E.L. Doctorow, author of such award-winning novels as Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and World’s Fair, has donated all of his papers, including all manuscripts, drafts, galleys, screenplays, memorabilia, notes and correspondence, to New York University’s Fales Library, the university’s major rare book repository. The collection will be known as the E.L. Doctorow Papers.
“This is a very rich collection,” said Marvin Taylor, director of Fales Library. “It reveals the creative process of one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century. No one, except for a handful of scholars, has ever seen these papers. It is very exciting to have them at Fales and to be able to make them available for future generations of scholars and researchers.”
Doctorow, whose most recent book City of God was published last year, has taught at NYU since 1982. He holds the Lewis and Loretta Glucksman Chair of English and American Letters at the university.
“I’ve been at this university for 19 years, and it seemed to me reasonable and appropriate to stash my papers here,” Doctorow said. “Fales will inevitably become one of the premium research libraries in the country. It is gratifying to think that these materials will be so conveniently located in the city where I have made my life.”
Carol Mandel, dean of the NYU Libraries, said, “The inventiveness, historic sweep, and New York City connections of Doctorow’s novels make this a particularly appropriate collection for Fales, which documents the history of the novel and builds on its New York City location.”
Doctorow’s books have tended to paint a portrait of New York City’s past, from the 1870s of The Waterworks through the early 1900s (Ragtime), the 1920’s and `30s (Billy Bathgate, Loon Lake and World’s Fair) into mid-century with The Book of Daniel. His most recent book City of God is set in the 1990s. He is also the author of a collection of essays, a play and screenplays. Four films have been adapted from his work, and a musical stage version of his novel Ragtime won four Tony Awards, including one for “best book of a musical.”
Doctorow’s work has received many honors including two National Book Critics Circle Awards, the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the American Book Award, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Humanities Medal, conferred by the White House.
The Fales Library at NYU comprises nearly 200,000 volumes and houses both the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, and the general special collections from the NYU Libraries. The Fales Collection itself was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton.