Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Corle mss., 1942-1965, consist of the papers of author Edwin Corle, 1906-1956, who was known for his realistic portrayals of Native American life in the early 20th century. After a brief career writing for radio Corle began writing numerous short stories and non-fiction pieces for magazines. In 1934 his MOJAVE: A BOOK OF STORIES was published. This was followed a year later by his first and most successful novel FIG TREE JOHN based on a Cahuilla Indian from southern California. In addition to other novels, Corle also wrote non-fiction, including books on the Grand Canyon and the Gila River. In the 1950s, Corle began what was to be his most important work, a multi-volume novel called THE CALIFORNIANS. The work was left uncompleted upon his death.

The correspondence consists of letters between Corle and his publishers, series editors, and magazine editors. An early group of letters from the 1940s were written while Corle was in the military, and deal mostly with his assignments. The majority of correspondence concerns Corle's writings in the 1950s: the technical aspects of the publishing of THE GILA: RIVER OF THE SOUTHWEST, the ideas for the proposed multi-volume series of novels THE CALIFORNIANS, as well as Corle's attempts to sell his ultimately unpublished work of popular science SPACE, TIME, AND MAN. The writings consist of Corle's stories, essays, novels and non-fiction books. Extensive holograph and typescript drafts of THE CALIFORNIANS completes the collection.

There is a box and folder list available. A finding aid is also available.

Gift. Ralph B. Sipper. Santa Barbara, CA 1997


  • Correspondence
    • Box 1
      • folder 1: 1942-1950
      • folder 2: 1951-1965
  • Writings. Arranged in alphabetical order by title. Publishing information given where known.
    • Box 1
      • folder 3-4: Billy the Kid (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1953). Novel
      • folder 5: A Book of Clowns. Book proposal
      • folder 6-7: Burro Alley (New York: Random House, 1938). Novel
      • folder 8: California Today. Non-fiction
      • folder 9: Central Park West. Story
      • folder 10: Club Absolute. Drama
      • folder 11-14: Coarse Gold (New York: Dutton, 1942). Novel
      • folder 15: Death of a Dinosaur. Non-fiction
      • folder 16: The Devil's Highway. Book proposal
      • folder 17: Duck. Story
      • folder 18: Evening at Home. Story
      • folder 19: Exhibition for Gentlemen. Outline for story or novel
      • folder 20: Fig Tree John (New York: Liveright, 1935). Novel
      • folder 21: The Fixer. Story
      • folder 22-23: Front Page Headlines. Drama
      • folder 24: The Gift. Story
      • folder 25-27: The Gila, River of the Southwest (New York: Rinehart, 1951). Non-fiction
      • folder 28: How I Became a Christmas Tree. Story
      • folder 29: Inside Information. Story
      • folder 30-32: In Winter Light (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1949). Novel
      • folder 33: Kilometer 500. Drama
      • folder 34: The King of Cambodia. Story
      • folder 35: A Law of Probability. Story
      • folder 36: Marble Palace. Story?
      • folder 37: Mr. Uxmier and Theophilus. Story
      • folder 38: The Nasty Ice Cream Man. Story
      • folder 39: No Man On Earth. Story?
    • Box 2
      • folder 1: Old Dogs. Story?
      • folder 2: The Palm of Your Hand. Ideas for a novel
      • folder 3: People on the Earth (New York: Random House, 1937). Novel
      • folder 4: Perpetual Motion. Ideas for a story or novel
      • folder 5: The Picnic. Story
      • folder 6: A Plot and a Cigarette. Story
      • folder 7: Pro and Con. Story
      • folder 8: Project for a book of short stories
      • folder 9: Project for a novel
      • folder 10: Red Velvet. Story?
      • folder 11: Seeing California. Essay?
      • folder 12: Sexual Behavior in Shakespeare's "Othello". Essay
      • folder 13: Solitaire (New York: Dutton, 1940). Drama
      • folder 14-17: Space, Time and Man. Non-fiction
      • folder 18: Speak of the Devil. Story
      • folder 19: The Terrible White Man. Story
      • folder 20: They're Having a Fiesta. Story
      • folder 21-24: Three Ways To Mecca (New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1947). Novel. Includes the script for The Man in the Dog Suit, a play in three acts, by Albert Beich and William H. Wright which was based on Three Ways To Mecca.
      • folder 25: Tungsten Over Darwin (Atlantic Monthly, 169 (May 1942):642-644). Essay
      • folder 26: The Widow (Yale Review, 39 (December 1949): 337-343). Story
      • folder 27: Yesterday. Ideas for a play
      • folder 28: Yuma. Essay
      • folder 29: Miscellaneous notes
      • folder 30-37: The Californians. Novel. Begun as the first of a multi-volume series of historical fiction, the project was left unfinished upon Corle's death.
    • Boxes 3-4: The Californians (cont.)

Collection size: 200 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.