Lilly Library Manuscript Collections

WHITE MSS.

The White mss., ca. 1932-1969, consist of the correspondence, writings, and memorabilia of critic, editor, and writer William Anthony Parker (W.A.P.) White, 1911-1968. Better known by his pseudonym Anthony Boucher, White was born in Oakland, California, the only child of two physicians. He attended college in Southern California, graduating from the University of Southern California in 1932, then obtained an M.A. in German from the University of California at Berkeley. He initially planned to teach languages but turned to writing plays. Eventually he moved on to writing for newspapers, as theater and music critic for the Los Angeles based United Progressive News.

After settling in Berkeley with his wife Phyllis, White successively—sometimes simultaneously—served as mystery book editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, contributor and reviewer for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, creator, writer and announcer of "Golden Voices," radio KPFA, Berkeley, fantasy reviewer for the Chicago Sun-Times and New York Herald Tribune (the latter under another pseudonym, H. H. Holmes), mystery reviewer for the New York Times Book Review, editor for True Crime Detective, and reviewer for Opera News. He won the Edgar Award three times for excellence in criticism. Additionally, White authored eight books of mystery or science fiction (two of them as H. H. Holmes), compiled The Pocket Book of True Crime Stories (1941), and edited Great American Detective Stories (1945), Four and Twenty Bloodhounds (1950), the annual volumes of The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction (1952-1959), and Best Detective Stories of the Year (1963 and 1964).

Perhaps White's most enduring contribution to science fiction and fantasy writing was the founding in 1949 of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction with his friend J. Francis McComas. The two co-edited the magazine until McComas' resignation in 1954 to concentrate on his own writing. White resigned in 1958 after disagreements with the publishers, though he continued to write book reviews for the magazine. Other activities in White's career include: translator of detective and science fiction from French, Spanish, and Portuguese into English (he was an early translator of Jorge Louis Borge); writer of the Canadian Broadcasting Company's radio series' "Sherlock Holmes" and "Gregory Hood," 1945-1948; consultant for the television series "Checkmate"; and informal advisor and reference librarian to hundreds of writers, readers, and publishers in the fields of mystery and fantasy fiction. A most noteworthy posthumous recognition of his many contributions was the naming of the annual mystery fiction conventions as "Bouchercons" in 1969.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Memorabilia and Other Materials. The correspondence files are arranged alphabetically and include letters from writers, publishers, editors, friends and family, as well as considerable fan mail. Many of the letters are accompanied by carbon copies of White's replies. Some letters are in Spanish and French, with a small amount in German and Russian.

Correspondents include: Forrest J. Ackerman, Eric Ambler, Kingsley Amis, Poul Anderson, H. Richard Archer, Charlotte Armstrong, Robert Arthur, Isaac Asimov, Michael Avallone, Samm Sinclair Baker, William Stuart Baring-Gould, Jacques Barzun, John Baxter, Charles Beaumont, Rafael Bernal Jiménez, Alfred Bester, Robert A. Bloch, Jorge Luis Borges, Leigh Brackett, Ray Douglas Bradbury, William T. Brannon, Herbert Brean, Reginald Bretnor, Carter Brown, Frederic Brown, Wenzell Brown, Christopher Bush, Herb Caen, Eleanor Cameron, John Wood Campbell, C.E. Carle, John Dickson Carr, Curtis W. Casewit, Bruce Cassidy, Raymond Thornton Chandler, Leslie Charteris, John Ciardi, Arthur C. Clarke, Theodore R. Cogswell, Alexander H. Cohen, Leslie Barrett Cole, Groff Conklin, John Creasey, Kendell Foster Crossen, Avram Davidson, Basil Davenport, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Lyon Sprague De Camp, Miriam Allen DeFord, August William Derleth, Armand Deutsch, Philip K. Dick, Doris Miels Disney, Davis Dresser, David Duncan, Edward McMaken Eager, Stanley Ellin, Harlan Ellison, Clifton Fadiman, Elizabeth Fenwick, Alfred Frankenstein, Dorothy Gardiner, Earl Stanley Gardner, William Campbell Gault, Doris Wilcox Gilbert, Michael Francis Gilbert, Ronald Joseph Goulart, Dennis Howard Green, Frank Gruber, Edward T. Guymon, Jr., Howard Haycraft, Gerald Heard, Joel Walker Hedgpeth, Robert A. Heinlein, Alfred Hitchcock, Dolores Hitchens, Edward D. Hoch, Allen J. Hubin, Dorothy B. Hughes, Joseph Henry Jackson, Laurence M. Janifer, Harry Stephen Keeler, Walt Kelly, Damon Knight, Manfred B. Lee, Fritz Leiber, Willy Ley, Jess Francis McComas, Bernice (Carey) Martin, Judith Merril, Kenneth Millar, Lenore Glen Offord, Stuart Palmer, Helen Rand Parish, John Robinson Pierce, Thelwall True Proctor, Basil Rathbone, James Roosevelt, Lawrence Edmund Spivak, Vincent Starrett, Rex Todhunter Stout, Theodore Sturgeon, Lewis Madison Terman, Alfred Elton Van Vogt, William Anthony Parker White, Donald Alfred Yates.

Writings in the collection include: manuscripts of his novels; published and unpublished articles and short stories; plays and screenplays; reviews; radio and television scripts; opera program scripts; tear sheets and galleys for anthologies; manuscripts of introductions to books and articles; translations; and miscellaneous writings such as limericks, puzzles, and poetry. Also included are juvenilia and college writings. In 1962, Boucher interviewed a group of science fiction writers for a roundtable discussion to be published in Playboy Magazine. Papers relating to these interviews, including transcripts, correspondence, and even reel to reel tape recordings of phone interviews are included with the writings. This series also includes extensive clippings Boucher saved of his reviews and of reviews of his novels.

Included in Memorabilia are photographs, scrapbooks of review clippings, some financial records, printed tributes to Boucher following his death, and general family and personal records. Other materials include ephemera from the annual Bouchercons since 1969.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 1976

Collection size: 30,000 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.