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At a Glance
This collection is arranged in 5 series.
The bulk of the collection consists of material for eight novels written between 1962 and 2002, as well as her autobiography and a short play ("Songs at Twilight") published in 1977. Included are publisher's correspondence, drafts, edited manuscripts, and research notes, as well as illustration and art material for some of the later novels. The majority of the revisions are Howard's own; her correspondence with her publisher appears to be limited to minor edits and proofreading. A note on the drafts: The revisions included in this collection are often fragmented. Howard apparently reused her own papers, and frequently included handwritten material interspersed with typewritten copies or new drafts written on the back of (apparently abandoned) older versions. Where there is no other apparent order, the material has been left in the order in which it arrived. The collection also includes an extensive selection of Howard's journalism and critical writing, personal correspondence, and research on Howard's activism and political work. Overall, the material is in excellent condition, with the exception of newspaper clippings and magazine articles, many of which are acidic and have been either separated or photocopied to preserve their integrity.
Using the Collection
Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Restrictions on Access
Collection has no restrictions.
This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The RBML approves permission to publish that which it physically owns; the responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.
Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Maureen Howard Papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Papers sent off-site PL 9/13/2005.
Papers processed Katie Gradowski, GSAS 2012 2009.
Finding aid written Katie Gradowski, GSAS 2012 06/--/2009.
2011-09-03 xml document instance created by Carrie Hintz
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Maureen Howard, born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was the daughter of William Kearns, an Irish immigrant and county detective for Fairfield County. Howard's early novels (Bridgeport Bus, and Before My Time) draw extensively on the influence of her own Irish-Catholic upbringing, with Bridgeport featuring prominently in subsequent works.
Howard is best known for her novels Bridgeport Bus, Natural History, and A Lover's Almanac, as well as her critical introductions to Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton. Her writing often describe individuals who are "out of place" often focusing on female characters divided between the obligations of home, career, and private life. Her work is frequently compared to Virginia Woolf and Henry James, both of whom she cites as influences. Howard was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1967; her 1978 memoir Facts of Life won the National Book Critics Circle award.
As a self-identified "gypsy teacher," Maureen Howard has held positions at Columbia, Yale, the New School for Social Research, Brooklyn College, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. In addition to her novels, Howard wrote an op-ed column "Her" in the New York Times (1979), as well as critical introductions for Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, and several collections of essays and women's fiction. She currently lives in New York City and teaches writing at Columbia University.
This collection focuses primarily on her novels, beginning with the 1962 Bridgeport Bus and ending with her 2001 collection Big as Life; it also includes a broad representation of journalism, essays, and teaching materials through this period.