Skip to main content

George Whitmore papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 274
Scope and Contents
The George Whitmore Papers consists of the literary papers of the poet, playwright, critic, novelist, and freelance writer George Davis Whitmore. The collection primarily contains his writings and supporting research files, although there is a small amount of professional correspondence and a few personal papers present. Whitmore's writings span his academic years through his career as a freelance journalist, but nearly half of the collection contains his creative writings, many of which were not published during his lifetime. Whitmore was a member of the Violet Quill group of gay male writers, and most of his literary works reflect his close connection with contemporary gay culture in tone and subject, particularly his AIDS-related writings.

With the exception of one letter from the author to his sister and one to his friend James Ross (Jay) Smith, the collection does not contain personal or family correspondence, health or financial files, daily planners, or any information related to Whitmore's successful human rights lawsuit against the Northern Dispensary. Therefore, the small group of journal entries in Series I are noteworthy for providing the collection's only window on Whitmore's daily activities and inner thoughts.

Among his literary contributions were extensive published interviews with authors William S. Burroughs, Martin Duberman, Tennessee Williams, and Edmund White, and the singing group Labelle (Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendryx, and Sarah Dash), in addition to AIDS patients and care givers. In his fiction and non-fiction work, Whitmore covered topics of relevance to the gay community, and the papers reveal his working methods and resources for his success in both genres.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.

Original computer disks are restricted. Copies of electronic files are available through Access Services. Surrogates of all audio recordings are available within the collection.

Boxes 20-21: Restricted fragile material. Reference copies available. Consult access services for further information.
Conditions Governing Use
The George Whitmore Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Michael Cantor on the Ezra Pound Archive Fund, 1996.

The Whitmore archive was stored by Canter between Whitmore’s death in 1989 and transfer of the archive to the library in 1996. According to Canter, Whitmore’s “early Kaypro” computer was discarded in 1990 or 1991.
The collection is organized into six series: I. Personal Papers (1966-1995); II. Writings: Fiction (1959-1989); III. Writings: Non-Fiction, General (before 1967-1988); IV. Writings on AIDS (1984-1989); V. Subject Files (1973-1988); VI. Electronic Files (1981-1986).
1959 - 1995
Majority of material found within 1967 - 1989
9.88 Linear Feet (21 boxes)
Related Names
Whitmore, George, 1945-1989
Language of Materials