The Slocum mss. is a newly processed collection of more than 100 boxes of personal papers donated by American puzzle collector, author and historian Jerry Slocum. Notable materials include: individually-indexed correspondence, featuring letters from New York Times editor of crossword puzzles Will Shortz, longtime Scientific American columnist Martin Gardner, and magician/actor Ricky Jay; records pertaining to the Slocum Puzzle Foundation, a nonprofit organization supporting the use of puzzles for educational purposes; transcripts from the “Rubik’s Cube Trial,” a highly publicized 1982 patent infringement suit in which Slocum was a key expert witness; and numerous drafts, page proofs, and accompanying research files for The Book of Ingenious & Diabolical Puzzles, The Tangram Book, Puzzles Old & New, and other Slocum-authored works. The 15 Puzzle Book, in which an exhaustive case is made for the actual inventor of the wildly popular 19th-century brainteaser, has a particularly impressive array of research materials.
Complementing The Lilly Library’s Jerry Slocum Collection of approximately 30,000 mechanical puzzles and 4,000 puzzle-related books, the Slocum mss reveal the breadth and depth of a lifelong pursuit.
—Craig S. Simpson, Lilly Library Manuscripts Archivist