"There is no secret about my place of birth," blustered Evelyn Waugh in a 1948 memorandum to Time magazine, "but I refuse to answer impertinent questions on the telephone from unknown young women on Sunday evenings." The corrected typescript of this characteristic effusion is one of the items recently acquired from the extensive Waugh collection of Ransom Center Advisory Council member Sam Radin.
The most significant item in the collection, a gift from Mr. Radin, is the suppressed pamphlet An Open Letter to His Eminence the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster (1933). Waugh wrote the booklet as a reply to Catholic critics of his controversial novel Black Mischief. At the time the novelist was pursuing an ecclesiastical annulment of his first marriage, and he was convinced to withdraw the Open Letter from circulation. Perhaps six copies survived; the pamphlet, however, became so scarce that Waugh had to purchase one for his own library in the 1950s. Today, this very copy is the only one known to exist. It now joins the original manuscript of the pamphlet already at the Ransom Center. The new arrival also completes the collection of Waugh's separately published works at the Center.
Other items acquired from Radin's library include several letters by Waugh and proof copies of Waugh novels, including a bound, corrected proof of A Handful of Dust and galleys of the American edition of his masterpiece, Brideshead Revisited.
Other recent acquisitions include:
- A large collection of manuscript materials and photographs related to Henry Miller, including his earliest letters known to survive, which were written to his first wife, Beatrice Wickens, between 1915 and 1925. The collection also includes, among other items, Henry Miller's "Dream Book," the last unpublished book-length manuscript he wrote during his Paris years.
- A substantial addition to the archive of James Salter, including extensive correspondence with two of Salter's closest friends and materials for the books Last Night, There and Then, and Life Is Meals.
- A unique print from a snapshot Richard Avedon took of Truman Capote in 1967, when Capote returned to Holcomb, Kansas, for the shooting of the film In Cold Blood. The image depicts Capote in a dimestore, holding a devil mask to his face. Capote gave the print to Alvin Dewey, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent who led the investigation of the Clutter murders, in gratitude for his assistance with research for Capote's book.