The Archive in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers Now Open
The papers of writer Tom Wolfe are now available for research in the Manuscripts and Archives Division of the New York Public Library. A description of the Tom Wolfe papers, along with an index to correspondence in the collection, is available via NYPL's Archives & Manuscripts portal at archives.nypl.org/mss/22833. The collection, which was acquired by The Library in 2014, fills over 200 boxes and will be a vital resource for the study of Wolfe's writing process, his journalism-based research methods, and the creation of his hugely successful works. Wolfe's personal papers represent an important archive that will continue to be celebrated as a public resource available at NYPL.
From his beginnings as a beat reporter for the New York Herald Tribune to his best-selling books The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and The Bonfire of the Vanities, Wolfe's papers document the entirety of his celebrated career as a great American novelist and pioneer of the New Journalism. Researchers will be able to access multiple draft manuscripts of Wolfe's books and articles, along with the author's outlines, research materials, and interviews that show the creation of his most famous works and the evolution of his signature style. The collection contains a rich selection of letters from major writers, editors, and cultural icons such as Hunter S. Thompson, Jann Wenner, Gordon Lish, Gay Talese, George Plimpton, and Marshall McLuhan. Wolfe's childhood creative writing sheds light on an early interest in his eventual profession, and academic work from Washington and Lee and Yale Universities shows the development of Wolfe's unique cultural perspective. The collection also includes sketchbooks and drawings with Wolfe's humorous caricatures of New York society in the mid-20th century.
From February 13-27, The Library will display a selection of highlights from the collection. This exhibition, "Becoming The Man in the White Suit: The Tom Wolfe Papers at The New York Public Library," will be open to the public for a limited time on the third floor of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. In the Manuscripts and Archives Division, Wolfe's papers join other major 20th century archives, including the personal papers of Truman Capote and Timothy Leary, as well as the records of Wolfe's former publisher, Farrar, Straus & Giroux. If you are interested in learning more about the collection or would like to discuss an archives-based project with an archivist, fill out an online registration form or stop by Room 328.