unc logo

Collection Number: CW3

Collection Title: Edward C. Aswell Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1947-1958

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.


expand/collapse Expand/collapse Collection Overview

Size About 2300 items
Abstract Edward C. Aswell was born in Nashville, Tenn., in 1900. After graduating from Harvard University in 1926, he joined the staff of the Forum, and, in 1930, became assistant editor of The Atlantic Monthly. In 1935, Aswell moved to Harper & Brothers as an assistant editor of general books, later becoming editor-in-chief. While assistant editor, Aswell persuaded Thomas Wolfe to sign with Harper & Brothers. Before Wolfe left on his trip through the western United States during which he acquired the illness that led to his death, he turned over to Aswell a large amount of manuscript material. After Wolfe's death in September 1938, Aswell began editing the material Wolfe left behind. The result of this work was two posthumous novels, The Web and the Rock (1939) and You Can't Go Home Again (1941), and one volume of short stories, The Hills Beyond (1941). Aswell moved from Harper & Brothers to the trade-book department of McGraw-Hill and then to Doubleday & Company, where he was senior editor. He succeeded Maxwell Perkins as administrator of the Thomas Wolfe Estate in 1947. Aswell died in 1958. The collection documents Edward C. Aswell's responsibilities as administrator of the estate of Thomas Wolfe. Most of the correspondence consists of letters to and from members of the Wolfe family, especially Wolfe's brother Fred Wolfe and sister Mabel Wolfe Wheaton. The correspondence relates mostly to estate matters, but there are also some personal family letters. There are also letters requesting permission to publish Wolfe materials, requesting access to the Wolfe manuscripts at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, requesting tickets to the New York performance of Look Homeward, Angel, and about the publication of Aswell's article in the Saturday Review of Literature (6 October 1951) entitled "Thomas Wolfe Did Not Kill Maxwell Perkins." Also included are two copies of that article and one typed carbon copy of "An Introduction to Thomas Wolfe," written by Aswell for the abridged edition of Look Homeward, Angel that was published by Signet Books of the New American Library.
Creator Aswell, Edward C. (Edward Campbell), 1900-1958.
Language English
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
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 Edward C. Aswell Papers (#CW3), North Carolina Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Given by Edward C. Aswell in three separate gifts between 1948 and 1958.
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.
Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

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.

These and related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Edward C. Aswell was born in Nashville, Tenn., on 9 October 1900. He attended Harvard University, graduating in 1926. While at Harvard he edited The Crimson, the student newspaper. After graduation, he joined the staff of the Forum, and, in 1930, he became assistant editor at The Atlantic Monthly. In 1935, Aswell moved to Harper & Brothers as an assistant editor of general books. He later became editor-in-chief.

While he was an assistant editor, Aswell persuaded Thomas Wolfe, who was looking for a new publisher, to sign with Harper & Brothers. However, Wolfe died before he could complete another book. Before Wolfe left on his trip through the western United States during which he acquired the illness that ultimately led to his death, he turned over to Aswell a large amount of manuscript material. After Wolfe's death in September 1938, Aswell was assigned the task of editing the material Wolfe had left behind. The result of this work was two posthumous novels, The Web and the Rock (1939) and You Can't Go Home Again (1941), and one volume of short stories, The Hills Beyond (1941).

Aswell moved from Harper & Brothers to the trade-book department of McGraw-Hill and then to Doubleday & Co., where he was senior editor. He succeeded Maxwell Perkins as administrator of the Thomas Wolfe Estate in 1947. Aswell died on 5 November1958.

Back to Top

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection documents Edward C. Aswell's responsibilities as administrator of the estate of Thomas Wolfe. Most of the correspondence consists of letters to and from members of the Wolfe family, especially Wolfe's brother Fred Wolfe and sister Mabel Wolfe Wheaton. The correspondence relates mostly to estate matters, but there are also some personal family letters. There are also letters requesting permission to publish Wolfe materials, letters requesting access to the Wolfe manuscripts at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, letters requesting tickets to the New York performance of Look Homeward, Angel, and letters about the publication of Aswell's article in the Saturday Review of Literature (6 October 1951) entitled "Thomas Wolfe Did Not Kill Maxwell Perkins." Also included are two copies of that article and one typed carbon copy of "An Introduction to Thomas Wolfe," written by Aswell for the abridged edition of Look Homeward, Angel that was published by Signet Books of the New American Library.

Back to Top

Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Edward C. Aswell Papers on Thomas Wolfe, 1947-1958.

Back to Top

Processing Information

Processed by: Frances Weaver, A. Hope Shull, Nicholas Graham, 1998

Encoded by: Benjamin Bromley, January 2009

Back to Top