Skip to main content

Damon Runyon Papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 832

Scope and Contents

The Damon Runyon papers contain correspondence, writings, photographs, scrapbooks, films, and other papers documenting the literary and personal activities of American author Damon Runyon. Correspondence consists chiefly of telegrams to Runyon and his second wife, Patrice Amati, from friends and others, and telegrams from Runyon to Patrice dating from the late 1920s through early 1930s. Writings include the work of Damon Runyon, such as drafts of poems and short stories, and writings of others. There are photographs of Damon and Patrice Runyon and numerous American cultural figures from roughly the 1920s through 1940s, including Milton Berle, Jack Dempsey, Al Jolson, Joe Louis, Adele Rogers St. Johns, Walter Winchell, and others. Scrapbooks contain additional correspondence, photographs, and clippings relating to Runyon and his wife, and to Patrice and Richard Coffin. Other materials in the collection include artwork, clippings, financial and legal records, medical and military records, and printed ephemera.


  • 1876-1985


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

19-33 (reel-to-reel film): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Damon Runyon 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

Bequest of Patrice Amati Runyon, 1985. Received from William P. Considine.


Organied into six series: I. Correspondence, 1918-1980. II. Writings, 1923-1940. III. Photographs, 1888-1967. IV. Scrapbooks, 1917-1980. V. Films, 1933. VI. Other Papers,1876-1985.


4.71 Linear Feet ((22 boxes) + 15 cold storage, 3 art, 1 broadside folder)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL


The Damon Runyon papers contain correspondence, writings, photographs, scrapbooks, films, and other papers documenting the literary and personal activities of American author Damon Runyon.

Alfred Damon Runyon (1884-1946)

Damon Runyon, American journalist and short-story writer, was born 4 October, 1884, in Manhattan, Kansas to Elizabeth and Alfred Lee Runyan, a printer and newspaper publisher. In 1898, Runyon enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American War and served in the Philippines. After the war, he worked for a number of newspapers in various small towns in Colorado before he was hired in 1905 as a reporter for the Denver Post. He worked briefly in 1906 as a reporter for the San Francisco Post before returning to Denver to work for the Rocky Mountain News, where he covered sports, crime, and court stories. In addition to his newspaper duties, Runyon wrote short stories and poems for national magazines, including Harper’s and McClure’s. In 1910, Runyon moved to New York to work as a sportswriter for the New York American. Runyon published a collection of poems, The Tents of Trouble, in 1911, and during the 1920’s and 1930’s, he published many short stories. In 1932 he published Guys and Dolls, which was made into a popular Broadway musical and film. Motion picture adaptations of two other stories, “The Lemon Drop Kid” and “Little Miss Marker,” appeared in 1934. Runyon died 10 December 1946 in New York City.

Biographical information taken from the Guide to Literary Masters & Their Works (January 2007).

Processing Information

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization. Descriptive information is drawn in large part from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents.

Former call number: Uncat Za Ms 321.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for revisions in arrangement and description.

Damon Runyon 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.