The William Faulkner Collection contains drafts and publishing proofs of Faulkner's
novels, short stories, poetry, and scripts; correspondence; and material about
author William Cuthbert Faulkner originating from a variety of sources. The core
the collection was formed by the Dean Faulkner Mallard, Meta Rebner, and Carvel
Collins collections of Faulkner and compiled as additional Faulkner-related works
and material were acquired by the Ransom Center. The collection is organized into
four series: I. Works, II. Correspondence, III. Faulkner-Personal, and IV. Works
Series I. Works forms the bulk of the collection and is arranged into four subseries:
A. Novels, B. Poetry, C. Short Stories, and D. Scripts, Film Adaptations, Other
Writings. The Novels subseries contains various incomplete fragments, drafts,
proofs, and page proofs for nine of Faulkner's novels: Absalom, Absalom! (1936), As I Lay Dying
(1930), The Hamlet (1940), Intruder in the Dust (1948), Light in
August (1932), The Mansion (1959), Pylon (1935), Sanctuary
(1931), and Sartoris (1929). Of particular interest
is the handwritten manuscript for Absalom, Absalom!
Due to its fragile condition, photocopies have replaced the manuscript in the
and use of the original is restricted. However, permission to access the original
manuscript may be granted by special request. Related to this novel is Faulkner's
heavily hand-corrected galley proof for Absalom,
Absalom! Also of interest is the original thermofax typescript of The Mansion, sent by Faulkner to editor Albert Erskine.
These sheets have been sleeved in mylar and bound into volumes to aid in use and
long-term preservation. A complete photocopy version of the thermofax is also
and available for use.
Subseries B. Poetry is mostly comprised of typescript drafts of poems, some
unpublished, that Faulkner wrote in the early 1920s. Most of the typescripts were
recovered from a 1942 fire which destroyed the Oxford, Mississippi, home of
Faulkner's friend and patron Phil Stone, who wrote the introduction for and financed
Faulkner's first published work, a poetry collection, The
Marble Faun (1924). As a result of the 1942 fire, the poems' paper has
darkened and become very brittle, making them extremely fragile. The poetry
typescripts have varying levels of fire damage, making identification of the verse
difficult. In order to stabilize, protect, and preserve the poems, conservators
lined and individually encapsulated the sheets.
The collection was previously cataloged by poem title or by the first verse line if
the poem's title was missing. Over time scholars have identified many of the drafts
and once-separated fragments have been reunited. The sheets frequently contain
identifying numbers: the census number and/or the Sensibar number. The census
identifier refers to Keen Butterworth's "A Census of
Manuscripts and Typescripts of William Faulkner's Poetry"( Mississippi Quarterly, 26:3 [1973: Summer]) and the
Sensibar identifier refers to Judith L. Sensibar's Faulkner's
Poetry: A Bibliographical Guide to Texts and Criticism (Ann Arbor,
Michigan: UMI Press, 1988). The poems are arranged in alphabetical order by
identified title or by first identifiable line verse. These poems have been
cross-referenced with the item number assigned by Sensibar, which is noted in
finding aid as [S#], where the # symbol corresponds to Sensibar's
Individual poems published in The Marble Faun (1924)
and A Green Bough (1933) are also present in the
collection. Though the poems in A Green Bough were
originally titled with Roman numerals, Butterworth and Sensibar identified them
their works by their known titles which is how they are arranged in this collection.
The folder titled "Michael/ Orpheus / Vision in
Spring "contains unidentified typescript pages that bear thematic
resemblance to and may be part of a sequence of unpublished poems called Michael,
they may belong to, or be related to, the sequences titled Vision in Spring or Orpheus. The verso
of some of these leafs contains Faulkner's 1921 handwritten review of Conrad Aiken's
Turns and Movies, as well as handwritten text
that bears a close relationship to Vision in Spring
(1921). This series also contains a corrected typescript and galley proofs for
Faulkner's 1933 poetry collection, A Green Bough .
Subseries C. Short Stories contains drafts and proofs of short stories and short
story collections. As many of Faulkner's stories were reprinted in various Faulkner
short story anthologies, including posthumous publications, the date listed in
parentheses is the first known publication date. Doctor
Martino and Other Stories (1934) was Faulkner's second short story
collection and contained fourteen stories, including "Black Music,"
"The Leg," and "Mountain Victory." Drafts of these stories in this series bear a number
written in orange crayon at the top of the page, which corresponds with the sequence
in Doctor Martino and Other Stories and appears to
have been used for the draft of that collection. Faulkner wrote "The Wishing Tree" for his stepdaughter, Victoria
Franking, in 1927, and the collection contains an incomplete carbon typescript
In 1925, Faulkner published a New Orleans sketch in The Double
Dealer and an ongoing series of sketches he called "Mirrors of Chartres Street," published in the New
Orleans Times-Picayune's Sunday magazine. This
subseries contains a small segment of drafts and a sample book binding for Mirrors of Chartres Street, a reprinted collection of
these 1925 sketches published by the Faulkner Studies
quarterly at the University of Minnesota in 1953. Included are what appear to
selected original drafts and selected carbon typescripts typed and used by the
editor of this 1953 collection. Carvel Collins later reprinted these sketches
William Faulkner: New Orleans Sketches (1958).
Related to these writings is a small volume titled Royal
Street, New Orleans, which is Faulkner's 1926 self-published,
handwritten, and illustrated version of his sketch "New
Orleans," which was originally published in The
Double Dealer in 1925.
Subseries D. Scripts, Film Adaptations, Other Writings contains Faulkner's unproduced
screenplay Battle Cry (1943), as well as film adaptations written by other
screenwriters for three of his novels. Of particular interest is the bound
screenplay for The Story of Temple Drake (1933). It
contains several black-and-white photographs taken on the set of the film, as
as numerous photographs of the film's storyboards. Faulkner distributed the few
handwritten and illustrated manuscripts for his play, The
Marionettes (1920), to his friends and members of the drama group at the
University of Mississippi. The collection contains two of the few extant copies.
Also contained in this series is a photocopy of Faulkner's June 8, 1953,
commencement address delivered to his daughter Jill's graduating class at Pine
Junior College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The
Atlantic published the speech as "Faith or
Fear" in its August 1953 issue. Titles of works are listed in the Index of
Works located at the end of this finding aid.
Series II. Correspondence contains incoming, outgoing, and third-party letters and
arranged into three subseries: A. William Faulkner, B. Phil Stone, and C.
Third-party. Subseries A. William Faulkner consists primarily of Faulkner's outgoing
correspondence to his family and his mistress, Meta Carpenter Rebner.
The bulk of Faulkner's family letters are to his mother, Maud, though there are a
letters to his father, Murry, and one letter to his brother, Dean. The letters
originally arranged chronologically and therefore correspond with specific periods
and locations where Faulkner lived during his early life. The letters date from
when Faulkner lived in Oxford, Mississippi, to 1925 when he lived in New Orleans.
The letters also document Faulkner's period in New Haven, Connecticut; at Royal
Force (RAF) pilot training in Canada in 1918; his return to New Haven; and his
move to New York City. There are also letters Faulkner wrote while traveling in
Paris, France. The letters are mostly handwritten, but many of the later ones
The 1918 segment of letters describes Faulkner's first departure from home to visit
Phil Stone in New Haven and his enlistment in the RAF. It was at this time that
Faulkner (originally spelled Falkner) began inserting the letter "u" into his last name. Though his letters do not
explain the change, the envelopes document Faulkner's change as he goes from
addressing the letters to his family as Falkner, then Faulkner, and back to Falkner.
In his RAF letters, Faulkner describes his training, the quarantine resulting
the influenza outbreak, and his release from the RAF at the conclusion of World
I. Faulkner frequently added illustrations, such as a soldier in uniform, to his
letters. The 1921 letters were written while Faulkner lived in New Haven and New
York City. He describes his visit with Stark Young and his life in New York City.
The 1925 New Orleans and Pascagoula letters describe Faulkner's associations with
Sherwood and Elizabeth Anderson and William Spratling. He describes his writings
the Times-Picayune, the work he completed on his
first novel, and his social life in the French Quarter. In many of the letters,
Faulkner frequently mentions receiving cakes from his mother and his frequent
requests asking her to send him certain items or clothing.
There are approximately forty letters dated from 1936 to 1960 from Faulkner to his
California mistress, Meta Carpenter Rebner. Most of the letters are typed, and
these letters Faulkner shares his romantic thoughts, details about his work and
life, as well as his overall health. Of particular interest is an illustrated
from June 1936 in which Faulkner drew a comic strip depicting him and Rebner playing
ping-pong, going to the beach, and going to dinner while he was in California.
addition, enclosed with an October 1953 letter is a check from Rebner made payable
to Faulkner in repayment of a loan Faulkner provided to her, which he has torn
half and returned to her.
Subseries B. predominately contains third-party correspondence to and from Faulkner's
friend and representative Phil Stone, often on behalf of Faulkner and his
publication of The Marble Faun. Subseries C.
Third-party contains letters associated with Faulkner, particularly from members
his family and Faulkner scholars. Correspondent names are listed in the Index
Correspondents located at the end of this finding aid.
Series III. Faulkner-Personal is comprised of documents related to or about William
Faulkner's life and work. The series is arranged in alphabetical order by item
subject and includes contracts, a report card, a sketch, reviews, a small amount
papers belonging to Phil Stone, and similar documents. In this series is the
complete publication file and mock-up for Casanova Press's 1932 limited edition
printing of Salmagundi; this file contains
correspondence about the volume's production and costs, as well as cancelled checks
endorsed by Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Also included are two photocopy
typescript excerpts associated with William Spratling. First is Faulkner's foreword
to Sherwood Anderson and Other Famous Creoles, which
contained illustrations by Spratling. Second is Spratling's foreword to "Chronicle of a Friendship: New Orleans in the
Twenties." Both of these works were printed (and in the case of Sherwood Anderson and Other Famous Creoles reprinted in
facsimile) in Texas Quarterly (Spring 1966) and both
were subsequently reprinted in book form by the Ransom Center (then called the
Humanities Research Center) and University of Texas Press in 1966. There are also
ten photograph snapshots of Faulkner and a Faulkner-related exhibit originally
housed in a basic flip album, but removed for preservation purposes.
Series IV. Works by Others contains proofs or copies of Faulkner biographies written
by Faulkner scholars. The series contains two works and is arranged in alphabetical
order by author's last name.