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Thomas M. Disch papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 851

Scope and Contents

The collection documents the personal and professional life of American speculative fiction author and poet Thomas M. Disch. Evidence of Disch's creative process, relationships with contemporary authors, and wide-ranging writing style is found in the writings, which include autograph manuscript and typescript drafts and corrected proofs of Disch's novels, short stories, libretti, and poetry. Among the correspondents represented in the collection are Brian Aldiss, Philip K. Dick, and Michael Moorcock. The collection consists of diverse media and, in addition to audiovisual material, photographs, electronic files, and an art object, includes documentation of the development of Amnesia, a video game authored by Disch. The collection's chief research interests are its documentation of speculative fiction, science fiction, twentieth-century American poetry, and dystopian literature.


  • 1908-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1950 - 2006


Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 24-25, 43, and 110-113 (electronic files and computer): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Boxes 44-45 and 108-109 (audiovisual material): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Thomas M. Disch 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 Thomas M. Disch, 1991-2000. Purchased from James Cummins on the Sinclair Lewis Fund, 2006.


Organized into four groupings: June 1991 Acquisition, October 1994 Acquisition, January 2000 Acquisition, September 2006 Acquisition.


92.17 Linear Feet ((113 boxes) + 1 art)

Language of Materials


Catalog Record

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

Persistent URL

Thomas M. Disch (1940-2008)

Thomas Michael Disch, American speculative fiction author and poet. Disch was the author of novels, poetry, playscripts, opera libretti, literary criticism, and Amnesia, a video game. Among his best-known novels are Camp Concentration (Garden City, N.Y. : Doubleday, 1968), 334 (Boston : Gregg Press, 1972), On wings of song (New York : St. Martin's Press, 1979), and The Brave Little Toaster goes to Mars (New York : Doubleday, 1986).

Disch was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on Feb. 2, 1940, and died by suicide in 2008 in New York City. His partner of over 30 years, Charles Naylor, predeceased him in 2005.

Processing Information

Former call numbers: Uncat Za MS 230, Uncat Za MS 409, Uncat MSS 3, Uncat MSS 904.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and 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, titled 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. Further basic processing was carried out in 2014.

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.

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 Thomas M. Disch Papers
by Beinecke staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • 2023-06-21: Finding aid revised to address euphemistic and/or stigmatizing descriptive language related to suicide.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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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.