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Edward Weeks:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Weeks, Edward, 1898-1989
Title: Edward Weeks Papers
Dates: 1912-1989 (bulk 1929-1969)
Extent: 64 document boxes, 1 oversize document box, 14 galley files, 2 oversize folder files (26.27 linear feet)
Abstract: The Edward Weeks Papers, 1912-1989 (bulk 1929-1969) consist of professional and personal papers Weeks amassed during his long tenure as editor of The Atlantic Monthly (later The Atlantic) and The Atlantic Monthly Press and contains incoming, outgoing, and third-party correspondence with contributing authors, agents, publishers and readers, memos, reader reports, manuscripts, and galley proofs, as well as associated items such as newspaper clippings, printed material, and some photographs.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-4453
Language: English, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, Croatian, and Serbian .
Access:

Open for research

Condition Note: As part of an experimental mass deacidification project designed to retard the degradation of brittle paper, the first thirty-one boxes in this collection were treated with diethylzinc (DEZ). While not harmful, some of the box contents may have a minor lingering odor.




Acquisition:

Purchase and Gifts, 1980-1990 (G2131, G8377, R8647)

Processed by:

Amy E. Armstrong, 2009

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


Edward "Ted" Augustus Weeks, Jr. was born on February 19, 1898 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Weeks entered Cornell University in 1916 to study mechanical engineering, but after a year the certainty of academic probation prompted him to pursue other pursuits. In 1917 he volunteered as an American Field Service ambulance driver in France during World War I and served for just over a year. When Weeks returned home in 1919, he entered Harvard University and studied English.

In order to pay tuition, Weeks held a number of jobs, including traveling field hand, dishwasher, and University correspondent for the Boston Evening Transcript. He later became assistant editor of the Harvard Advocate. At the Advocate, Weeks displayed an innate aptitude for editing and published the work of several Harvard students who would later go on to successful writing careers, including Walter D. Edmonds, Oliver LaFarge, Berry Flemming, and composer Virgil Thompson. Weeks edited a particularly notable issue of the Advocate that parodied the prestigious Boston-published magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, leading to a fortuitous meeting with its editor, Ellery Sedgwick. In 1922, Weeks graduated from Harvard University and was awarded a one-year postgraduate Fiske Fellowship to study at Cambridge University. While in England, Weeks subsidized his living as Cambridge correspondent for the Associated Press.

After returning to the United States, Weeks settled in New York City and sold books for Boni & Liveright, eventually becoming a manuscripts reader for the firm, utilizing a system of speed reading that allowed him to get through dozens of manuscripts in one day. In 1924, Weeks received a letter from The Atlantic Monthly editor Ellery Sedgwick inviting him to interview for a position with his publication. Weeks accepted the position of assistant editor, beginning his near-fifty-year professional association with the magazine and press. In 1925, Weeks married Frederica "Fritzy" Watriss. The couple would later have a daughter Sara Thompson and son Edward Francis.

Weeks's early success at The Atlantic --in 1927 he recommended publication of a story called "Fifty Grand" by a relatively little-known author named Ernest Hemingway--led to his promotion to editor of the failing Atlantic Monthly Press in 1928. The press, established in 1917 by Ellery Sedgwick, had partnered with Little, Brown and Company in 1925 and published under the Atlantic-Little, Brown imprint. The Atlantic Monthly Press was responsible for soliciting and securing manuscripts, and Little, Brown was responsible for copy editing and publishing. Weeks turned the press around, eliminated debt, and initiated a series of successful manuscript contests. Under Weeks's leadership, Atlantic-Little Brown published many best-selling novels, including Good-bye Mr. Chips, Drums Along the Mohawk, and Mutiny on the Bounty and its sequels; supported the careers of established writers such as Catherine Drinker Bowen, Walter Lippman, and Samuel Eliot Morison; and launched the careers of writers such as Mazo de la Roche.

In 1938, Ellery Sedgwick retired as editor from The Atlantic Monthly and selected Weeks as his successor, making him the ninth editor of the magazine. Once again Weeks enjoyed success as he revived the magazine with an altered layout, printed more topical articles, established special foreign supplements, included color illustrations, and increased circulation. He also contributed his own essays and wrote the Atlantic's   "Peripatetic Reviewer" column. Twenty-eight years later, the longest tenure of any editor at the magazine, Weeks retired as editor-in-chief but continued his association through his column and as editor emeritus of both the magazine and press for the remainder of his life.

In addition to his career as editor, Weeks volunteered as chairman of the Massachusetts Committee to Reform Book Censorship during the 1920s, hosted a radio program called Meet Mr. Weeks, wrote or contributed to more than 20 books including several memoirs, assisted with selection of Peabody Award winners, and also found time to pursue his love of fishing. In 1970, his first wife "Fritzy" died and the following year he married former Atlantic colleague, Phoebe Lou Adams.

Edward "Ted" Weeks died on March 11, 1989 in Thompson, Connecticut at the age of 91.


In addition to material found within the Edward Weeks Papers, the following sources were used:

"Edward Augustus Weeks, Jr."   Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 137: American Magazine Journalists, 1900-1960, Second Series, http://galenet.galegroup.com (accessed 14 July 2009).

"Edward (Augustus) Weeks."   Contemporary Authors Online, http://galenet.galegroup.com (accessed 14 July 2009).

Weeks, Edward. In Friendly Candor. Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown and Company, 1959.

Weeks, Edward. My Green Age: A Memoir. Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown and Company, 1973.

Weeks, Edward. Writers and Friends. Boston: Atlantic-Little, Brown and Company, 1981.


The Edward Weeks Papers, 1912-1989 (bulk 1929-1969) consists of professional and personal papers Weeks amassed during his long tenure as editor of The Atlantic Monthly (later The Atlantic) and The Atlantic Monthly Press and contains incoming, outgoing, and third-party correspondence with contributing authors, agents, publishers and readers, memos, reader reports, manuscripts, and galley proofs, as well as associated items such as newspaper clippings, printed material, and some photographs. The bulk of the archive is Weeks's editorial files comprised of his author files and The Atlantic special supplement files. The Papers are organized into five series: I. Editorial Files, II. Writings, III. Meet Mr. Weeks Radio Show, IV. Personal Correspondence, and V. Publications and Printed Material.

Series I. Editorial Files documents Weeks's near forty-year long career as editor of The Atlantic Monthly and The Atlantic Monthly Press and is arranged into two subseries: A. Author Files and B. Foreign and Special Supplements. Weeks's author files are a veritable international roster of the mid-twentieth century's most eminent thinkers, news-makers, and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors. Weeks's persistence in soliciting notable writers, poets, artists, composers, statesmen, scientists, historians, actors, and scholars to contribute to The Atlantic Monthly and/or its press is evident through the correspondence, as is his ability to nurture and encourage both established and promising new writers. Subseries B. Foreign and Special Supplements contains files related to three Atlantic special supplement issues. Beginning in 1953, the Atlantic published twenty-one foreign supplements which focused on the economic, social, and artistic aspects of a geographical region. Articles, essays, stories, and poems were typically written by citizens of the country, thus exposing American audiences to a new and diverse range of material. This subseries contains files related to two special foreign supplement issues: Russia (1960) and Yugoslavia (1962). The final special supplement is a memorial tribute to Prime Minister Winston Churchill after his death in 1965. The bulk of this series is comprised of correspondence with potential and actual contributors, translators, agents, publishers, and readers. Manuscript drafts and translations, reader reports, clippings, author biographies, and other related material are also contained in this series. An Index of Other People's Works, which also includes the writings of Edward Weeks spread throughout the collection, can be found at the end of this inventory.

Edward "Ted" Weeks was not only a successful publisher, but also a prolific writer. Series II. Writings includes manuscript drafts, galley proofs, correspondence, fan mail, clippings, reviews, and related material associated with Weeks's books, essays, book reviews, and public lectures. He authored, edited, or contributed to over twenty books on subjects such as the publishing trade, notable books and authors, Boston history, and fishing, and also wrote several memoirs. In addition to writing the Atlantic 's "Peripatetic Reviewer" column, Weeks frequently contributed other essays to the magazine and other publications. Not only gifted with the written word, Weeks was a highly sought after public speaker and lecturer. This series is arranged into three subseries: A. Books, B. Atlantic Monthly Essays and Reviews, and C. Other Writings. Books represented in this archive include Great Short Novels: An Anthology (1941), The Open Heart (1955), Jubilee: One Hundred Years of The Atlantic (1958), In Friendly Candor (1959), The Lowells and their Institute (1966), Fresh Waters (1968), My Green Age (1974), and Writers and Friends (1981).

The Meet Mr. Weeks radio show first aired on NBC Radio in 1939. Through commentary and notable special guests, usually authors, Weeks presented the "human side of literature." Series III. Meet Mr. Weeks Radio Show is comprised of support and listener comment letters and a small amount of promotional material, as well as memos and notes.

Series IV. Personal Correspondence is comprised of incoming and/or outgoing letters between Weeks and his friends, associates, and brother, John "Jack" Weeks.

Series V. Publications and Printed Matters includes serials and published pamphlets loose in the collection or moved from their original folder location. If applicable, a separation sheet lists that location. This series is arranged in alphabetical order.

Correspondent names are listed in the Partial Index of Correspondents located at the end of this finding aid; however, in most cases routine fan mail is not listed in this Index.


Related Collections at the Harry Ransom Center include Ann Bridge, Lillian Hellman, Thayer Hobson, James Jones, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Records, Literary Files Collection, Robert Lowell, Dame Edith Sitwell, Sacheverell Sitwell, and the Mike Wallace Interview Collection.

Other repositories with material related to Edward Weeks include the Massachusetts Historical Society and Columbia University.


Several books and bound volumes of The Atlantic Monthly have been separated from the collection and are housed in the Ransom Center's Book Collection.


People

Weeks, Edward, 1898-1989.

Sedgwick, Ellery, 1872-1960.

Organizations

Atlantic-Little, Brown books.

Atlantic monthly.

Atlantic Monthly Press.

Little, Brown and Company.

Subjects

Authors, American--20th century.

Authors, British--20th century.

Authors and publishers.

Editors--United States.

Journalism--United States.

Document Types

Clippings.

Correspondence.

Galley proofs.

Manuscripts.

Photographs.

Poems.

Postcards.

Publications.

Scrapbooks.