Skip to main content

COVID-19 Update

All Yale Library buildings and reading rooms are currently closed. Library staff working remotely continue to provide online support for research and Yale classes. Read more.

Bernard Wolfe papers

 Collection
Call Number: YCAL MSS 831

Scope and Contents

The collection includes correspondence, writings and research material, photographs, printed material, and personal papers relating to American author Bernard Wolfe. There is correspondence, including incoming and outgoing letters, with family, friends, writers, publishers, editors, and labor organizations. Individual corrrespondents include: Pearl Buck, Marcel Duhamel, Dwight MacDonald, Henry Miller, A. J. Muste, John Crowe Ranson, Harry Ross, and Wolfe's brother Albert; there is a third-party letter from Frida Kahlo to Leon Trotsky. Writings include corrected drafts of Wolfe's best-known novels, the science-fiction work, Limbo (1952), and The Great Prince Died (1959), which was based on Trotsky's assassination. Other works include an "Outline for a Study of the Role of the Negro in American Popular Culture," essays on Connecticut labor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and short fiction, some of which was published in Playboy in the 1960s. There are photographs, circa 1937, of Wolfe, Trotsky, Trotsky's wife Natalia Sedova, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Max Shachtman, and others. Printed materials include research material relating to Thomas Mann, clippings, and ephemera.

Dates

  • 1920s-1998

Creator

Language of Materials

Chiefly in English; some materials in French and German.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Box 15 (videocassettes): Use of originals is restricted. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Bernard Wolfe 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 Bernard Wolfe, 1959 and Albert Wolfe, 1990-2003.

Arrangement

Organized into thirteen groupings: I. May 1959 Acquisition. II. April 1990 Acquisition. III. May 1991 Acquisition. IV. April 1992 Acquisition. V. September 1992 Acquisition. VI. February 1993 Acquisition. VII. December 1993 Acquisition. VIII. September 1994 Acquisition. IX. December 1997 Acquisition. X. March 1998 Acquisition. XI. September 1998 Acquisition. XII. January 1999 Acquisition. XIII. January 2003 Acquisition.

Associated Materials

Sound recordings received as part of the April 1992 Acquisition were transferred to Historical Sound Recordings, Yale University Library.

Extent

6.87 Linear Feet (15 boxes)

Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10079/fa/beinecke.wolfeb

Overview

The collection includes correspondence, writings and research material, photographs, printed material, and personal papers relating to American author Bernard Wolfe. There is correspondence, including incoming and outgoing letters, with family, friends, writers, publishers, editors, and labor organizations. Individual corrrespondents include: Pearl Buck, Marcel Duhamel, Dwight MacDonald, Henry Miller, A. J. Muste, John Crowe Ranson, Harry Ross, and Wolfe's brother Albert; there is a third-party letter from Frida Kahlo to Leon Trotsky. Writings include corrected drafts of Wolfe's best-known novels, the science-fiction work Limbo (1952) and The Great Prince Died (1959), which was based on Trotsky's assassination. Other works include an "Outline for a Study of the Role of the Negro in American Popular Culture," essays on Connecticut labor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and short fiction, some of which was published in Playboy in the 1960s. There are photographs, circa 1937, of Wolfe, Trotsky, Trotsky's wife Natalia Sedova, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Max Shachtman, and others. Printed materials include research material relating to Thomas Mann, clippings, and ephemera.

Bernard Wolfe (1915-1985)

Bernard Wolfe, editor and author, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, on 28 August 1915 to Robert and Ida Gordon Wolfe. Wolfe was educated at Yale University (1935), where he was also a graduate student in 1935 and 1936, before he moved to Mexico to work as a secretary and translator for Leon Trotsky in 1937. Wolfe began his writing career as a freelance writer of novels and short stories and later worked as a screenwriter for Universal International Pictures, Tony Curtis Productions, and other film producers. During his writing career, Wolfe wrote in several genres, including biography, screenplays, pornography, and science fiction. For a time, he worked as a editor at Mechanix Illustrated magazine. His best-known novel, The Great Prince Died, which is based on Trostsky's assassination, was published in 1959. Wolfe’s other notable work was a science-fiction novel, Limbo, published by Random House in 1952.

Biographical information taken from Guide to Literary Masters & Their Works, January 2007.

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and in some instances minimal organization. Various acquisitions associated with the collection have not been merged and organized as a whole. Each acquisition is described separately in the contents list below according to month and year of acquisition.

The finding aid for this collection is compiled from individual preliminary lists for each acquisition that were created at or around the time of receipt by the library. The preliminary lists were migrated to comply with current archival descriptive standards and merged into a single file in 2007-2008. As part of the migration, modifications were made to the formatting of individual lists; however, the content of the lists 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. In February 2014, additional work was done on the collection to standardize the housing and description across acquisitions.

Former call numbers: Uncat Za Wolfe, Uncat Za Ms 133, Uncat Za Ms 187, Uncat Za Ms 229, Uncat Za Ms 263, Uncat Za File 293, Uncat Za Ms 313, Uncat Za Ms 411, Uncat Za Ms 543, Uncat Za Ms 555, Uncat Za Ms 569, Uncat Za Ms 606, and Uncat Za Ms 441.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
Title
Guide to the Bernard Wolfe Papers
Author
by Beinecke staff
Date
2007-05-16
Language of description
Finding aid written in English

Revision Statements

  • 2010-02-10: Transformed with yale.addEadidUrl.xsl. Adds @url with handle for finding aid. Overwrites @url if already present.

Repository Details

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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