Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Calder & Boyars mss., 1939-1980, consist primarily of the papers of the British publishing firm of Calder & Boyars Ltd. Also included are the papers of its predecessor John Calder (Publishers) and the personal papers of John Calder, 1927- . A few personal papers of Marion Boyars, 1928-1999, are also present.

Calder began publishing under his own name in 1949. In 1958 Marion Lobbenberg (later married to Arthur Boyars) joined him to learn the business and in 1960 invested in the company and joined Calder as a partner. The company's name then changed to Calder & Boyars Ltd. When the two split in 1975 Calder revived the name of his former company John Calder Publishers.

Calder & Boyars Ltd. and its predecessor were responsible for publishing over 4000 titles of fiction, poetry, theatre and philosophy. Authors and playwrights represented in the collection include: Fernando Arrabal, life-long friend Samuel Beckett, William S. Burroughs, Robert Creeley, Marguerite Duras, Paul Foster, Aidan Higgins, Ivan Illich, Eugene Ionesco, Henry Miller, René de Obaldia, Robert Pinget, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Nathalie Sarraute, Alexander Trocchi, Peter Weiss as well as many others from Great Britain, America, central and western Europe. Published titles included such controversial books as Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, William S. Burroughs's Dead Fingers Talk. The publication of Hubert Selby's Last Exit to Brooklyn resulted in charges of obscenity by the British government. Initially losing the case Calder & Boyars finally won the appeal two years later. Many of the papers related to this case are included in the collection.

Besides publishing, John Calder was also responsible for organizing literary conferences and creating Ledlanet Nights, a music and opera festival. One result of the obscenity controversy was his founding of the Defence of Literature and the Arts Society. He was a candidate for Parliament in 1970 and 1974 and a candidate for European Parliament in 1979.

The collection contains general correspondence concerning the publishing business as well as correspondence throughout the collection with authors, translators and other publishers. Nearly all aspects of the production of a book are represented in the collection: original manuscripts, drafts, galleys, book jacket designs, printing and binding information, printer's blocks, estimates and orders, etc. Miscellaneous materials, include those relating to The Defence of Literature and the Arts Society, Independent Publishers Group, and the Frankfurt Book Fairs. Office files, writings by Calder, and papers of family-owned businesses are also present.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. General Correspondence; II. Author/Translator; III. Book Production; IV. Book Production (General); V. Publishers; VI. Rejects; VII. Miscellaneous; and, VIII. Financial.

Purchase. 1985

Collection size: 250,000 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.