Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Fiene mss., 1972-2001, consist mainly of correspondence between professor Donald Mark Fiene, 1930- , and author Kurt Vonnegut, 1922- . The bulk of the correspondence is comprised of copies of Fiene's letters to Vonnegut, regarding current activities in both their lives, and often discussing literary affairs. The letters from the 1970s concern Kurt Vonnegut's meeting with his Russian translator Rita Rait in Paris and his efforts on behalf of Rait for honorary membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1979, together with photocopies of typed postcards signed by Arthur Miller and John Updike seconding her nomination. Other letters offer advice to Fiene on his literary works, as well as comments on his own projects; discuss Fiene's family life; and relate their shared struggles with depression.

Donald Mark Fiene was born in Schenectady, N.Y. He studied at Cornell University, 1947-1951, the University of Louisville (M.A., 1961), and Indiana University (Ph.D., 1974). He taught at the University of Louisville as a lecturer and instructor, 1960-1972, and as a professor of Russian at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville from 1974 until his retirement in 1995. Among his other works he published Alexander Solzhenitsyn: An International Bibliography of Writings By and About Him, 1962-1973 (Ann Arbor: Ardis, 1973).

The collection includes the originals of Vonnegut's letters to Fiene, and carbon or photocopies of Fiene's letters to Vonnegut. Also present in the collection are a photograph of Vonnegut and his Russian translator, Rita Rait, taken in Paris Oct. 28, 1972, and sent by Vonnegut to Fiene, a bumper sticker with an undated note from Vonnegut, and the photocopy of a text, "First Meeting," by Donald Fiene published in Happy Birthday, Kurt Vonnegut: A Festschrift for Kurt Vonnegut on his Sixtieth Birthday , 1982.

A finding aid is available.

Purchase. Glenn Horowitz, Bookseller. New York, NY 2002

Collection size: 170 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.