||Among the major holdings in the Additions to the Erle Stanley Gardner Papers are:
scripts for the Perry Mason radio and television shows;
extensive general correspondence files; Court of Last Resort files and television
Paisano Productions files; travel files; magazine files; Thayer Hobson papers and
William Morrow and Company correspondence files; plot notebooks; reference files;
miscellaneous legal cases. Other materials are present, including about twenty fiction
nonfiction works by Gardner, plus a number of works by other writers, either about
or based on Gardner’s writings. Please see the Cataloging Notes below for information
current arrangement and description of the additions.
||Perry Mason scripts, 1943-1992 (223
boxes): radio show scripts, 1943-1955 (46 boxes) and television show scripts, 1957-1992
||The Perry Mason radio scripts (boxes 59-98, 630-635) exist as
bound volumes of episode scripts (1943-1947) and unbound episode scripts (1947-1955).
Because the show ran five days a week in 15-minute serial episodes for twelve years,
scripts are numbered up to 3,225. However, Gardner’s staff documented that some episodes
were lacking from the unbound episode scripts when transferred to the Ransom Center,
others are represented by duplicate copies. The bound volumes (630-635) are restricted
they are treated for mold. See also radio show publicity photos and captions, 1952
626) and radio programming and ratings information, 1944-1949 (box 638).
||Three different television shows are represented by scripts: Perry
Mason show, 1957-1966 (boxes 1-55; 554-597; 642-710); The New
Perry Mason show, 1973-1974 (boxes 525-529), and the Perry
Mason television film series, 1985-1995 (boxes 620-621, 624-625).
||The original Perry Mason show (271 episodes over nine seasons)
is represented in three groups of scripts, along with 15 episodes for the later reprised
show, and 22 of the 30 episodes for the film series (1985-1992). A complete bound
scripts for the 271 episodes (boxes 642-710) contains a variety of related materials
each episode, such as earlier script drafts, memos about the script writers, Gardner
comments and suggestions on scripts, editing reports, cast sheets, some headshots,
sheets, production reports, shooting schedules, set drawings (interiors), and program
standards and practices memos.
||A listing of all television episodes (three chronological lists for the three shows
combined alphabetical list by title) is included at the end of this finding aid to
locate individual scripts within groups of files in these papers. Because virtually
the episode titles begin with "The Case of the," the scripts
are filed by the next word, for example, "The Case of the Restless
Redhead" is filed alphabetically under "Restless".
||General correspondence files, 1925-1970 (158 boxes; boxes
||Among persons, organizations, or topics with at least one of box of correspondence
American Polygraph; archery; automobiles; charity requests; Dell Publishing; Desert
Protective Council; Doubleday Publishing; employment; A. A. Fair; family; fans; Gardner
(general, medical, memberships); C. B. Hanscom; Robert Thomas Hardy; Joint Civilian
Orientation Conference; legal; medicolegal and forensic matters; Morrow (William)
Company; newspapers; Frank Orr; personal friends; photography; Pocket Books, Inc.;
political; publishers; radio; real estate; requests; Tee Rose; Hubert W. Smith; LeMoyne
Snyder; speaking engagements; speeches; Adolph Sutro; television; Willis Kingsley
writers. See also related correspondence files from William Morrow and Company (boxes
||Court of Last Resort files and television scripts, 1938-1970 (31
||The Court is represented by correspondence and other files related to the work of
of Last Resort project (boxes 56-68, 400-417; 508-509; 545, 598-602; 636-637). Team
represented by correspondence include Alex Gregory, Marshall Houts, Bob Rhay, Raymond
Schindler, Tom Smith, LeMoyne Snyder, Harry Steeger, and Park Street. The files include
cases concerning Clarence Boggie, Marion I. Bowling, E. L. “Lefty” Fowler, William
Lindley, Tom Runyon, Sam Sheppard, and the Wilson Brothers (Turman and Utah) among
others. There is also substantial correspondence between Gardner and Nathan Leopold,
the notorious Leopold and Loeb murder, dating just prior to his parole in 1958 and
continuing afterward. There are also television show scripts for The
Court of Last Resort, 1957-1958 (26 episodes, boxes 56-57) and production files
(box 58). A comprehensive and useful alphabetical card index of Court of Last Resort
is also present (box 545). See also the Henry Franklin files (boxes 519-520).
||Paisano Productions files, 1955-1992 (27 boxes).
||Files for Paisano Productions (boxes 58, 548-553; 603-614; 619-626) contain correspondence
and documentation for Gardner-related television shows and other productions and projects.
After Gardner’s death in 1970, his widow Jean Bethell Gardner continued her work as
partner in Paisano Productions along with Gail Patrick Jackson (later Velde), Cornell
Jackson, John Velde Jr., and Ruth Moore. A file called the Perry Mason "Bible"(box 611) contains several texts written by Gardner
describing who the character is, how he came about, and considerations for scripts.
||Travel files, 1918-1969 (23 boxes).
||Files documenting Gardner’s extensive travels (boxes 381-399, 510-511, 522-523) over
years focus especially on Baja California and Mexico, but also Asia, Canada, Central
America, Cuba, Germany, the Philippines, the South Seas, and the United States.
||Magazine files, 1908-1970 (19 boxes).
||The magazine files contain correspondence documenting the process of submission and
rejection or publication of Gardner articles and short stories in serial publications
437-455), such as Argosy, Black
Mask, Detective Fiction Weekly, Popular Publications,
Inc., Saturday Evening Post, True Police
Cases Magazine, Youth’s Companion, and others.
||Thayer Hobson papers, 1932-1962 (13 boxes).
||Papers from Thayer Hobson (boxes 285-295), the president and chairman of the board
William Morrow and Company and a long-time associate of Gardner, include correspondence,
clippings, and production materials, including original art and other items for Perry
comic strips, 1950-1952. See also related correspondence from William Morrow and Company,
1940-1958 (boxes 296-299).
||Plot notebooks, 1926-1969 (12 boxes).
||Gardner’s notebooks (boxes 101-107, 513-516) containing plot notes for his writings.
||Reference files, 1932-1968 (10 boxes).
||An alphabetically indexed collection of files (boxes 427-436) collected on topics
interest to Gardner on legal matters, such as forensics, but also on personal interests,
as guns and mines.
||Miscellaneous legal cases, 1926-1968 (9 boxes).
||A collection of files on legal cases (boxes 418-426) in which Gardner may have participated
or in which he was merely interested, including files on Boston strangulation case,
robbery case, Chinese cases, Alger Hiss, Sam Sheppard, and Lana Turner, for example.
||Other types of materials present in the Additions include Gardner’s daybooks; character
lists; genealogical materials; notebooks and notes; staff files, including interoffice
correspondence, secretaries’ daybooks and shorthand notebooks; surveying notebooks;
and writings by Gardner and others.
||Manuscripts of about twenty works by Gardner are present, both fiction and nonfiction,
including an unpublished autobiography (The Color of Life) and three posthumously
novels: The Case of the Fenced-off Woman (1972), The Case of the Postponed Murder (1973), and The Knife Slipped by A. A. Fair (2016).
||Writers of other manuscript works, either about Gardner or based on his works, include
Thomas Chastain, Francis L. and Roberta B. Fugate (Secrets of the
World’s Best-selling Writer, 1980), Jackson Gillis, Martin H. Greenburg and Charles
G. Waugh (editors of Whispering Sands, 1981; The Human Zero: The Science Fiction Stories of Erle Stanley
Gardner, 1981, and Pay Dirt and other Whispering Sands
Stories, 1983), Edmund Hartmann, Dorothy B. Hughes (The Case
of the Real Perry Mason, 1978), Andy Lewis, William McCleery (play, A Case for
Perry Mason), Ruth Moore (compiler of Gardner bibliography, 1982), Sam Rolfe, and
||A total of 130 boxes remain restricted by the donor: Financial papers, 1922-1970 (102
boxes: 300R-373R, 480R-507R); Morgue files, 1921-1970 (21 boxes: 456R-476R); Ranch
1930-1969 (5 boxes: 374R-378R); and Real estate files, 1942-1969 (2 boxes: 379R-380R).
||The early acquisitions known as the Erle Stanley Gardner Papers (222 boxes) were described in an onsite card catalog, but are now described in an online finding aid. Gardner’s own manuscript writings make up nearly two-thirds of the Papers, accompanied by outgoing and incoming correspondence, and third-party writings and correspondence. Much of the correspondence and associated legal papers concern Gardner’s work on the Court of Last Resort project.
||The subsequent Additions to the Papers were voluminous and were described only in
list (boxes 1-479). Starting in 1977, new acquisitions were added in rough order of
from 1977 to 2015 (boxes 480-710). (The boxes actually total 716 due to the addition
b, or c to a few box numbers over the years.) In 2022, after the finding aid for the
catalog segment of the Papers was completed, the existing box-level list of Additions
revised to somewhat expand descriptions, add dates where possible, and regularize
entries in this draft finding aid. The Additions are not yet fully processed, rehoused,
||Because the Additions to the Papers are arranged largely in sequence of arrival, much
related material is scattered throughout the 716 boxes, but several large and related
are easily discernable. An Alphabetical Index of Boxes in this finding aid shows these
groups and also lists Gardner writings, some of which were published after his death
1970, as well as works by others.