Skip to main content

A. R. Gurney papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 728

Scope and Contents

The A. R. Gurney Papers document the life and career of American playwright and novelist A. R. Gurney and consist of correspondence, writings, printed material, and photographs dating from roughly 1947 to 2016.


  • circa 1947-2016


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 38 (digital media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 42 (audiovisual materials): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The A. R. Gurney 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

Gift of A. R. Gurney (Yale School of Drama 1958), 2004, 2012, 2016.


Organized into six series: I. Writings, 1958-1991. II. Correspondence, 1962-1978. III. Printed Material, undated. IV. Other Material, undated. V. October 2012 Acquisition, circa 1960s-2009. VI. October 2016 Acquisition, 1947-2016.


27.96 Linear Feet (43 boxes)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The A. R. Gurney Papers document the life and career of American playwright and novelist A. R. Gurney and consist of correspondence, writings, printed material, and photographs.

A. R. Gurney (1930-2017)

American author Albert Ramsdell Gurney was born on November 1, 1930 in Buffalo, New York, to Albert Ramsdell and Marion Spaulding Gurney. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Williams College (1952) and Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama (1958). The Yale School of Drama produced Gurney's first work, a musical titled Love in Buffalo, the year he graduated.

Following graduation Gurney taught English and Latin at a day school in Belmont, Massachusetts (1959-1960) and then joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Professor of Humanities (1960-1996) and Professor of Literature (1970-1996). Gurney has written a number of plays, screenplays, and novels. Children (1974), The Dining Room (1982), and Love Letters (1988) are among his best known plays. His screenplays include The House of Mirth (1972) and Sylvia (1995). Gurney's novels are: The Gospel According to Joe (1974), Entertaining Strangers (1977), The Snow Ball (1984), and Early American (1996).

Gurney married Mary Forman Goodyear on June 8, 1957. They have four children: George, Amy, Evelyn, and Benjamin.

Gurney passed away on June 13, 2017, in New York City.

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization.

The finding aid for this collection is compiled from a preliminary list for the acquisition that was created at or around the time of receipt by the library. The preliminary list was migrated to comply with current archival descriptive standards in 2007-2008. As part of the migration, modifications were made to the formatting of the list; however, the content of the list was neither modified nor verified.

As a rule, descriptive information found in the Collection Contents section is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.

Former call number: Uncat MSS 634.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the A. R. Gurney Papers
by Beinecke staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
(203) 432-2977


121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511

Opening Hours

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.