Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Henderson mss., 1975-2005, consist primarily of the papers and manuscripts of author and editor Bill Henderson. Born April 5, 1941 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, William Charles Henderson attended Hamilton College and pursued graduate studies briefly at both Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. He and his uncle Howard Galloway started the small publishing house Nautilus Books in 1970, which then published Henderson's first novel The Galapagos Kid under the pseudonym Luke Walton. Neither the novel nor the publishing house proved successful. In 1973 Henderson launched the Pushcart Press with The Publish it Yourself Handbook-Literary Tradition and How-To Without Commercial or Vanity Publishers, compiled and edited by him. The handbook was not only successful but has seen several reprintings over the years. He started the Pushcart Prize series in 1976. This annual anthology that celebrates small presses and little magazines and their writers has continued without interruption. In 1982 Henderson started the Editors' Book Award for overlooked manuscripts. In this program he asks editors at commercial houses to nominate manuscripts they were not able to publish because of financial pressure. He then chooses one from these nominations and publishes it by Pushcart Press. Over the years several selections published in this series have been reprinted in mass market and trade paperback editions, occasionally by the very commercial house that had rejected them the first time around. In addition to his editing and publishing work, Henderson has also written several volumes of memoirs, essays and book reviews for the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and elsewhere, and has been a visiting lecturer at several colleges and summer writing programs.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Pushcart; and, III. Writings. An inventory is available.

The correspondence from authors, editors and poets is primarily concerned with letters of nomination for the Pushcart Prize anthologies. Series II consists primarily of form letters, clippings of reviews and ads, and printed brochures and announcements relating to the Pushcart Prize, as well as materials regarding the trademark registration of the pushcart, a history of the Pushcart Press, The Editors' Book Award, and reviews and articles about the Press.

Series III consists of manuscripts, correspondence and reviews, etc. of writings and works written, edited, or published by Bill Henderson.

Purchase. 2005; Additions. Purchase. 2007

Collection size: 5,000 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.