William Anthony Parker White, better known under his pseudonym Anthony Boucher, has since his death in 1968 achieved iconic status as a writer, editor, book reviewer, and critic of mystery, science fiction, and fantasy literature during the mid–1930s to late–1960s. The Mystery Writers of America three times bestowed upon Boucher its highest honor, the Edgar, in the field of criticism while the eponymous Bouchercon, an annual convention held since 1970 of writers, publishers, and fans of mystery and detective fiction, continues to ensure his immortality in the field. The White mss. in the Lilly Library contains an estimated 30,000 items ranging from Boucher’s editorial and personal correspondence with now legendary writers (Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, Arthur C. Clarke, Philip K. Dick, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson) to his own script work for radio (Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen), television (Kraft Suspense Theater), and print anthologies like Best Detective Stories of the Year and A Treasury of Great Science Fiction. In addition to manuscripts for many of his novels (Nine Times Nine, 1940), the collection also contains Boucher’s translations for works by Pierre Boileau, Jorge Luis Borges, and Belgian mystery writer Georges Simenon. Of special interest are the transcripts of interviews with noted science fiction writers (Poul Anderson, Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein, Rod Serling) conducted for a Playboy magazine panel discussion moderated by Boucher entitled, “1984 and Beyond.” The final text for the discussion was published in two parts in Playboy (July & August 1963).
A brief description for the White mss. is available at http://www.indiana.edu/~liblilly/lilly/mss/html/white.html. A more detailed inventory for the collection including a partial list of correspondents, a list of writings (articles, short stories, scripts, screenplays, translations) is available in the Reading Room of the Lilly Library.
The Lilly Library also holds the Mystery Writers of America mss. Access to this largely uncataloged collection requires advance notice. Please contact the Curator of Manuscripts for additional information (liblilly [at] indiana.edu).
—David K. Frasier, Reference Librarian, Lilly Library