: Jay Martin and James Light biographies

West short stories

The Dream Life of Balso Snell: essays, notes, clips

Miss Lonelyhearts: essays, clips

A Cool Million--notes on Horatio Alger Jr.

The Day of the Locust--notes, essays, reviews, FIRST magazine

Believer Magazine article, 2010


Hollywood: General; notes, clips, Perelman transcripts

Hollywood: Writers/friends of West—John Fante, William Saroyan, Elliott Paul, Horace MCoy


---. Republic

---. RKO

---. Columbia—including West script for "Return to the Soil"

---. MGM—including West treatment for "Flight South"

---. Universal

Boris Ingster—Russian-bom screenwriter, TV producer, West collaborator

Film treatment: A Cool Million

Adaptations and Ripoffs of West's work

Master list of West films

Interview Log (Requests)

Interview request correspondence

Interviews: Notes, transcripts, interview questions. *Some transcripts can be found in subject files.


John Sanford memoirs, annotation by MM:

---. Waters of Darkness

---. Intruders in Paradise

---. The View from Mt. Morris

Box 6 (Tape box)

Recorded interviews on cassette tapes: names followed by number of cassette sides.

Amy Baxter (daughter of Morris Jacobs)--2

Harry Bruch (nephew of Boris Ingster) --2

Joan Castle (actress) --5 minutes

Laurence Chase (Brown University alum)--1

Susan Chodorov (daughter of Jerome Chodorov)--1

Rosemary Chodorov (sister of Jerome Chodorov)--1

Douglas Dutton (Dutton's Bookstore, Los Angeles)--1

Sarah Schrank Gold (daughter of Joseph Schrank)--1

Ruth Beebe Hill (Eileen's high school classmate) --2

Joyce Green (West greatniece )--2

Lynn Greening (Erwinna, Pennsylvania., source)--10 min.

Hillary Hillson (daughter of Patrick Bransten)--2

Louise Hirschfeld (widow of artist Al Hirschfeld)--1

Phyllis Hurlburd (Bucks County resident)--5 minutes

Mike Ingster (son of Boris Ingster) --2

Fred Israel (Erwinna resident)--5 minutes

Julius Jacobson (brother of Morris Jacobs)--1

Carl Josephson (son of writer Matthew Josephson)--1

Warren Josephy (nephew of Robert Josephy )--1

Tony Kahn (son of screenwriter Gordon Kahn)--1

Lynn Lane (widow of composer Burton Lane)—1

Elinor Langer (biographer of Josephine Herbst)--2

Walter Lister Jr. (son of Walter Lister, New York Post editor)--1

Jo Marshall (daughter of Dashiell Hammett)--1

Malachy McCourt (writer)--1

Jack McKenney (Eileen's stepbrother)--2

Robert McKenney (Eileen's stepbrother)--2

Jack Mearns (John Sanford literary executor)--1

Anthony Melchiorri (general manager, Algonquin Hotel, New York City)--1

Yetive Moss (employee Stanley Rose bookstore)--1

Bettye Musham (former owner of West farm, Erwinna, Pennsylvania)--1

Deborah Paley (friend of Quentin Reynolds)--1

Elise Pear (resident Erwinna, Pennsylvania) --1

Adam Perelman (nephew of West, son of S.J. Perelman) --3

Frances Ring (Scott Fitzgerald's secretary) --1

David Roessel (Mike Gold biographer)--1

Lore Sabersky (friend of Yetive Moss)--1

Jo Ann Sayers (actress, original production of My Sister Eileen) --1

Anne Kaufman Schneider--(daughter of George S. Kaufman)--1

Lester Sciss (resident Erwinna, Pennsylvaina)--1

Gary Scharnhorst (biographer Horatio Alger Jr. )--1

Budd Schulberg (writer)--2

Linda Seifert (daughter of Alice Shepard)--1

Richard Selvey (Eileen's nephew)--2

Douglas Shepard (retired college professor)--1

Nancy Silbert (West's great niece )--2

Gloria Steinem (writer)--1

Rita Wade (secretary, Lillian Hellman)--5 minutes

Susie West (West family)--5 minutes

Earl Wilson Jr (son of Earl Wilson)--1

Maxine Winokur (West niece, literary executor)--2

Box 7

Illustrations: photo research, sources, correspondence, photo copies, original photos.

General photo sources

All photos

Photo inserts


Laura Brady

Larry Cooper

Lori Benton--publisher

Jay Martin--photo section from his biography of West

Lillian Hellman

Katharine White

St. Clair McKelway

Eileen McKenney

Eileen McKenney Homes--Indiana, New York

John Sanford

Josephine Herbst

Budd Schulberg

Thomas Jacobs aka Patrick Bransten—Eileen's son

Quentin Reynolds

Joseph Schrank

Alice Shepard

Charles A. Pearce

Beatrice Mathieu

Boris Ingster

Bennett Cerf

Sid Perelman

Jerome Chodorov/Joseph Fields

Movie Stills

West homes

Weinstein family: Maxine Winokur family photo album

Annotated Books

Hard-to find books about West's work, annotated by Meade

---. Comerchero,  Victor. Nathanael West: The Ironic Prohpet. Seattle: The University of Washington Press, 1964. Hard back and paperback copies

---. Light, James F. Nathanael West: A Interpretive Study. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1961

---. Martin, Jay, Ed. Nathanael West: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1971

---. Siegel, Ben. Critical Essays of Nathanael West. New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1994

---. White,William. Nathanael West: A Comprehensive Bibliography. The Kent State University Press, 1975


Book Proposal: submissions, correspondence with various editors, agent

Editorial correspondence: Andre Bernard--acquiring editor, publisher, Harcourt, Inc.

Editorial Correspondence: Andrea Schulz--editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Author correspondence

Reader correspondence

Research notebooks (5)

Follow-ups--to do lists

In Progress--to do lists

"Interior Decoration"--Marion Meade personal view of West

Rebecca DiLiberto--Columbia University /Hertog Assistantships intern

Box 8

Darcie Posz--genealogist

Lynn Greening- Gloria Scoboria ( her mother)--Erwinna, Pennsylvania sources

Guggenheim Grant applications:

---. West's application; Marion Meade application


Office Wall "art"

Book Publicity Reviews (selected)


Huntington Library: Xeroxes of letters written to Jay Martin for his biography. Includes list of books owned by West at time of his death.

Beinecke Library, Yale University. Meade notes and transcripts from the following collections: Matthew Josephson; Josephine Herbst; Edmund Wilson; William Carlos Williams

Box 9

Other Libraries: List of Major West Collections; correspondence; requests, orders.

---. Huntington (2), Mugar (Boston), Berg (NYPL), Hay (Brown), HRC

Lonelyhearts typescript, copy edited manuscript

First edition: Lonelyhearts hardcover--Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010

Lonelyhearts paperback edition--Mariner Books, 2011

Selected reviews

Audio DVD (mp3)