Request Checked Items
University of Texas at Austin

Norman Mailer:

An Inventory of His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Mailer, Norman
Title: Norman Mailer Papers
Dates: 1919-2006
Extent: 957 document boxes, 44 oversize boxes, 47 galley files (gf), 14 note card boxes, 1 oversize file drawer (osf) (420 linear feet), 11,208 electronic files (158 GB)
Abstract: Handwritten and typed manuscripts, galley proofs, screenplays, correspondence, research materials and notes, legal, business, and financial records, photographs, audio and video recordings, books, magazines, clippings, scrapbooks, electronic records, drawings, and awards document the life, work, and family of Norman Mailer from the early 1900s to 2006.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02643
Language: English
Access: Open for research with the exception of some restricted materials. Any active financial records, telephone numbers, email addresses for Mailer's family members remain closed. Social Security numbers, medical records, and educational records for all living individuals are also restricted. When possible, documents containing restricted information have been replaced with redacted photocopies. Researchers must create an online Research Account and agree to the Materials Use Policy before using archival materials. To request access to electronic files, please email Reference.
Use Policies: Ransom Center collections may contain material with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in the collections without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Ransom Center and The University of Texas at Austin assume no responsibility. Certain restrictions apply to the use of electronic files. Researchers must agree to the Materials Use Policy for Electronic Files before accessing them. Original computer disks and forensic disk images are restricted. Copying electronic files, including screenshots and printouts, is not permitted.

Administrative Information

Provenance Early in his career, Mailer typed his own works and handled his correspondence with the help of his sister, Barbara. After the publication of The Deer Park in 1955, he began to rely on hired typists and secretaries to assist with his growing output of works and letters. Among the women who worked for Mailer over the years, Anne Barry, Madeline Belkin, Suzanne Nye, Sandra Charlebois Smith, Carolyn Mason, and Molly Cook particularly influenced the organization and arrangement of his records. The genesis of the Mailer archive was in 1968 when Mailer's mother, Fanny Schneider Mailer, and his friend and biographer, Dr. Robert Lucid, transferred papers from Mrs. Mailer's Brooklyn apartment and the basement of his residence at 142 Columbia Heights to the Day & Meyer, Murray & Young records storage facility in New York. Lucid organized and maintained the records, retrieving additional papers from Mailer's Brooklyn office and Provincetown home, and adding new materials in subsequent years as they were retired by Mailer. Beginning with The Executioner's Song in 1978, Judith McNally served as interviewer, editor, researcher, organizer, correspondence secretary, and general assistant for Mailer. As Mailer's typist, McNally created and maintained all of the electronic records found in the archive. By the late 1980s, manuscript drafts, transcripts of interviews, and correspondence were all generated by McNally using word processing software on her home computer. Also in 1978, Dr. J. Michael Lennon began assisting Dr. Lucid with the growing archive. In addition to retrieving new material created by Mailer, Lennon incorporated business files from Mailer's literary agent Scott Meredith and legal files from Mailer's cousin and long-time legal representative Charles "Cy" Rembar. Once placed in the archive, the papers did not remain dormant. Mailer, on occasion, retrieved materials for further use, and Dr. Lennon and Dr. Lucid made extensive use of the papers for their own work. Dr. Lucid identified the contents of many files dating from the 1940s and 1950s, writing notes and descriptions on the folders. Photocopies of these original folders remain with the materials to preserve Dr. Lucid's information. Additional biographical notes and drafts by Lucid are located in Series V. Works by Others, as are large amounts of Dr. Lennon's Mailer-related notes and manuscripts. Lennon transferred the records to Diversified Information Technologies in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, in 1994, and with the assistance of his wife, Donna, served as Mailer's chief archivist until the materials arrived at the Ransom Center in 2005. Mailer sent additional materials to the Ransom Center in the subsequent years, and further materials are expected. Judith McNally was in the process of transferring her Mailer-related computer disks and files to the Ransom Center at the time of her sudden death in May 2006. With no will or living relatives, all materials in McNally's possession were seized by the Kings County Surrogate Court in Brooklyn, New York. After several months, McNally's three laptop computers and numerous computer disks were released to the Ransom Center.
Acquisition: Purchase, 2005 (R15380); see the Provenance Note for additional information
Processed by: Monique Daviau, Jennifer Hecker, Katy Hill, Stephen Mielke, Gabriela Redwine, Joan Sibley, Apryl Sullivan, 2005-2007 Born digital materials processed, arranged, and described by Gabriela Redwine, Chance Adams, and Brenna Edwards, 2005-2023.

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Sketch

Norman Kingsley Mailer was born January 31, 1923, in Long Branch, New Jersey. His father, Isaac Barnett "Barney" Mailer, worked as an accountant. His mother, Fanny "Fan" Schneider, ran several small businesses. For the majority of his youth, the Mailer family, including his younger sister Barbara, lived in middle class neighborhoods in Brooklyn, New York.
In 1939, at age sixteen, Mailer entered Harvard University. He majored in engineering sciences, but also pursued a passion for writing. He worked on the Harvard Advocate and studied under English faculty members Robert Gorham Davis, Robert Hillyer, and Theodore Morrison. Mailer's short story "The Greatest Thing in the World" won the 1941 Story magazine college contest and brought him to the attention of several editors and publishers.
Mailer was graduated from Harvard in 1943. In early 1944, he married his college girlfriend, Beatrice "Bea" Silverman, and was drafted into the Army. After basic and advanced training, he was assigned to the 112th Cavalry Regiment in the Philippines, performing various duties, including reconnaissance patrols. After the Japanese surrender, Mailer served as a cook in occupied Japan until his discharge in May 1946.
Mailer's army experience formed the basis for his 1948 novel The Naked and the Dead. Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and The Gutenberg Award, the book brought Mailer great literary fame and financial success.
By the early 1950s Mailer had separated from Bea and was living with his soon-to-be second wife Adele Morales in Manhattan. His second novel Barbary Shore (1951) received overwhelmingly bad reviews. Although a third novel, The Deer Park (1955), was greeted more favorably, Mailer increasingly sought to write outside the novel format. In the early 1950s he began writing for magazines such as Dissent, Esquire, and Partisan Review and in 1955 helped co-found the Village Voice. Through these and other periodicals, Mailer commented on race, feminism, sexuality, politics, literature, art, culture, and society. In 1959 he published a collection of these essays, with additional fiction and commentary, titled Advertisements for Myself, recapturing his earlier critical acclaim.
In the midst of his renewed celebrity and a planned New York mayoral run, Mailer's personal life deteriorated, reaching its nadir in a notorious 1960 penknife assault on Adele during a night of drunken brawling. Despite severe injury, Adele refused to press charges. Mailer received court probation and public condemnation, and his second marriage ended.
In the early 1960s, Mailer worked to stabilize his life and further build his literary reputation. A short marriage to Lady Jeanne Campbell in 1962 was followed by marriage to Beverly Bentley. He published a volume of poetry, Deaths for the Ladies (and Other Disasters) (1962), and a fourth novel, An American Dream (1965). But throughout the 1960s and 1970s he received the greatest recognition for his work in nonfiction and "New Journalism." He explored topics such as politics, space exploration, feminism, race relations and boxing in a variety of works, including The Presidential Papers (1963), Cannibals and Christians (1966), Miami and the Siege of Chicago (1968), Of a Fire on the Moon (1971), The Prisoner of Sex (1971), St. George and the Godfather (1972), and The Fight (1975). He received the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for his narrative of a 1967 Vietnam war protest in The Armies of the Night (1968) and another Pulitzer for his account of Gary Gilmore's execution in The Executioner's Song (1979).
In the late 1960s, Mailer made three experimental films: Wild 90, Beyond the Law, and Maidstone. In 1982, he wrote the television adaptation of The Executioner's Song and later wrote and directed a major studio production of his 1984 novel Tough Guys Don't Dance. He performed minor roles in several films and television programs and wrote the television screenplays for American Tragedy and Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story.
In addition to numerous and varied pursuits, including a 1969 Democratic primary bid for New York mayor and a two-year term as President of the American Center of P.E.N. in the mid-1980s, Mailer continued to produce best-selling fiction such as Why Are We in Vietnam? (1967), Ancient Evenings (1983), Tough Guys Don't Dance (1984), Harlot's Ghost (1991), and The Castle in the Forest (2007). Other pieces included full-length biographies of Marilyn Monroe, Pablo Picasso, and Lee Harvey Oswald as well as shorter works for magazines and journals.
In 1980, following his divorce from Beverly Bentley and a short marriage to Carol Stevens, Mailer married Norris Church (formerly Barbara Davis). They remained married until his death on November 10, 2007, in New York.


Lennon, J. Michael and Donna Pedro Lennon. Norman Mailer: Works and Days. Shavertown, PA: Sligo Press, 2000.
Rollyson, Carl. The Lives of Norman Mailer: A Biography. New York: Paragon House, 1991.
Whalen-Bridge, John. "Norman Mailer."Dictionary of Literary Biography Online, (accessed 10 October 2006).

Scope and Contents

Scope and Contents

Handwritten and typed manuscripts, galley proofs, screenplays, correspondence, research materials and notes, legal, business, and financial records, photographs, audio and video recordings, books, magazines, clippings, scrapbooks, electronic records, drawings, and awards document the life, work, and family of Norman Mailer from the early 1900s to 2005. The bulk of the papers arrived at the Ransom Center in rough chronological order; in general, this order has been maintained within the following six series: I. Literary and Other Activities, 1939-2005; II. Correspondence, 1939-2005; III. Legal and Financial, 1944-1998; IV. Family and Personal, 1919-2001; V. Works by Others, 1946-2005; VI. Serial Publications, 1941-2005; and VII. Electronic Materials. Most of the papers are in English, with small amounts of correspondence and clippings in French, Spanish, German, and Yiddish or Hebrew, plus several French language videos.
Series I. makes up more than half of the collection and contains extensive and thorough records of Mailer's literary activities, dating from his entry into Harvard in 1939 through 2005, as well as Mailer's numerous social, political, and film-making activities. The bulk of the series consists of handwritten and typed drafts of Mailer's books, plays, screenplays, poems, speeches, and journal contributions, both published and unpublished. Numerous heavily revised drafts are present for his major publications, including The Naked and the Dead (1948), Barbary Shore (1951), The Deer Park (1955), An American Dream (1965), The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History (1968), Of a Fire on the Moon (1971), The Executioner's Song (1979), Ancient Evenings (1983), Harlot's Ghost (1991), and Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery (1995). Extensive research materials, particularly for his later works, are also found in this series; correspondence and photographs are present to a lesser extent.
Mailer's archive encompasses a wide range of topics reflecting the depth of his engagement in the issues and events of his lifetime: his controversial commentary on race, culture, and sexuality in The White Negro (1957); his portrayal of women in An American Dream (1965) and his later writing on birth control and the role of women in American society; his commentaries on the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, the Vietnam War and the 1967 March on the Pentagon, and Democratic and Republican political conventions from the 1960s to the 1990s; his coverage of the 1974 heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Zaire (The Fight, 1975); his analysis of personas and events from the 1960s that continue to loom large in the American cultural imagination, including Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy assassination, and Project Apollo; his contributions to the cultural debates on capital punishment and prisoners' rights in The Executioner's Song (1979) and support of prisoner and writer Jack Henry Abbott; and his explorations of government, espionage, race, and criminal justice in the CIA themed novel Harlot's Ghost (1991), and television docudramas on O. J. Simpson's murder trial and FBI agent turned spy Robert Hanssen.
Series II. Correspondence, 1939-2005, contains incoming and outgoing letters between Mailer and his family, friends, fans, fellow writers, politicians, activists, actors and directors, scholars, business associates, and numerous other individuals and institutions, documenting over sixty years of Mailer's life and impact on American literature and culture. Included are letters from James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., Truman Capote, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, Allen Ginsberg, Lillian Hellman, Ernest Hemingway, James Jones, Henry Miller, Joyce Carol Oates, George Plimpton, William Styron, Gore Vidal, and Kurt Vonnegut among numerous others.
The extensive legal and business records contained in Series III. Legal and Financial complement Mailer's works and correspondence. These records include contracts, investment and real estate documents, tax records, and household bills and receipts that illuminate Mailer's business endeavors, lifestyle, work habits, and day-to-day activities. These records are subdivided into two subseries reflecting their origins from Mailer's attorney and Mailer's agent: A. Charles "Cy" Rembar and B. Scott Meredith Literary Agency.
Series IV. Family and Personal is the smallest of the six series. It is arranged into two subseries: A. Family and B. Personal. The bulk of the material originated with or was collected by Mailer's parents. Included is correspondence from their courtship, records from later international travels, scrapbooks, memorabilia, and family photos. Also in the series are letters between Mailer's parents and extended family, and letters from Mailer to his parents.
Of particular note are Mailer's childhood writings and memorabilia. Other materials include letters, writing, and personal records from Mailer's first wife, Bea, family narratives written by his mother, and stories written by his sister Barbara Wasserman. Also present are Mailer's address and appointment books, passports, and gambling records, all dating from his adulthood.
The bulk of the photographs found in Mailer's papers are also located in Series IV. and include professional and informal images of Mailer, research photographs for his works, his book jacket portraits, photodocumentation of his activities, and Mailer family photographs. Of note are images from early 1960s portrait sessions with Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon, and original prints of the Bruce Davidson photographs that accompanied Mailer's 1960 Esquire piece "Brooklyn Minority Report: 'She Thought the Russians Was Coming.'"
Series V. Works by Other People contains published and unpublished works from Mailer's family, friends, other well-known writers, aspiring authors, and students. Included are works by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, J. Michael Lennon, Robert Lucid, Norris Church Mailer, Norman Podhoretz, Diana Trilling, and Dotson Rader.
Series VI. consists of serial publications containing interviews of or pieces by Mailer. Arranged alphabetically, they represent a small and incomplete portion of the total number of articles published by Mailer.
Series VII. Electronic Materials contains electronic documents from Mailer which do not clearly fall into other described series. Arranged alphabetically, title in quotation marks represent original folder and disk titles as prescirbed by Mailer.
There are no film prints or copies of Mailer's late-1960s experimental films Beyond the Law, Wild 90 , and Maidstone in the archive, but the movies are documented through business and financial records from Mailer's short-lived film company, Supreme Mix. Publicity materials, review clippings, and extensive production photos and movie stills complement the business records. The Mailer-directed, major studio adaptation of his book Tough Guys Don't Dance is well documented with correspondence, production materials, audition video tapes, and audience surveys.
Books, audio-visual materials, electronic records, and personal effects have been transferred to other departments within the Ransom Center. See the Transferred Materials description for further details.

Series Descriptions

Series I. Literary and Other Activities, 1939-2006 (511 boxes, 43 oversize boxes, 47 galley files, 14 note card boxes, 2,852 electronic files)
The bulk of Mailer's literary files document his fiction and non-fiction books. Notes, drafts, galley proofs, correspondence, and publicity files give evidence to the development and impact of all of Mailer's key publications, including The Naked and the Dead (1948), Barbary Shore (1951), The Deer Park (1955), An American Dream (1965), The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, The Novel as History (1968), Of a Fire on the Moon (1971), The Executioner's Song (1979), Ancient Evenings (1983), Harlot's Ghost (1991), and Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery (1995).
Mailer's Harvard course work and writings are the earliest materials in Series I., dating from the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Harvard material includes numerous papers and short stories Mailer wrote for his English writing classes, as well as engineering and math coursework, grade reports, and university pamphlets and memorabilia. Also present are materials related to his activities in The Signet Society and copies of the Harvard Advocate containing his first published piece, "The Greatest Thing in the World." Of particular significance is a spiral notebook containing a handwritten journal started by Mailer on December 13, 1941. In the journal, Mailer records his thoughts on writing and reasons for becoming a writer. Also found in the Harvard materials are No Percentage, an unpublished novel begun in 1941; A Transit to Narcissus, begun in 1942 in the form of a play entitled "The Naked and the Dead," but not published until 1978; and a novella, A Calculus at Heaven, also begun in 1942 but not published until after Mailer's induction into the army in March 1944.
Mailer's army papers consist of one folder of notes, pamphlets, and official documents, such as his discharge papers. A more detailed record of his army service is found in letters to and from his first wife, Bea, located in the Correspondence series.
Numerous drafts, fragments, and clippings represent Mailer's contributions to periodicals such as Commentary, Dissent, Esquire, Harper's, The New York Review of Books, The Paris Review, Playboy, Vanity Fair, and The Village Voice. Also present are handwritten and typed drafts of published and unpublished short stories and reviews, as well as forewords and blurbs he wrote for other authors. Other literary works include transcripts of interviews by and of Mailer, drafts of speeches, notes and drafts from Mailer's coverage of boxing and political conventions, memoirs, and numerous poems, drawings, and doodles.
In addition to literary works, Series I. contains publicity and production material for Mailer's late 1960s films Beyond the Law, Wild 90, and Maidstone. Mailer's 1986 film Tough Guys Don't Dance is well documented with screenplay drafts, production notes, viewer comments, and videotaped screen tests. Also present are screenplays Mailer wrote for three television movies directed by Lawrence Schiller: The Executioner's Song, American Tragedy, and Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story, as well as several never-used screenplays.
Other materials include records from his 1969 New York City mayoral primary campaign, and of his 1984 to 1986 tenure as president of the American chapter of P.E.N. Correspondence is found throughout the series and there is much overlap in content with files in Series II. Correspondence and Series III. Legal and Financial. General research and clippings files are also found throughout Series I., reflecting Mailer's interests in topics such as cancer and its causes, President Kennedy's assassination, the Watergate break-in, the CIA, and the wars in Vietnam and Iraq.
Files for some of Mailer's works contain materials for multiple genres or versions created at the same time. For example, files for An American Dream include manuscripts for the eight-part serialization that appeared in Esquire, as well as manuscripts for the published book. The Executioner's Song includes materials from the book, the Playboy magazine excerpt, and the television movie based on the book. The Deer Park material includes drafts, galley proofs, and proof plates for the version cancelled by Rinehart publishers, as well as material for the published Putnam version.
Dr. J. Michael Lennon and Donna Pedro Lennon's detailed bibliography of Mailer's major printed items, Norman Mailer: Works and Days (2000), was the key source used for identifying titles and chronology during processing of the papers at the Ransom Center. Due to the chronological order of the files and in an attempt to preserve any evidence of Mailer's use of the documents, related materials with the same title but different publication dates are not always filed together. For example, documents for Mailer's various versions of The Deer Park: A Play are filed separately from The Deer Park book materials because they were created as separate theater projects well after the book was completed. Similarly, original manuscripts for A Transit to Narcissus reside in files dated 1942 to 1943, when they were first created, and are also found in files dated 1978, which is when the book was first published in facsimile form. And drafts created of Mailer's compilations of earlier writing, such as Advertisements for Myself and The Time of Our Time, can include original manuscripts of the earlier pieces. The index of works and titles provided at the end of the finding aid identifies all locations of a particular work, including those with variant titles.
In general, Mailer's more recent work, dating from the 1970s onward, is represented by a greater volume of material than earlier works. The later files contain numerous copies of handwritten and typed drafts faxed between Mailer and his typists. Extensive research files created for some of his projects--notably Of a Fire on the Moon, The Executioner's Song, Harlot's Ghost, Oswald's Tale and Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story--add to the volume. Audiotape dictation exists for some of works dating from the 1980s onward.
Series II. Correspondence, 1939-2005 (223 boxes, 565 electronic files)
Both incoming and outgoing letters are found throughout the papers, but the bulk are located in Series II. Correspondence. Major correspondents include friends, writers, critics, editors, and publishers such as: Jack Abbott, John Aldridge, James Baldwin, Vance Bourjaily, William F. Buckley, Jr., Truman Capote, Don Carpenter, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, Jason Epstein, Allen Ginsberg, Francis "Fig" Gwaltney, Lillian Hellman, Ernest Hemingway, Irving Howe, James Jones, Ken Kesey, Mickey Knox, Michael Lennon, Robert Lucid, Jean Malaquais, Dwight McDonald, Henry Miller, Willie Morris, Adeline Naiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Norman Podhoretz, Richard Poirier, George Plimpton, Dotson Rader, Lillian Ross, Norman Rosten, Robert Silvers, William Styron, Diana and Lionel Trilling, Gore Vidal, Eichii Yaminishi, and Kurt Vonnegut. An index of all incoming correspondents is provided at the end of the finding aid.
The Correspondence series dates from Mailer's entry into Harvard in 1939. Extensive correspondence between Mailer, his parents, and his first wife, Beatrice Silverman, dates from Mailer's army service from 1944 to 1946. In his letters, Mailer writes of army life and describes characters, scenes, and plots for what became The Naked and the Dead. These letters serve as the early rough draft of the novel.
Third-party correspondence is found throughout the papers with large accumulations located in legal files and literary business files. Other third-party correspondence exists between Mailer's parents and between other family members. Photocopies of letters between Gary Gilmore and Nicole Baker are found in the research materials for The Executioner's Song. Of special note are letters from Marilyn Monroe to Marjorie Stengel (149.1), Shelley Winters to Marlon Brando (522.3), and John Dos Passos to Stanley Rinehart (scrapbook, box 1008)
A relatively small amount of email correspondence is present in the form of hardcopy printouts. Much of it involves Mailer's wife, Norris Church Mailer, or his assistants, and is not directly addressed to or from Mailer.
Also of note are close to 200 audio cassette tapes, dating between 1975 and 2002, containing Mailer's dictation of outgoing letters. In addition, numerous computer disks, dating from the early 1990s onward, contain drafts of outgoing correspondence. Transcriptions and printouts exist for the some of the dictated and electronic format letters. Many of the electronic files have not yet been accessed and their contents remain undetermined.
Other types of correspondence include fan mail, requests for appearances, letters-to-the-editor intended for publication, and business and legal communications.
Folders from 1954, 1968, and several years in the 1970s are labeled "Handwriting Files" and contain letters or fragments of letters sent by Mailer to a handwriting analyst, along with the analyst's comments. Authors of some of these letters are not indicated, but many are and include friends, family, and other writers.
Of particular significance are Mailer's letters with literary translator Eiichi Yamanishi. Dating from the late 1940s to the 1980s, Yamanishi carried on extensive correspondence with Mailer discussing the composition and meaning of Mailer's works as Yamanishi translated them into Japanese.
The series is in chronological order by individual year or span of years. Files are ordered alphabetically within the chronological groupings. Some chronological headings are divided into two alphabetical runs of letters answered and letters unanswered. There are also several topical accumulations, such as the Jack Abbott letters (1978-1985) and P.E.N. files (1983-1991), that are filed chronologically by their earliest date. The filing arrangement is not consistent and reflects the various methods in which Mailer's correspondence was created and maintained over the years. When apparent, the original headings from the correspondence folders have been transcribed onto the new folders and also used in the following container list.
Up to 1991, correspondence files generally contain incoming letters with carbons of Mailer's outgoing response attached. From 1991 onward, many of the correspondence files contain incoming letters only or printouts of computer generated responses. Folders labeled "Lett 1" to "Lett 79" indicate computer file and disk labels that contain computer generated outgoing letters related to the incoming letters in those folders.
In addition to correspondence, the series contains manuscript material from Mailer and from others throughout, as well as business and personal financial information. There is much similarity in content with files found in series I. Literary and Other Activities and series III. Legal and Financial, particularly for materials dating from the 1970s onward.
Series III. Legal and Financial, 1944-1998 (133 boxes)
Series III. Legal and Financial includes office files from Charles "Cy" Rembar (Mailer's cousin and long-time attorney) and the Scott Meredith Literary Agency. The materials have been arranged into two subseries reflecting these sources. Much of the correspondence located in the Legal and Financial series is similar in nature to correspondence found in the Literary and the Correspondence series. Likewise, some bills, receipts, and financial statements similar to those found in the Legal and Financial series remain filed in the Correspondence series to best preserve original order and context.
Subseries A. Cy Rembar, 1944-1998 (97 boxes)
Charles "Cy" Rembar served Mailer in various capacities, including literary agent, legal representative, and financial advisor. Rembar's professional relationships with Mailer date from the beginning of Mailer's literary career in the late 1940s up to the early 1980s. His extensive files document the business aspects of Mailer's writing and give evidence of Mailer's various legal entanglements over the years, such as the stabbing of his second wife, Adele, and lawsuits related to his 1973 book on Marilyn Monroe. These materials also include records of Mailer's first five marriages and subsequent divorces, as well as draft copies and contracts for many of Mailer's works, particularly those from the 1940s and 1950s. Of note is a file related to Mailer's father, Isaac Barnett "Barney" Mailer, and his investigation by the Civil Service Commission Loyalty Review Board due to his son's reputed communist affiliation.
In addition to legal files, Rembar's materials include corporate records for several film-related companies Mailer formed in the late 1960s, as well as extensive financial records such as Mailer's personal bank statements and bill and receipt files. Records created by Mailer's father--a practicing accountant--were placed in Rembar's possession after Barney Mailer's death in 1972. They contain income tax records and detailed financial statements for Mailer, as well as investment portfolios for Mailer and several of his family members and friends. Also present are Barney Mailer's own bank statements from the 1960s.
Rembar's legal files were received at the Ransom Center in large file transfer boxes. Their seemingly random order has been maintained, with client and case number filing information transferred to their new folders. The bulk of the financial records in the subseries are in chronological order.
Subseries B. Scott Meredith Literary Agency, 1946-1998 (36 boxes)
The records of Mailer's literary agent, Scott Meredith, complement Rembar's files. Meredith's files, retrieved after his death in 1993, date from the mid-1960s to the early 1990s and include domestic and foreign contracts, legal documents, earnings statements, and publication and copyright information for the majority of Mailer's literary works from that period. Similar information for earlier Mailer works is located in the Cy Rembar files in Subseries A. Of note in the Meredith files are early agreements with Robert Lucid detailing Lucid's never completed authorized biography of Mailer.
Meredith's files are in chronological order. Original folder headings are retained and are generally an accurate indicator of the files' contents, although some headings indicate biographical information for Mailer when none is present. A small number of Mailer manuscripts are present in these files. These items are listed in the works and titles index at the end of the finding aid.
Additional Meredith materials can be found in small amounts throughout Series I. Literary and Other Activities and Series II. Correspondence.
Series IV. Family and Personal, 1919-2001, undated (27 boxes, 360 electronic files)
The Family and Personal series contains juvenilia, materials from other family members, personal possessions and memorabilia, scrapbooks, address and appointment books, awards, gambling records, and photographs. It is the smallest series by volume and contains the earliest dated materials.
Subseries A. Family, 1919-1989, undated (7 boxes)
The bulk of the Family subseries consists of writing, correspondence, and other materials created by or collected by Mailer's parents, his sister Barbara, and his first two wives, Beatrice Silverman and Adele Morales. Also present are small amounts of incoming and outgoing correspondence with other family members dating from the 1920s to the 1960s. Much of the correspondence in the series is either to or from Mailer, but significant amounts of third-party correspondence is present, particularly between Mailer's parents. Materials are arranged alphabetically by creator.
Materials from Mailer's mother include correspondence, handwritten notes and drafts about Mailer's family, and narratives describing her travels to Europe, Israel, South Africa, and Hawaii. Also present are scrapbooks she created from clippings for The Naked and the Dead, Barbary Shore, Advertisements for Myself, and Mailer's Village Voice contributions.
Mailer's father's materials include correspondence, personal mementos, a small amount of business records, and one audio tape labeled "Norman Mailer (on Barney)," which was transferred to the Ransom Center Sound Recordings Collection.
Materials from Mailer's sister and his first wife, Bea, contain mostly short stories and other writing.
Subseries B. Personal, 1921-2001, undated (20 boxes, 360 electronic files)
Juvenilia consist of materials created by Mailer before he entered Harvard at age sixteen. Arranged alphabetically, the materials include handwritten and typed short stories, schoolwork, and scrapbooks containing clippings of airplanes and other machines. Of note is a two-volume, handwritten story titled Martian Invasion, written in 1933; and Mailer's first published work, "Model Airplanes," which appeared in Physical Scientist, a mimeograph flyer printed at his high school in 1938. Also included with the juvenilia is memorabilia such as Boys High School patches, pennants, and yearbooks.
Address and appointment books date from the early 1950s to the mid-1990s. Included are notebooks, planners, calendars, and a rolodex bearing handwritten entries from Mailer and his spouses, children, and secretaries. Preserved in these records are business, social, and personal engagements for Mailer and his family as well as names, phone numbers, and addresses for friends, colleagues, and business associates.
Awards files include several folders of certificates, clippings, correspondence, and photographs documenting a small number of the many awards and honors received by Mailer over the years. Included are records of Mailer's nomination for the Gutenberg Award in 1949, an honorary doctoral degree from Rutgers University in 1969, and the Austrian Cross of Honor in 2002.
Photographs form the largest portion of the Personal subseries. Included are photographs of Mailer, his wives, children, other family members, and friends. They date from the 1940s to the 2000s, although several images of Mailer's family likely date from earlier in the 1900s. Among the notable images are photographs by Diane Arbus, Richard Avedon, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Robert Frank, and Inge Mörath.
Photographs are arranged chronologically, excepting several folders containing images of wives, family, and friends filed at the end of the subseries. Snapshots taken by Mailer and by friends and family are found throughout. Prints of dust jacket photos are present for several of his major books. Also present are several boxes of still images from Mailer's movies, Wild 90, Beyond the Law, and Maidstone. Mailer's 1969 New York mayoral campaign is well documented. Research photos of locations related to Harlot's Ghost, Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery, and Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story fill several boxes. A small number of additional photographs are located in Series II. Correspondence with incoming letters.
Other materials in Subseries B. include gambling records; drawings, doodles, and a watercolor painting by Mailer; and a small number of passports and other official documents.
Series V. Works by Other People, 1946-2005, undated (46 boxes, 581 electronic files)
Manuscript drafts for published and unpublished works by other people are found in Series V. Works By Others and to a lesser extent in Series II. Correspondence. Included in this series are literary and academic works by Mailer's family and friends, other well-known writers, aspiring authors, and students. Present are works from Jack Abbott, Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, Norman Podhoretz, José Torres, Diana Trilling, and Dotson Rader. The works are arranged in alphabetical order by author name.
The largest segment of materials in the series consists of manuscripts for Norris Church Mailer's novel Windchill Summer. Dr. J. Michael Lennon's manuscripts for Norman Mailer: Works and Days constitute the second largest body of materials. In addition, the series contains numerous biographical notes and manuscripts by Mailer scholar and friend Dr. Robert Lucid, and original materials for Norris Church Mailer's stage play Go-See.
The bulk of the material consists of typed draft manuscripts, but artwork and drawings are also included. Several computer disks with electronic files have been transferred to the Ransom Center Electronic Records Collection. Some works by other people are located in other series. For example, the majority of materials for Jack Abbott's In the Belly of the Beast are filed in their original location in Series II. Correspondence.
Series VI. Serial Publications, 1941-2005 (13 serial boxes, 4 oversize boxes, 121 electronic files)
Series VI. consists of magazines, journals, and other serial publications containing Mailer essays, articles, and interviews. The material does not represent a complete collection of Mailer's output, but does include complete volumes of several significant and rare examples, such as the November-December 1941 edition of Story containing "The Greatest Thing in The World." Other publications found in the series include Commentary, Dissent, The New York Review of Books, and Partisan Review, as well as several foreign language magazines containing reprints of Mailer works or original articles. Materials in the series are arranged in alphabetical order by serial title.
Series VII. Electronic Materials, 1997-2005, undated (6,729 electronic files)
Series VII. contains electronic documents from Mailer which do not clearly fall into other described series. Arranged alphabetically, title in quotation marks represent original folder and disk titles as prescirbed by Mailer.

Related Material

The following collections at the Ransom Center contain additional Mailer-related material and are described in the Ransom Center card catalog:
  • El Corno Emplumado
  • Dobie, James Frank
  • Genesis West
  • Harper's
  • Malanga, Gerard
  • Purdy, James
The following Ransom Center collections also contain Mailer-related materials and are described in archival inventories in the Ransom Center reading room or online at
  • Abeles, Joseph
  • Adams, Alice
  • Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
  • Chester, Alfred
  • Czermanski, Zdzislaw
  • DeLillo, Don
  • Fiske, Thomas. Collection of Norman Mailer.
  • Hardwick, Elizabeth
  • Hellman, Lillian
  • Jones, James
  • Kenner, Hugh
  • Lennon, J. Michael. Collection of Norman Mailer Correspondence.
  • Loomis, Hillary Mills. Collection of Norman Mailer.
  • Lowell, Robert
  • Lubell-Naiman, Adeline. Collection of Norman Mailer.
  • Malamud, Bernard
  • Matthiessen, Peter
  • Playboy Enterprises. Norman Mailer Files.
  • Singer, Isaac B.
  • Weidman, Jerome
Other institutions with Mailer research materials include:
  • Duke University, Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. William Styron Papers.
  • The University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Special Collections. Francis Irby Gwaltney Papers.
  • The University of California, Berkeley, Bancroft Library. Norman Mailer Papers, 1957-1972.
  • Wilkes University, Farley Library. Norman Mailer's Pulitzer Prizes and other awards.
  • Yale University, Beinecke Library. Final typescript of The Naked and the Dead.

Transferred Materials

1231 books arrived at the Ransom Center with the Mailer Papers. Included were multiple copies of Mailer's works, foreign editions, anthologies, and books used by Mailer for research on specific topics. These do not comprise Mailer's entire personal library, the bulk of which he retained. These volumes have been removed from the archive and cataloged separately with the Center's Library.
130 VHS, Betamax, and U-Matic video tapes representing Mailer television appearances, documentaries, research material, and production material from the film Tough Guys Don't Dance have been transferred to the Ransom Center's Moving Image Collection. Also transferred were two 8mm commercial films on George Foreman, one 8mm home movie, and three 16mm home movies.
1297 quarter-inch audio cassette tapes, 97 quarter-inch audio tape reels, 7 audio tape microcassettes, and 4 CD-Rs have been transferred to the Ransom Center's Sound Recordings Collection. The bulk of the recordings are Mailer's dictation of correspondence and manuscripts. Also present are numerous interview tapes created by Mailer and collaborator Lawrence Schiller for the books The Executioner's Song (1979) and Oswald's Tale: An American Mystery (1995), and the television movie Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story (2002). Transcriptions of many of these tapes are found within files for the particular works located in Series I. Reel-to-reel recordings of television and radio programs dating from the 1950s through the 1960s include interviews with Mailer and news reports of his 1969 New York mayoral campaign. Use of audio and video materials may require production of listening and viewing copies.
359 computer disks, 47 electronic files, 40 CDs, 6 mini data cartridges, 3 laptop computers, and 1 Ampex magnetic tape spool have been transferred to the Ransom Center's Electronic Records Collection. The bulk of the electronic content was created by Mailer's assistant, Judith McNally, and consists of correspondence and literary drafts.
The following items have been removed from the archive and housed with the Ransom Center's Personal Effects Collection:
  • Two red and black Boys High School felt pennants and one red and black Boys High School felt patch
  • Platen from the typewriter used to type The Naked and the Dead
  • "I Support Vietnam Veterans Against the War" button pin
  • 13 "Fifth Estate | Counter-Spies Are Watching Big Brother" button pins
  • Hotel key
  • Ceremonial key to the City of Miami Beach
  • Framed check for $1.00 from Cannon Films
  • "Passing through the Netherworld" boxed Senet board game
  • One Paper Mate ink pen
  • Two olive drab boot laces
  • Two decks of handmade baseball game cards
  • Dog chain collar with tags
  • Red and white cardboard box with hinged lid
  • Kewpie doll party invitations box
  • Wallet file containing voodoo/magic materials and booklets
  • Two World War I South African military uniform insignia

Index Terms


Abbott, Jack Henry, 1944-2002.
Gilmore, Gary.
Gwaltney, Francis Irby, 1921-1981.
Jones, James, 1921-1977.
Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917-1963.
Knox, Mickey.
Malaquais, Jean, 1908-1998.
Miller, Henry, 1891-1980.
Monroe, Marilyn, 1926-1962.
Oswald, Lee Harvey.
Picasso, Pablo, 1881-1973.
Plimpton, George.
Schiller, Lawrence.
Styron, William, 1925-2006.
Torres, José, 1936-2009.
Vidal, Gore, 1925-2012.


American Center of P.E.N.


American literature -- 20th century.
Boxing -- History.
Capital punishment -- United States.
Feminism -- United States.
Homosexuality -- United States.
Literature, Modern -- 20th century.
Nonfiction novel.
Popular culture -- United States.
Presidential candidates -- United States.
Prisoners -- United States.
Project Apollo (U.S.).
Race relations -- United States.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Protest movements.
War in literature.
World War, 1939-1945.


Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.).
New York (N.Y.).
Provincetown (Mass.).

Document Types

Christmas cards.
Electronic documents.
Film stills.
Galley proofs.
Legal documents.
Magnetic disks.
Sound recordings.
Video recordings.

Norman Mailer Papers--Container List