Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Cornell Woolrich papers, 1958-1964

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection contains primarily articles and manuscripts by the crime writer Cornell Woolrich.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#1379
Bib ID 4079630 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Woolrich, Cornell, 1903-1968
Title Cornell Woolrich papers, 1958-1964
Physical Description 2 linear feet (4 document boxes)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in two series.

Description

Summary

The bulk of the collection consists of drafts of articles, manuscripts, and plays. There is also a small amount of correspondence and personal items.

  • Series I: Subject Files, 1934-1968

    This small series holds correspondence between Cornell Woolrich and his friend William Thailing. The letters span the bulk of Woolrich's life. Of interest are several cancelled checks made out to Woolrich as payment for twelve stories, including his first story in a pulp magazine.

  • Series II: Writings, 1937-1960

    Series II contains drafts of several novels, plays, and a run of short stories. There are also portions of Woolrich's unpublished "autobiography."

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located on-site.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Cornell Woolrich papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material at Columbia

Frederic Dannay Papers, 1920-1982 Columbia University, Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Ownership and Custodial History

Bequest of Cornell Woolrich, 1971 & 1972.

Purchase, 2010.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Manuscripts Entered in AMC 12/05/1990.

Papers processed Lea Osborne 2010 July.

Papers cataloged Lea Osborne 2010 July.

Box 4 added by Patrick Lawlor 2020 November

Revision Description

2009-06-26 File created.

2010-07-13 xml document instance created by Lea Osborne.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Scripts (documents) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Crime writing Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Detective and mystery stories Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gay authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Irish, William, 1903-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Recluses as authors Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Woolrich, Cornell, 1903-1968 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical / Historical

Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich was born on December 14, 1903 in New York City to Genero and Claire (neé Attalic) Hopley-Woolrich. In 1907 the family moved to Mexico and Genero and Claire divorced soon after. Cornell stayed with his father in Mexico for the duration of his childhood. As a teenager, he returned to the United States and lived with his mother, his aunt, and his grandfather on West 113th street. Cornell attended DeWitt Clinton High School and went on to attend Columbia University. He would have graduated in 1925, but dropped out his senior year.

Upon leaving school, Woolrich had a brief marriage to Gloria (Violet Virginia) Blackton. Woolrich befriended Blackton and her sister, Marion. After a few short dates, they married on December 6, 1930. A month later, Woolrich disappeared. While he was gone Gloria Blackton discovered his diary and realized that he had been having daily affairs with men throughout their marriage. She quickly divorced him. Woolrich moved back in with his mother and lived with her in the Hotel Marseilles until she died in 1957.

Although he was a guarded and mysterious individual, Woolrich was also a prolific author writing crime and suspense novels and short stories. Many of his works were adapted into films, radio and television plays. He is perhaps most known for his 1942 short story "It Had to be Murder" which was adapted into the Hitchcock directed classic, Rear Window. Woolrich also wrote under the pen name of William Irish.

He continued to write his whole life, however, he became even more of a recluse after his mother died. Woolrich stayed in his hotel room until he died in 1968. There is very little information about his personal life and the information that exists may or may not be true. Woolrich wrote an autobiography (unpublished), yet he sensationalized much of it and in some cases fabricated complete parts of it.

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Series I: Subject Files, 1934-1968

This small series holds correspondence between Cornell Woolrich and his friend William Thailing. The letters span the bulk of Woolrich's life. Of interest are several cancelled checks made out to Woolrich as payment for twelve stories, including his first story in a pulp magazine.



Box 1 Folder 1 Checks, 1934-1940


Box 1 Folder 2 Correspondence, 1952-1958, 1968, 1952-1958, 1968


Box 1 Folder 3 Last Will and Testament, 1961-1965


Box 1 Dodd, Mead, and Co. Correspondence and Contracts, 1956-1958

Series II: Writings, 1937-1960

Series II contains drafts of several novels, plays, and a run of short stories. There are also portions of Woolrich's unpublished "autobiography."


Blues of a Lifetime


Box 1 Folder 4 "Remington Portable NC69411,", undated


Box 1 Folder 5 "The Poor Girl,", undated


Box 1 Folder 6 "Even God Felt the Depression" and "President Eisenhower's Speech,", undated


Box 1 Folder 7 "The Maid Who Played the Races," undated (notes), undated


Box 1 Folder 8 Cover Charge, undated (play), undated


Box 1 Folder 9 to 10 Hotel Room , undated, (2 Folders)


I Was Waiting for You


Box 1 Folder 11 "I Was Waiting for You,", undated


Box 1 Folder 12 "New York Blues" and "Two Lives,", undated



Box 2 Folder 1 Into the Night--Notes, 1950s


Box 2 Folder 2 Into the Night--Draft, 1950s


King Features Syndicated Articles


Box 2 Folder 3 "The Murderer's Story,", 1937


Box 2 Folder 4 "Endicott's Girl,", 1938


Box 2 Folder 5 "Murder Does Its Homework,", 1941


Box 2 Folder 6 "Double-Life,", 1943


Box 2 Folder 7 "Death Wins the Sweepstakes,", 1947 October 6


Box 2 Folder 8 "Mystery in Room 913,", 1947 October 13


Box 2 Folder 9 "Death Holds the Downbeat,", 1947 November


Box 2 Folder 10 "Accessory to Murder,", 1948


Box 2 Folder 11 "The Case of the Body in Grant's Tomb,", 1949 January


Box 2 Folder 12 "Case of the Lying Son,", 1949 November


Box 2 Folder 13 "Murder before the Camera,", 1955


Box 2 Folder 14 "Murder in the Dark Blue Night,", 1956


Box 2 Folder 15 "The Corpse in the Statue of Liberty,", 1957


Box 2 Folder 16 The Loser , undated


Box 2 Folder 17 Miscellaneous Fragments, undated


Box 2 Folder 18 The Moon of Montezuma , [1949-1960]



Box 3 Folder 1 Night Has a Thousand Eyes--Part I, 1940s


Box 3 Folder 2 Night Has a Thousand Eyes--Part II, 1940s



Box 4 Nine Nights in a New York Hotel. Printed book, with holograph corrections. New York, late 1950s, 1 volume

This is Cornell Woolrich's own copy of Hotel Room, as published by Random House in 1958, with his manuscript changes to the book. Acquired with the book are typescripts of two new stories that Woolrich intended to have included in a new, never published edition: Episode 2, "The Fiancee without Future (1900)," and Episode 3, "The Fault-Finder (1915)." Woolrich changed the title of the book and the titles of each chapter, created a new table of contents with the two new stories, and changed "Cornell Woolrich" to "William Irish," one of his pseudonyms. The Random House publication does not include two of the stories listed in the typescript shown below: Chapter 7, "The Night of May 12th, 1935," and Chapter 8, "The Night of September 20th, 1937."



Box 3 Folder 3 Somebody Else's Life, 1958 (television play), 1958


Box 3 Folder 4 Wardrobe Trunk, 1958 (radio play), 1958


Waltz into Darkness


Box 3 Folder 5 Part I, 1940s


Box 3 Folder 6 Part II, 1940s


Box 3 Folder 7 Part III, 1940s