Resources by Type – Manuscripts

Manuscript holdings in the University of Iowa Libraries include both individually cataloged items and boxed collections. More than 10,000 letters or manuscript pieces created by English and American literary or historical figures, principally from the 19th and 20th centuries, are individually cataloged, with records available in InfoHawk, the Libraries’ on-line catalog, or in a card catalog located in the department.

The boxed manuscript collections include materials on agriculture, labor, U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace and his era, journalism, popular culture, politics (especially Iowa), railroads, vaudeville, movies & television, and the American Civil War. At present there are over 900 collections of personal papers or corporate records which occupy some 8,000 linear feet of shelving. An inventory with brief descriptions of these collections is accessible at this site by clicking on Finding Aids. Closely related materials are located in the University Archives and the Iowa Women’s Archive.

Major literary manuscript collections relate to British writers Leigh Hunt, Edmund Blunden, Angus Wilson, and Iris Murdoch, and to nearly one hundred Iowa and other authors. The manuscript portion of the Leigh Hunt Collection is rich in materials by, or associated with, the English writer Leigh Hunt (1784-1859). There are hundreds of Hunt’s autograph letters, written from the age of five years until shortly before his death, and numerous original letters to and about Hunt and his family from, among others, the Brownings, the Carlyles, Dickens, Lamb, Macaulay, Swinburne, and Thackeray. The Hunt Collection not only includes manuscripts relating to the great names of the Romantic and early Victorian period, but there is considerable depth of material for the study of 19th century England. The Edmund Blunden manuscript collection consists of over over 1000 manuscript drafts of letters, poems, and essays by or relating to the English poet Edmund Blunden (1896-1974). The Iris Murdoch (1919-1998) Collection consists primarily of manuscript and typescript drafts for many of the major works published by her, while the Angus Wilson (1913-1991) Papers include manuscript and typescript drafts of his own works in addition to decades worth of correspondence to and from Wilson as well as many additional materials.

The largest concentration of American literary manuscripts is in the Iowa Authors Collection. There are significant holdings for humorist Ellis Parker Butler; novelists Ruth Suckow, Richard Bissell, Paul Corey, Curtis Harnack, Karlton Kelm, John T. Frederick, J. Hyatt Downing, and Dorothy Garlock; poets Frederick S. Bock and Jay G. Sigmund; and writers of books for young adults, Jeannette Eyerly, Edwin L. Sabin, and Henry Gregor Felsen. Contemporary writers Max Allan Collins, David Morrell, and Leigh Michaels (LeAnn Lemberger) are giving the personal and professional papers which document their careers as are film and television writers and producers Patrick Sean Clark, Norman Felton, Barry Kemp, Nicholas Meyer, and Marian Rees.

Bibliographic records for portions of the literary collections are available in the card catalog in the department. Records for many, but not all, are included in InfoHawk.