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John P. Marquand collection

Call Number: YCAL MSS 48

Scope and Contents

The John P. Marquand Collection contains manuscripts of books, essays, short stories, addresses, lectures, speeches, and book reviews, as well as business correspondence, research material, biliographical material, biographical material, and photographic material that document the life and career of John P. Marquand. The material spans the years 1922 to 1973, with the bulk falling between 1930 and 1960.

The papers are housed in fifty-two boxes and are divided into three series. The John P. Marquand Papers are by far the largest series in the collection. Brandt & Brandt Papers and Stephen Birmingham Papers make up the rest of the collection. Oversize material is placed at the end.

Yale acquired Marquand's manuscripts in Series I through the intervention of Wilmarth S. Lewis, a 1918 graduate of Yale and generous benefactor to his alma mater. Lewis was reading H. M. Pulham, Esquire when he came upon the passage where Harry Pulham was returning from New York to Boston at the time his father was dying. He had been working for a tough westerner in the advertising business and the western friend was with him. When they got off the train in New Haven to smoke a cigarette, the western friend said "You know, I have always really thought you should have been a Yale man," which shocked Pulham. At this moment Lewis sat down and wrote Marquand a note, and asked him if he would consider giving the manuscript of that novel to Yale. Box 5, folder 93 contains Marquand's reply to Lewis's request. Over the next twenty years practically all of Marquand's literary manuscripts were transferred to Yale.

Series I, John P. Marquand Papers (Boxes 1-37), covers the period 1924-59 and is divided into two subseries: Books and Shorter Works. The Books subseries contains drafts for the majority of Marquand's book-length works, from his first novel, The Unspeakable Gentleman (1922) to his last, Timothy Dexter, Revisited (1960). Marquand's reputation as a novelist was made with The Late George Apley (1937), a Pulitzer Prize winner which was later made into a play and film. Drafts for both the novel and the play are found in Boxes 6-8. Occasionally there is correspondence relating to specific book titles between Marquand or his literary agents and publishers. Box 8, folder 159 contains correspondence between Marquand and George S. Kaufman, who collaborated with the author in adapting The Late George Apley for the stage.

Research material for Prince and Boatswain (1915), Marquand's first literary publication, is found in Box 17, folders 341-42. The inscrutable Mr. Moto, Marquand's mystery crime solver, is represented by Mercator Island (1942) and Mr. Moto Is So Sorry (1938). Other major works include B. F.'s Daughter (1946), H. M. Pulham, Esquire (1941), Melville Goodwin, USA (1951), Point of No Return (1949), Sincerely, Willis Wayde (1955), Wickford Point (1939), and Women and Thomas Harrow (1958). A number of these works appeared first in serial form in popular magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Collier's before they were published in book form. Occasionally the serialized version appeared under a title different than the published title. Last Laugh, Mr. Moto (1942), for instance, was first published in Collier's as Mercator Island.

The next subseries, Shorter Works, is divided into five section: Essays and Short Stories; Addresses, Lectures, and Speeches; Book Reviews; Letters to the Editor; and Contributions to Works of Others. Essays and Shorts Stories primarily represent drafts of Marquand's shorter works published in magazines. Addresses, Lectures, and Speeches constitute drafts of his public-speaking engagements, a considerable number of which are found under the headings Harvard University speeches and Tuesday Night Club papers. The Tuesday Night Club was a literary institution in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Marquand took his membership in this organization quite seriously and worked on these papers with as much care and diligence as he did on his novels. The remainder of the subseries is made up of book reviews, letters to the editor, and contributions to works of others.

Marquand discovered relatively early in his career that he worked best by dictating his ideas directly to his secretary in the mornings and correcting the typed copy in the afternoons. Consequently, there are very few holograph drafts in the collection.

Series II, Brandt & Brandt Papers (Boxes 38-43), provides insight into the professional aspects of John P. Marquand's career, as they represent information generated and/or collected by Brandt & Brandt, his literary agents. These papers were donated to the Beinecke Library by Carol Brandt in the 1960s and early '70s. They cover the period 1922-70 and are divided into three subseries: Business Correspondence, Writings, and Other Papers. Business Correspondence consists of four boxes of letters of Marquand, Carl and Carol Brandt, and magazine editors, publishers, and film agents and producers between 1948 and 1970. Representative correspondents include: Harry Sions of Holiday, G. M. White and Alice Conkling of Ladies' Home Journal, Andrew Crichton of Sports Illustrated, William Jay Gold of Life, Stuart Rose of The Saturday Evening Post, Alfred McIntyre and Cammann Newberry of Little, Brown & Company, Ray Stark, Hollywood film agent, and the law offices of Margulies & Heit. Topics discussed include: negotiations concerning publication of short stories and novels, payments and royalties, film adaptations, suggested story topics, and legal issues relating to publication. Writings primarily contains advertisements, book reviews, and synopses of Marquand's books as well as printed versions of essays and short stories collected by the Brandt & Brandt office. Other Papers is composed of bibliographical material, biographical material, photographic negatives, and works on Marquand. Box 43, folders 957-58 contain a published bibliography of Marquand's works compiled by Professor William White in 1949-50.

Series III, Stephen Birmingham Papers (Boxes 44-49), consists of the working papers and drafts of Stephen Birmingham's biography of John P. Marquand. Early in his writing career, Birmingham chose Brandt & Brandt as his literary agents, who later introduced him to John Marquand a few years before his death. These papers reveal the close working relationship between Birmingham and Carol Brandt in the late 1960s and early '70s during which time Birmingham was working on the biography. Much of the research material was, in fact, given to Birmingham by Carol Brandt, along with material from other close friends of Marquand. In the early 1970s Birmingham donated the papers to the Beinecke Library.

The papers cover the period 1930-73 and are divided into five subseries: Research Material, Interviews, The Late John Marquand, Photographs, and Business Correspondence. Research Material is made up of files on individuals and consists primarily of correspondence, notes, and character sketches. Prominent individuals in this subseries include: Stephen Birmingham, Charles B. Blanchard, Carl and Carol Brandt, Constance Fiske, Robert Hale, Charles and Anne Lindbergh, Adelaide and John Marquand, Herbert R. Mayes, Cammann Newberry, Stuart Rose, Harry Sions, Ray Stark, and King Vidor. Most of the correspondence in this subseries provides some kind of biographical information about Marquand. Interviews is composed of transcriptions, notes, and cassette tapes of interviews with Carol Brandt and King Vidor by Stephen Birmingham. The Late John Marquand consists of the drafts of Birmingham's biography, advertisements, publicity, book reviews, and fan mail. Illustrations used in the book are found in the Photographs subseries. Business Correspondence is made up primarily of letters between Birmingham and Carol Brandt and reveals her collabration with the author on this project. These letters contain anecdotes and other information used in the biography. One interesting aspect covered in this series is the battle between Marquand's children by his first wife, John P. Marquand, Jr. and Christina ("Tina") Marquand Welch, and Birmingham. Johnny and Tina were strongly opposed to Birmingham's biography. Birmingham was supported, however, by Carol Brandt and other friends of Marquand, such as Conney Fiske. The authorized biography was written by Millicent Bell of Boston University. Box 49, folder 1073d contains an exchange of letters between Christina Marquand Welch and Stephen Birmingham in which they express their feelings of opposition to the other's position following the publication of The Late John Marquand.

The Oversize section contains primarily printed versions of Marquand's book serializations, essays, and short stories, as they appeared in various popular magazines from the Brandt & Brandt Papers.


  • 1922-1973 (inclusive)
  • Majority of material found within 1930 - 1960


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The John P. Marquand Collection 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.

Box 52 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was formed from gifts from John P. Marquand, Carol Brandt, and Stephen Birmingham between 1941 and 1973.


22.52 Linear Feet (52 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


The John P. Marquand Collection contains manuscripts of books, essays, short stories, addresses, lectures, speeches, and book reviews, as well as business correspondence, research material, bibliographical material, biographical material, and photographic material.

JOHN P. MARQUAND (1893-1960)

John Phillips Marquand, leading American writer of the twentieth century, was born on November 10, 1893, to Philip and Margaret Fuller Marquand, both descendants of old New England families. Although he was born in Wilmington, Delaware, and lived in Rye, New York, until he was fourteen, Marquand considered himself a New Englander. He was educated at the Newburyport (Massachusetts) High School and at Harvard University, from which he was graduated in 1915. From 1915 to 1917, he was assistant magazine editor of the Boston Transcript. After a brief period as advertising copywriter in 1920 and 1921, he became a novelist and published The Unspeakable Gentleman (1922). Marquand was a frequent contributor of short stories to several popular magazines of the day, most notably The Saturday Evening Post, Cosmopolitan, Collier's, and Good Housekeeping. Many of his novels were also serialized in shortened form in these magazines.

A recurring theme in many of Marquand's works concerns the life and times of the middle and upper classes in twentieth-century New England--particularly Boston--as illustrated in The Late George Apley (1937), Wickford Point (1939), and H. M. Pulham, Esquire (1941). Marquand also wrote several mysteries featuring the Oriental detective Mr. Moto. Film versions of the Mr. Moto mysteries enjoyed great popularity. Marquand's writings were widely received and sold well. In addition, many of his works were successfully adapted for stage and screen.

In 1922, Marquand married Christina Sedgwick. From this marriage, which lasted thirteen years, a son and a daughter were born. In 1936, Marquand married Adelaide Hooker. Two sons and a daughter were born of this union, which also ended in divorce in 1958.

John P. Marquand died in his sleep of a heart attack on July 16, 1960 in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Guide to the John P. Marquand Collection
Under Revision
by T. Michael Womack
May 1990
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.