Special Collections Department
James Leo Herlihy Papers
Manuscript Collection Number: 344
Accessioned: Purchase, July 1996.
Extent: 1.6 linear ft.
Content: Manuscripts, correspondence, notes, photographs,
clippings, reviews, interviews, advertisements, brochures, and programs.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: October 1997 by Shanon Wilson.
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
Herlihy formed strong relationships in the Black Mountain community, and his friendships with such figures as Anais Nin and the poet/potter M. C. (Mary Caroline) Richards would provide inspiration and support in his future creative endeavors. After an aptitude test indicated that his abilities might lie in the theatre, Herlihy moved to California and attended the Pasadena Playhouse College from 1948-1950. Over the next four years, Herlihy performed in about fifty plays in theaters along the West Coast. In the early sixties, he became a member of the Theater Company of Boston, and he continued acting, off and on, throughout his life. Some highlights of his theatrical career included roles in Edward Albee's Zoo Story (which he performed in Paris and Boston in 1963) and in the film Four Friends (1982).
The Pasadena Playhouse also produced Herlihy's first plays: Streetlight Sonata (1950) and Moon in Capricorn (1953). In 1953, Herlihy collaborated with his teacher William Noble on the play Blue Denim, which had a successful run on Broadway in 1958 and was adapted into a film in 1959. From 1953-1958, Herlihy wrote scripts for television. In 1959, he directed Tallulah Bankhead in a touring production of his play Crazy October. A trio of Herlihy's one-act plays, collected under the title Stop You're Killing Me (1970), included Terrible Jim Fitch (produced in 1965), Bad Bad Jo-Jo (produced in 1969), and Laughs, Etc. (produced in 1973).
Herlihy was also successful as a fiction writer. In 1952, the Paris Review published one of his short stories that would become the title work of his 1959 collection, The Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories. His first novel, All Fall Down, was published in 1960, and 1965 saw the appearance of Midnight Cowboy. This latter work was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film, and much of Herlihy's lasting fame is based on the popularity of that movie. Despite this acclaim, Herlihy would only publish two more books: a collection of short stories and plays entitled A Story That Ends in a Scream and Eight Others (1967), and a novel about a young teenage runaway, The Season of the Witch (1971).
If Herlihy became more ambivalent about his writing over the years, he developed an increasing enthusiasm for teaching. He led classes in playwriting at City College, New York, in 1967-68, and was a distinguished visiting professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in 1983. He also taught acting and writing at many other institutions, including Colorado College and the University of Southern California.
Herlihy traveled extensively throughout the United States and Europe, but lived for much of his life in Los Angeles, California. He also resided in Key West, Florida, in the late sixties and early seventies, and in New York City during various intervals. Herlihy died on October 20, 1993.
Sources:Kendle, Burton S. "James Leo Herlihy," Contemporary American Dramatists. Ed. K.A. Berney. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. pp. 261-265.
"James Leo Herlihy, 66, Novelist who wrote Midnight Cowboy." New York Times, 22 Oct., 1993: B9.
Olendorf, Donna, ed. Contemporary Authors. Volume.143. Detroit: Gale Research Co, 1994. p. 191.
Note: Biographical information also derived from the collection. For supplemental genealogical information, please contact the manuscripts librarian for assistance with the collection folder.
Scope and Content Note
The collection is organized in three series: I. Works by James Leo Herlihy, II. Correspondence of James Leo Herlihy to Mary Caroline Richards, and III. Miscellaneous Publicity, including photographs and theatre reviews.
The manuscripts of Herlihy's works are arranged chronologically by date of publication or, if unpublished, in order of composition based on editorial revisions. The series includes original typescript drafts of several of Herlihy's plays and novels, some photocopies, two setting typescripts, and several pages of notes. Many of these pages contain numerous autograph revisions by the author. The collection contains multiple drafts of four of the works: Herlihy's unfinished and unpublished musical adaption of Carson McCuller's Member of the Wedding (1967); two short stories, A Story That Ends with a Scream (1967) and Sweet William (1967); and his last novel, Season of the Witch (1971). The series also contains photocopies of reviews and promotional interviews with Herlihy which appeared in newspapers around the country with the release of Season of the Witch.
Section II contains Herlihy's correspondence to M.C. Richards, one of his instructors at Black Mountain College who remained a valuable friend throughout his life. The letters cover the years 1959 to 1986, although the correspondence is sparse in the early sixties and the mid - eighties, and there are gaps in 1971 and 1984. Some letters include enclosures of other correspondence, articles, or photographs.
M.C. Richards (b. 1916) is a poet, potter, and scholar, whose writings include lectures on pottery and education, poetry, and a translation of Artaud's Theatre of Cruelty. An influential member of the Black Mountain community, she helped John Cage bring about the first Happening in 1958. She apparently lived on Herlihy's farm, Jeffers Pond, in Hop Bottom, Pennsylvania, from 1971 to 1975. In his letters to her, Herlihy discussed his writing, acting, and teaching, as well as his experiences with friends in Los Angeles, where he primarily resided from 1973 onward. The correspondence also contains many references to the Black Mountain community, as well as references to Anais Nin, whom he looked after during her final illness, and Tennessee Williams, his fellow Key West resident. In other letters, Herlihy critiques -- sometimes harshly, more often admiringly -- the lectures and writings of his former teacher. Additionally, the correspondence reflects several contemporary concerns of the late sixties and seventies, including communal living and alternative health and nutrition.
Series III contains a miscellany of material that was probably used for promotional purposes. This series contains three black and white photographs of Herlihy from 1964, 1965, and 1967; a scholarly article about Midnight Cowboy; and theatrical reviews from Blue Denim, Terrible Jim Fitch, and the Boston production of Edward Albee's The Zoo Story in which Herlihy starred. Although the material in this series does not present anything close to a comprehensive view of Herlihy's theatrical activities, it does provide an indication of his success on the stage.
1 Series I. Works by James Leo Herlihy Arranged chronologically in order of publication or, if unpublished, of composition. Crazy October (1959) F1 Draft, n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections. F2 Clean version, n.d. Photocopied, bound A Story That Ends With A Scream and Eight Others (1967) Folders F3-F9 contain drafts of several of the stories and plays included in Herlihy's collection. F3 "Laughs Et Cetera," n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections F4 "Ezra," n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections. Early version of the short story "A Story that Ends With A Scream." One draft entitled "Second Draft," along with pages of rewrites. F5 "You'll Know Him When You See Him," n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections. Early version of the short story "A Story That Ends With A Scream," which appears to be a revision of the material in F4. F6 "Sweet William," n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections. Contains an outline of the story and three early drafts. F7 "Love and the Buffalo," n.d. Typescript with minor autograph corrections. Bound in Ashley Famous Agency folder. A Story That Ends with a Scream and Eight Others, 1967 F8 Typescript setting copy from Simon and Schuster. Contains some mimeo. Part I includes the first four stories: "A Story That Ends with a Scream" "Love and the Buffalo" "The Astral Body of a U.S. Mail Truck" "The Day of the Seventh Fire" 1 Series I. Works by James Leo Herlihy (cont'd) F9 Part 2 includes: "Laughs, Etc" "The Fright of Mrs. Yeager" "Terrible Jim Fitch" "A Ceremony for the Midget" "Sweet William" Member of the Wedding Drafts and notes for a 1967 unpublished musical based on Carson McCullers' 1946 novel of the same name. F10 Draft A, n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections. F11 Draft B, n.d. Typescript with autograph corrections. Some xerox. F12 Draft C, n.d. Xerox typescript with minor autograph corrections. F13 Notes Autograph and typescript with corrections. Contains a chronology of McCuller's novel, an outline for the play, drafts of song lyrics, and drafts of dialogue surrounding songs. Season of the Witch (1971) F14-F29 contain drafts and materials related to Herlihy's novel. Eacb draft has been divided into three folders. Divisions occur at the same points in the novel for each draft. Season of the Witch, Draft A, n.d. Typescript with autograph revisions. F14 pps 1-142. F15 pps 143-245. F16 pps 246-456. Season of the Witch, Draft B, n.d. Typescript with autograph revisions F17 pps 1-142 F18 pps 143a-245 F19 pps 246-395 1 Series I. Works by James Leo Herlihy (cont'd) Season of the Witch, Draft C, n.d. Typescript with minor autograph revisions F20 pps 1-142 F21 pps 143-245b F22 pps 246-454 F23 Notes for Season of the Witch Autograph and typescript materials, many heavily corrected. Much of the notes relate to Drafts A, B, and C. F24 Notes (cont'd) F25 Notes (cont'd) Season of the Witch, Setting Copy, 1971 Typescript from Simon and Schuster. Proofreader's marks throughout. 2 F26 Setting copy, pp 1- 168 F27 Setting copy, pp 169 - 290 F28 Setting copy, pp 291 - 495 F29 Reviews for Season of the Witch Photocopies. Also includes advertisements. F 30 Interviews Contains photocopies of written interviews that Herlihy gave while promoting Season of the Witch. Includes Simon and book tour intinerary. F 31 "The Golden Age," 1969 June 15 Typescript with autograph revisions. Records a conversation between Herlihy and two others. Material may relate to Season of the Witch. Addenda Typescript with autograph revisions. Series II. Correspondence Consists of the letters from James Leo Herlihy to M.C. Richards, his former teacher at Black Mountain College who was a poet and potter. The letters, which are arranged chronologically, describe Herlihy's personal and artistic life. 2 F32 [1959 Sep 16] ACS 1p [1962 Mar 17] ACS 1p 1962 Aug 8 ACS 1p  ACS 1p [1963 Feb 27] ACS 1p [1963 Apr 22] ACS 1p F33  TCS 1p [1964 Aug 19] ACS 1p 1964 Nov 9 TLS 3p Note: First half of page one autograph. 1964 Nov 28 TLS 2p F34  [Jun 30] TLS 2p [1965 Oct 11] ALS 1p [1965 Oct 18] ALS 5p [1965 Oct 30] ACS 1p F35 1966 Jan 12 TLS 1p [1966 Jan 17] ACS 1p 1966 Jan 28 ALS 1p [1966 Mar 18] ACS 1p 1966 Nov 26 TLS 1p Nov 27 TLS 1p F36 1967 Feb 6 TLS 1p Jun 4 TLS 2p 3 F37 1968 Jul 15 TLS 3p Note: Includes drawing on letter. Aug 15 TLS 2p Aug 21 TLS 3p Sep 30 ALS 3p Note: includes a 2p TLS from Herlihy to Jake Ross. [1968 Nov 1] TLS 2p 3 Series II. Correspondence (cont'd) F38  ACS 1p 1969 Jan 23 ALS 1p Apr 16 TLS 1p Sep 28 TLS 3p F39 1970 Mar 14 TLS 1p Jun 19 TLS 2p [1970 Nov 13] TLS 2p F40  TLS 4p  ALS 6p [1972 Mar] ALS 2p Note: second page typed. 1972 Mar 14 ALS 2p Mar 19 ACS 2p Apr 3 ALS 1p Oct 16 ALS 1p Note: includes Playboy article on film criticism. F41 [1973 Jan 17] TLS 1p 1973 Mar 28 TLS 1p Apr 25 ALS 2p Note: includes 2p TLS from Joe Frazier to Herlihy. Jun 14/15 TLS 5p Nov 1 TLS 1p Oct 30 TLS 3p F42 1974 Jan 19 ALS 2p Note: includes brochure for Villa Vegetariana. Feb 18 TLS 1p May 4 ALS 3p May 6 ALS 2p 1974 Jul 20 TLS 2p Note: includes US Department of Agriculture inventory/evaluation of Jeffers Pond. Aug 31 TLS 7p Note: last page autograph. [1974 Sept 17] ACS 1p 1974 Nov 2 ACS 1p Dec 9 ACS 4p F43 [1975 Mar 3] TLS 1p 1975 Mar 9 ALS 5p May TLS 3p Note: Last half of third page autograph. Aug 4 ALS 2p Oct 23 ALS 2p F44 1976 Feb 22 TLS 3p Note: includes LA Times review of Anais Nin's A Woman Speaks. [1976 Apr] TLS 1p Note: includes LA Times article on John Cage. 1976 Oct 1 TLS 2p [1976 Dec 8] ACS 1p 1976 Dec 21 TLS 13p F45 1977 Feb 2/3 TLS 10p Feb 22 ALS 3p Note: includes interviews with Herlihy in In Touch, The Advocate, and Gay Weekly. Also includes Plutarch photocopy. Apr 29 TLS 1p Sep 12 TLS 1p Nov 13 TLS 2p F46 1978 Apr 2 TLS 3p [1978 Oct 3] ALS 1p 1978 Dec 28 ALS 2p F47 1979 Mar 27 ALS 2p Nov 26 TLS 4p F48 1980 Aug 27 TLS 2p Nov 19 ACS 1p Nov 25 ACS 1p F49 1981 Jan 14/15 TLS 4p Sep 22 ALS 1p 3 Series II. Correspondence (cont'd) F50 1982 May 22 ACS 1p Jun 21 ACS 1p Jul 6/8 ALS 10p Dec 6 ALS 1p Note: includes two drawings. F51 1983 Apr 1 TLS 2p F52 1985 Feb 25 ACS 1p Mar 5 ACS 2p Jul 9 ALS 1p F53 1986 Feb 9 ACS 2p Note: includes two photographs. F54 Undated letters [n.d.] TLS 3p [n.d.] TLS 5p [n.d.] TLS 1p [n.d.] ALS 1p [n.d] ALS 2p Note: includes drawing. [n.d.] TLS 4p [n.d.] ALS 2p [n.d] ACS 2p [n.y.] [6 March] ACS 1p [n.d.] TCS 1p [n.d.] ACS 3p [n.d.] ALS 2p [n.d.] TLS 1p [n.d.] TLS 1p [n.y.] Jan 12 ALS 4p 3 Series III. Miscellaneous Publicity Contains photographs of Herlihy, flyers, programs, and theatre reviews. F55 Photographs Contains three photographs of Herlihy from 1964, 1965, and 1967. F56 Midnight Cowboy Contains a German advertisement for the film, a 1966 Dell Books flyer promoting the book, and a photocopied article in the Classical Review by Charles F. Saylor entitled "Orpheus in New York: The Classical Descent of Midnight Cowboy." F57 Theatre Contains a photocopy of an August 13, 1962 Boston Globe review of Albee's Zoo Story, a April 27, 1973 Hollywood Reporter review of Terrible Jim Fitch, a program from a Det Norske Teatret production of Blue Denim, and a photocopy of two Norwegian reviews of the play, dated February 1 and 9, 1973.
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