||The papers of John Collier, ca. 1920-1976, represent Collier's
transition from a poet to writer of novels, short stories, and screenplays. The
bulk of the papers are manuscripts covering several genres. A substantial
amount of correspondence is also included in the papers. The papers are divided
into two series: I. Works, ca. 1920-1975, n.d. (4.8 boxes), and II. Personal
Papers, ca. 1930-1976, n.d. (0.2 boxes).
||The Works Series is subdivided by genre: Novels, Poems, Reviews,
Screenplays, and Short Stories, the majority of which fall into the latter two
categories. Of specific interest within the Screenplays subseries is an
original screenplay for
The African Queen, on which Collier was a
collaborator, which was not used for the final film. However, the bulk of the
Screenplays subseries deals with Collier's adaptation of John Milton's
Paradise Lost. Some correspondence
documenting Collier's ongoing negotiations with agents and collaborators
concerning the adaptation are also included in the
Paradise Lost group. A large percentage of
this correspondence is with Howard Hausman, Martin Poll, and Jan Stussy, ca.
1967-1970. In addition to the correspondence, there are multiple holograph an
typescript drafts of the adaptation. Manuscripts for fifteen short stories,
most of which date from 1955-1958 are also present. Among the short stories
best represented is
Asking For It, of which there are multiple
drafts. The Novel subseries contains holograph manuscripts by Collier,
including an original of
His Monkey Wife, probably his best known
novel. The Poems subseries includes both holograph manuscripts and typescripts
of what became the published book
Gemini. The small Reviews subseries contains
reviews by Collier of other novels, as well as a scrapbook of newspaper reviews
of his own work,
||The Personal Papers Series is minuscule compared to the Works series.
Contained in this series are an announcement of a poetry award given to
Collier, a contract concerning the publication of
Defy the Foul Fiend, and a very small amount
of outgoing correspondence to John Beevers, Louis Golding, and Alannah Harper.
Of particular note within this series is a notebook kept by Collier that
records short story titles, information regarding dates of composition, length
of writing time, payment received, and the publisher of the story. This record
book also contains listed groupings of possible stories to be released as
collections, notes for short stories, and some sketches.
||The order of the collection appears to have been somewhat influenced by
Bertram Rota Ltd., the dealer from which it was obtained. On the whole, this
order has been maintained, though the
Paradise Lost correspondence was put in
chronological order during processing. Additionally, many of the items seem to
have been labeled by the author and/or the dealer, and these were assumed
largely reliable for the task of identification and description.