The papers of author, monologist, and actor Spalding Gray are rich in the materials
Gray used to develop his on-stage improvisational monologues and resulting literary
works. Included are performance notebooks, journals, notes and drafts for
monologues, poetry, speeches, plays, and published and unpublished works, as well
a small amount of correspondence. The materials date from 1959 to 2004, with the
bulk dating from the 1970s through the1990s. The papers are arranged in three
series: I. Literary and Performance Activities, 1964-2003; II. Correspondence,
1959-2005; and III. Personal and Career Related, 1974-2002.
The Literary and Performance Activities series is divided into three subseries: A.
Published Works, 1981-1999; B. Unpublished Works, 1974-2001; and C. Notebooks,
1964-2003. Materials for Impossible Vacation (1992)
make up the majority of Subseries A., with items spanning most of the creative
process including notebooks, an outline, handwritten excerpts, and progressively
more polished drafts culminating in photocopied sections of the published work
corrections throughout. The same types of materials are present for other works,
including Gray's Anatomy (1993); It's a Slippery Slope (1997); Life Interrupted (2005); Monster in a
Box (1992); Morning, Noon and Night (1999);
A Personal History of the American Theater
(1984); Seven Scenes from a Family Album (1981); and
Sex and Death to the Age 14 (1986).
Subseries B. includes a synopsis and drafts of the unfinished novel Fear of Fear
well as short story drafts. Gray sometimes incorporated these short stories into
published works, and they are often the further development of a monologue
performance. Also in this series are notes and typescripts of some monologues,
mostly handwritten drafts of poetry, playscripts for Cello, Crossword, and Down
Heaven, speech typescripts, and notes and fragments related to unidentified works.
The bulk of Series I. is in Subseries C. The handwritten performance notebooks,
heavily revised and annotated, are often the template for Gray's live performances,
and the journals provide an unvarnished look into his daily thoughts and life.
forms of notebook span from early in his career to a year before his death, and
provide deep insight into the development of his monologues and published works.
The correspondence in Series II. is mostly incoming with only a few letters from
Gray to primarily personal acquaintances. Fan mail makes up the majority of the
letters and is either in response to Gray's requests for audience feedback or
correspondence from people who were moved by one of his performances. Also in
series are two form letter templates sent by Gray to family, friends, and
acquaintances informing them he is either too overwhelmed by life or too busy
working on a novel to reply.
The materials in Series III. include many newspaper and magazine clippings that
document Gray's career from the 1970s-2000s, as well as some publicity photos,
publishing contracts, transcripts of interviews, an Emerson College memory
scrapbook, and a psychoanalytic questionnaire filled out by Gray presumably at
request of a psychologist. At the end of this series are magazines and journals
containing articles by Gray and interviews, profiles, or reviews of his works