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RESEARCH HELP > HUMANITIES AND AREA STUDIES > AMERICAN LITERARY STUDIES

American Literary Studies


Bernard De Voto Papers

The Papers

Stanford has a number of special collections that contain original manuscripts, correspondence, and other archival materials related to Bernard De Voto.

Location: Department of Special Collections, Green Library

Research Access and Use: Materials in the Department of Special Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the Special Collections' Reading Room in the Cecil H. Green Library. The Reading Room is open 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Photocopies, photographs, and microfilm can be made of some materials in the collections. For more information about the collections and access policies, please contact Special Collections by telephone at (650) 725-1022, by electronic mail at speccollref@stanford.edu or by regular mail at the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6004.


Career of Bernard De Voto (1897- ):

American writer, historian, and editor, Bernard Augustine De Voto, was born in Ogden, Utah in 1897. He graduated from Harvard in 1920 and taught English and creative writing at Northwestern University from 1922 to 1927 and Harvard University from 1929 to 1936. From 1935 until his death in 1955 he served as editor of "The Easy Chair," a column in Harper's. De Voto also served briefly as editor of the Saturday Review of Literature (1936-1938) and was the long-time literary editor of the Mark Twain Estate. In this latter role he published previously unknown Twain manuscripts and also wrote Mark Twain's America (1932) and Mark Twain at Work (1942). De Voto's novels include The Chariot of Fire (1926), The House of Sun-Goes-Down (1928), and Mountain Time (1947). De Voto is best remembered for his histories of the American West, including The Year of Decision: 1846 (1943), Across the Wide Missouri (1947), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction, and The Course of Empire (1952).

Bernard De Voto Papers, 1918-1955

Size: 63 linear ft.
Call Number: M0001
Finding Guides: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections. Electronic versions of this finding guide are also available. If you have Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher, click here to connect to the XML version on the Stanford server; if not, click here for the html version on the Online Archives of California server.
Content: Correspondence, typescripts, and galley proofs relating to 19 major works, 166 articles, 25 short fiction and nonfiction papers, broadcasts, speeches, lectures, and other papers. The correspondence (1948-55) with Harper's relates to De Voto's column "The Easy Chair." Also present are research materials De Voto used in his literary writings and in his work relating to politics, conservation and reclamation, free speech, national parks, and Western Americana. Correspondents include many of the leading persons in contemporary literature, politics, education, and the arts. Among them are: Raymond Chandler, Hart Crane, Clifton Fadiman, William Faulkner, J. Edgar Hoover, Aldous Huxley, Alfred Knopf, Henry Cabot Lodge, and many others.

Bernard De Voto Papers, 1885-1974.

Size: 6 linear ft.
Call Number: M0242
Finding Guides: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections. Electronic versions of this finding guide are also available. If you have Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher, click here to connect to the XML version on the Stanford server; if not, click here for the html version on the Online Archives of California server.
Content: Correspondence of Bernard De Voto and his wife Avis De Voto as well as letters with others, including Wallace Stegner and Carl Brandt. Also present are clippings and photographs, financial and legal papers, and other printed material.

Bernard De Voto's House of Sun-Goes-Down Papers, 1928.

Size: .25 linear ft.
Call Number: M0406
Finding Guides: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections.
Content: Original carbon typescript of the novel, The House of Sun-Goes-Down (1928), one of the early western novels to leave behind the stereotypical treatment of the West in the "cowboys and Indians" vein. Also includes a set of the letterpress galley proofs for the book and an accompanying letter from the editor.

Bernard De Voto Letters to Katherine Becker, 1919-1920

SIze: .5 linear ft. (115 items).
Call Number: M0495
Content: Primarily letters to De Voto's friend, Katherine Becker. Some were written during the summer before they left their family homes in Ogden; most were written from Cambridge, after De Voto's return to Harvard and Becker's move to the Halstead School in New York. They reflect De Voto's intensity of expectations for his own writing development and give a detailed picture of the formative years of his early twenties. Also included are some sonnets written by De Voto for Becker (1919-1920) and a carbon of a letter from Arthur Perkins (Becker's later husband) to De Voto, together with De Voto's response, 1935. There is also a letter written by Katherine Becker Perkins to Wallace Stegner, 28 April 1979, describing her relationship with De Voto.

Bernard De Voto Letters to Betty White, 1926-1929

Size: 38 letters.
Call Number: Misc 238
Content: Betty White was one of De Voto's students at Northwestern in the 1920s. She was literary and also the best friend of Avis MacVicar, whom De Voto married shortly thereafter. As a senior at Northeastern, Betty White won a College Humor contest with a novel about sororities and snobbery, and went to Hollywood to help make it into a movie.

Harper's-Bernard De Voto Correspondence, 1948-1955

Size: 5 folders.
Call Number: M0007
Finding Guides: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections.
Content: Letters between Harper's and De Voto (1948-1955) concerning his column, "Easy Chair."

Related Manuscript Collections at Stanford

Stegner, Wallace Earle, (1909-1993) Special Collections M596 The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard De Voto

Selected Biography and Criticism

Sawey, Orlan. Bernard DeVoto. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1969.
Stegner, Wallace Earle. The Uneasy Chair: A Biography of Bernard De Voto. (Garden City, N. Y. : Doubleday, 1974)
Stegner, Wallace Earle, et al. Four Portraits and One Subject: Bernard DeVoto. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1963)

 

 

 

Last modified: July 3, 2006

     
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