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Collection Number: CW2.5

Collection Title: Richard S. Kennedy Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1949-2000

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size 4.0 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 2,500 items)
Abstract Richard S. Kennedy was born in 1920. Kennedy's dissertation (Harvard University, 1953) on novelist Thomas Wolfe, the first to make use of Wolfe manuscripts in Harvard's Houghton Library and to examine Wolfe's literary career in depth, was published by UNC Press in 1962. Kennedy was on the faculty of the University of Rochester, 1950-1957; the University of Witchita, 1957-1964; and Temple University, 1964-1988, emeritus 1988-2002. He continued to work on Wolfe throughout his career, but also wrote extensively on e.e. cummings and Robert Browning. Kennedy died in 2002. The papers include include correspondence, writings, research notes, subject files, and other items related to Richard S. Kennedy's life-long interest in novelist Thomas Wolfe. There is correspondence beginning in 1949, that includes letters from Elizabeth Nowell, Wolfe's agent and biographer; correspondence with Edward Aswell, Wolfe's editor and executor of his estate; a 1950 letter from Malcolm Cowley; a 1959 letter from Robert Penn Warren; and letters between Kennedy and others who knew the Wolfe. Some of those letter include personal accounts of the author. There are also letters between Kennedy and other Wolfe scholars, collectors, and researchers, and materials documenting Kennedy's involvement with the Thomas Wolfe Society and with author and collector Aldo P. Magi. Also included are letters and clippings related to Kennedy's role in "Wolfegate," a debate in the early 1980s about the role of the editor in Wolfe's posthumously published works. Writings include manuscript and typescript drafts of Kennedy's articles and books on Wolfe and photocopies of manuscript and archival materials. Kennedy's handwritten research notes appear on hundreds of index cards that are arranged by subject. There are also a few subject files that Kennedy maintained.
Creator Kennedy, Richard S.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Richard S. Kennedy Papers on Thomas Wolfe (#CW2.5), North Carolina Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Ella Kennedy in 2005.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Richard S. Kennedy was born in Saint Paul, Minn., in 1920. He earned a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.A. from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1953. Kennedy's dissertation on Thomas Wolfe, based on Wolfe manuscripts in Harvard's Houghton Library, was published as The Window of Memory: The Literary Career of Thomas Wolfe (UNC Press, 1962), and was the first extensive examination of Wolfe's literary career. Kennedy was on the faculty of the University of Rochester, 1950-1957; the University of Witchita, 1957-1964; and Temple University, 1964-1988, emeritus 1988-2002. He continued to edit and write about Thomas Wolfe throughout his career, publishing The Notebooks of Thomas Wolfe (with Paschal Reeves, UNC Press, 1970), Beyond Love and Loyalty: The Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Elizabeth Nowell (UNC, 1983), among other works. Kennedy also wrote extensively on e.e. cummings and Robert Browning. He died in Marion, Pa., in 2002.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The papers of professor, author, and critic Richard S. Kennedy include include correspondence, writings, research notes, subject files, and other items related to his life-long interest in novelist Thomas Wolfe. There is correspondence beginning in 1949, that includes letters from Elizabeth Nowell, Wolfe's agent and biographer; correspondence with Edward Aswell, Wolfe's editor and executor of his estate; a 1950 letter from Malcolm Cowley; a 1959 letter from Robert Penn Warren; and letters between Kennedy and others who knew the Wolfe. Some of those letter include personal accounts of the author. There are also letters between Kennedy and other Wolfe scholars, collectors, and researchers, and materials documenting Kennedy's involvement with the Thomas Wolfe Society and with author and collector Aldo P. Magi. There are letters and clippings related to Kennedy's role in "Wolfegate," a debate in the early 1980s about the role of the editor in Wolfe's posthumously published works. Writings include manuscript and typescript drafts of Kennedy's articles and books on Wolfe and photocopies of manuscript and archival materials. Kennedy's handwritten research notes appear on hundreds of index cards that are arranged by subject. There are also a few subject files that Kennedy maintained.

Throughout the collection, Kennedy's original folder titles have, for the most part, been retained.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1949-2000.

About 800 items.

Arrangement: chronological and alphabetical. Kennedy's arrangement of these materials has, for the most part, been maintained.

Correspondence chiefly relating to Kennedy's work on Thomas Wolfe. Correspondence, 1949-1950, is about Kennedy's dissertation research and includes many letters to and from librarians and archivists regarding Wolfe letters in various respositories. During these years, Kennedy also corresponded with Aline Bernstein, Edward Aswell, and John Skally Terry, among others. Correspondence from 1959 includes several letters between Kennedy and people who knew Thomas Wolfe. Later correspondence addresses Kennedy's attempts to publish his dissertation and includes many letters between Kennedy and Edward Aswell regarding Kennedy's proposed book on Wolfe. Included are letters from Malcolm Cowley (28 December 1950) and Robert Penn Warren (21 September 1959).

Materials from the 1980s relate primarily to the publication of two volumes edited by Kennedy, Beyond Love and Loyalty: The Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Elizabeth Nowell (UNC Press, 1983) and Welcome to Our City (LSU Press, 1983), and include correspondence with editors and with the estate of Thomas Wolfe. There are also copies of contracts. Most of the correspondence from the 1990s is between Kennedy and members of the Thomas Wolfe Society.

Correspondence with author and collector Aldo P. Magi and with Elizabeth Nowell was filed separately by Kennedy. The bulk of the materials in the Magi files are photocopies and clippings, though there are several letters from Magi. The Nowell folders contain many letters from Elizabeth Nowell, Wolfe's agent from 1933 until his death in 1938, editor of a volume of Wolfe's letters, and author the first Wolfe biography. Nowell and Kennedy corresponded frequently as they worked at the same time on books about Wolfe. Letters from Nowell often include details about Wolfe's life and reports on the progress of her work. These letters also document the growing friendship between Kennedy and Nowell.

The two folders labeled "Controversy with Halberstadt" contain correspondence and clippings related to a 1980 article by John Halberstadt in the Yale Review entitled "The Making of Thomas Wolfe's Postumous Novels." Halberstadt suggested that Edward Aswell, the Harper's editor who worked on Wolfe's final two novels, took excessive liberties with the text. Halberstadt's assertions received much attention in both the scholarly and the popular press. Kennedy wrote a letter to the New York Times Book Review, published in July 1981, in defense of Aswell's methods, and the press labeled the ensuing debate "Wolfegate."

Folder 1

Correspondence, 1949 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 1

Folder 2

Correspondence, January 1950 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 2

Folder 3

Correspondence, February-December 1950 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 3

Folder 4

Correspondence, 1951-1952 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 4

Folder 5

Correspondence, 1953 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 5

Folder 6

Correspondence, 1954 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 6

Folder 7

Correspondence, 1955-1958 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 7

Folder 8

Correspondence, 1959 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 8

Folder 9

Correspondence, 1960-1979 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 9

Folder 10

Correspondence, 1980-1982 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 10

Folder 11

Correspondence with Preston Wild, 1981 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 11

Folder 12

Correspondence, 1983-1989 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 12

Folder 13

Correspondence, 1990-1997 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 13

Folder 14-17

Folder 14

Folder 15

Folder 16

Folder 17

Correspondence with Aldo P. Magi, 1984-2000 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 14-17

Folder 18

Correspondence with Elizabeth Nowell, 1949-1950 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 18

Folder 19

Correspondence with Elizabeth Nowell, 1951-1956 and undated #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 19

Folder 20-21

Folder 20

Folder 21

"Controversy with Halberstadt": Correspondence and clippings, 1973-1989 #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 20-21

Folder 22

Correspondence, drafts, and notes, undated #CW2.5, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1949-2000." Folder 22

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Writings and Related Materials.

About 700 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical.

Materials relating to Kennedy's books and articles on Thomas Wolfe. Many of Kennedy's manuscript drafts and notes are included, along with photocopies of manuscript and archival materials. There is also some correspondence. Materials relating to The Window of Memory document his efforts to secure a publisher for the book in the late 1950s and the book's acceptance and eventual publication by the UNC Press in 1962. Included is correspondence between Kennedy and UNC Press Director Lambert Davis.

Folder 23

"Afoot Without a Map in the Wisdom Collection at Harvard" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 23

Folder 24

The Autobiographical Outline for Look Homeward, Angel, 1987-1990 #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 24

Folder 25-26

Folder 25

Folder 26

Beyond Love and Loyalty #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 25-26

Folder 27

Beyond Love and Loyalty: Letters omitted from the Wolfe-Nowell correspondence #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 27

Folder 28

Book reviews #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 28

Folder 29

"From Wolfe Enthusiast to Wolfe Scholar, Part II" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 29

Folder 30

"My Remembrance of E.N.": Manuscript notes, circa 1980 #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 30

Folder 31

The Notebooks of Thomas Wolfe #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 31

Folder 32

The Notebooks of Thomas Wolfe: Paintings noted in the notebooks of Thomas Wolfe #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 32

Folder 33

"Some Problems of Literary Creativity and the Question of Brain Lateralization" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 33

Folder 34

"The Spanish Letter" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 34

Folder 35-39

Folder 35

Folder 36

Folder 37

Folder 38

Folder 39

The Starwick Episodes #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 35-39

Folder 40

"Thomas Wolfe and the Archetypal American" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 40

Folder 41

"Thomas Wolfe and the 'Enfabled Rock'" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 41

Folder 42

"Thomas Wolfe, Literature's Loss" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 42

Folder 43-46

Folder 43

Folder 44

Folder 45

Folder 46

"Welcome to Our City" #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 43-46

Folder 47

"Welcome to Our City": Talk at the Mint Theater, New York, N.Y., 10 September 2000 #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 47

Folder 48

The Window of Memory: Correspondence, 1953-1959 #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 48

Folder 49

The Window of Memory: Correspondence with UNC Press, 1960-1962 #CW2.5, Series: "2. Writings and Related Materials." Folder 49

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Research Notes and Subject Files.

About 1,000 items.

Arrangement: alphabetical.

Chiefly undated manuscript notes written by Kennedy. There are some references to folder numbers, suggesting that these may have been taken in Harvard's Houghton Library, where the majority of Thomas Wolfe's literary manuscripts are held, or in other libraries.

Folder 50

Asheville #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 50

Folder 51

Aswell, Edward #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 51

Folder 52

Braden-Hatchett Thomas Wolfe Collection #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 52

Folder 53

"Doaks" #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 53

Folder 54

From Death to Morning #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 54

Folder 55

From Death to Morning: "Only the Dead Know Brooklyn"; "Bums at Sunset" #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 55

Folder 56

Harvard University #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 56

Folder 57

Harvard University: Houghton Library exhibit on Thomas Wolfe #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 57

Folder 58

Harvard University: William Wisdom Collection of Thomas Wolfe #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 58

Folder 59

The Hills Beyond #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 59

Folder 60

"The Hound of Darkness" #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 60

Folder 61-62

Folder 61

Folder 62

Interviews #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 61-62

Folder 63

Look Homeward, Angel #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 63

Folder 64

Look Homeward, Angel: Notes on 1930 #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 64

Folder 65

Look Homeward, Angel: Royalty reports #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 65

Folder 66

"Mannerhouse" #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 66

Folder 67-72

Folder 67

Folder 68

Folder 69

Folder 70

Folder 71

Folder 72

Manuscript notes: Unlabeled #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 67-72

Folder 73-74

Folder 73

Folder 74

New York University #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 73-74

Folder 75

Nowell, Elizabeth #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 75

Folder 76

"O Lost" #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 76

Folder 77

Of Time and the River #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 77

Folder 78

Of Time and the River: Galley proofs #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 78

Folder 79

"A Passage to England" #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 79

Folder 80

Perkins, Maxwell, including typescripts of Wolfe-Perkins correspondence #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 80

Folder 81-82

Folder 81

Folder 82

Photographs #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 81-82

Folder 83

"River People"; "October Fair"; K-19 #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 83

Folder 84

Riverside Cemetery #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 84

Folder 85

Story of a Novel #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 85

Folder 86

Terry, John Skally #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 86

Folder 87-89

Folder 87

Folder 88

Folder 89

Thomas Wolfe Society, 1993-2000 #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 87-89

Folder 90

The Train and the City #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 90

Folder 91-92

Folder 91

Folder 92

University of North Carolina #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 91-92

Folder 93

The Web and the Rock #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 93

Folder 94-95

Folder 94

Folder 95

A Western Journey #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 94-95

Folder 96-98

Folder 96

Folder 97

Folder 98

Wolfe, Thomas: Articles on Thomas Wolfe #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 96-98

Folder 99

Wolfe, Thomas: Final trip and death #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 99

Folder 100

Wolfe, Thomas: Last manuscript #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 100

Folder 101

Wolfe, Thomas: Letter to Eva Needle, 13 July 1935 #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 101

Folder 102

Wolfe, Thomas: Letters #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 102

Folder 103

Wolfe, Thomas: Letters to Frederick Koch #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 103

Folder 104

Wolfe, Thomas: Manuscripts, photostat copies #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 104

Folder 105

Wolfe, Thomas: Manuscripts and photostat copies of letters collected by John Skally Terry #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 105

Folder 106

Wolfe, Thomas: Notes from later years #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 106

Folder 107

Wolfe, Thomas: Political and social notes from later years #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 107

Folder 108

Wolfe, Thomas: Typescripts #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 108

Folder 109

You Can't Go Home Again #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Folder 109

Box 4

Research notes on index cards #CW2.5, Series: "3. Research Notes and Subject Files." Box 4

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Processing Information

Processed by: Nicholas Graham, July 2006

Encoded by: Nicholas Graham, August 2006

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