Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Booth, W. mss., 1958-1998, consist mainly of correspondence between Wayne Clayson Booth, 1921-2005, and Wright Marion Morris, 1910-1998. Wayne C. Booth was born on February 22, 1921 in American Fork, Utah. He received his B.A. from Brigham Young University in 1944, and both his Master's (1947) and Ph.D. (1950) from the University of Chicago. He taught at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, Earlham College in Indiana and at the University of Chicago, where he was a professor and dean. Booth has published several works, including The Rhetoric of Fiction, A Rhetoric of Irony and Critical Understanding: The Powers and Limits of Pluralism. He also co-founded and co-edited the quarterly Critical Inquiry. He retired from the University of Chicago in 1992. Wright Morris was born in Central City, Nebraska on January 6, 1910 and died in Mill Valley, California on April 25, 1998. He had a career as both a writer and photographer, as well as being on the faculty of California State University, San Francisco from 1962-1975. His awards and honors include two Guggenheim fellowships in photography, 1942 and 1946, and one in literature in 1954; a National Book Award, 1957, for The Field of Vision; an American Book Award, 1981, for Plains Song, and a Life Achievement Award, National Endowment for the Arts in 1986. His photographs have been featured in exhibitions in San Francisco, New York, and Nebraska.

The bulk of the correspondence is comprised of letters and postcards from Morris to Booth, regarding current activities in both their lives, often about their various writing projects. The collection includes several carbon copies of letters written by Booth to Wright Morris. Other items include an untitled writing by Booth and several by Morris: "The Artist and his Audience," "The Origin of a Species – Time Past" and "Time Present." Completing the collections are four color photographs of Morris and his wife, Josephine, and a folder of clippings and tear sheets of articles by or about Wright Morris, including a copy of his obituary that appeared in the April 29, 1998 edition of the New York Times.

An inventory to the correspondence is available.

Acquired: 2000

Collection size: 147 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.