[OASIS] Harvard University Library
OASIS: Online Archival Search Information System
http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:FHCL.Hough:hou00054View HOLLIS Record   Frames Version
Questions or Comments   Copyright Statement
MS Am 2086

Cheever, John. John Cheever journals, circa 1934-1982: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard College Library


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© 1999 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Last update on 2015 April 9

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
Location: Harvard Depository
Note: A portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See use restrictions below for additional information.
Call No.: MS Am 2086
Creator: Cheever, John.
Title: John Cheever journals,
Date(s): circa 1934-1982.
Quantity: 3.75 linear feet (28 volumes, 1 carton)
Language of materials: Materials are in English.
Abstract: Journals of the American writer John Cheever.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Melanie Wisner
Cheever only occasionally dated his journal entries; dates have been assigned mainly on the basis of events mentioned in the text.
The journals were kept originally in three-ring binders with material sometimes inserted between leaves. The leaves have been removed and placed in folders; the binders are retained as item (29). The inserted material has been listed and placed at the end of the folder sequence for each journal.
Some leaves or sections of journals may have been moved from their original sequence by Cheever; for ease of reference, the journal leaves have been numbered by the cataloger in the order in which they were found.

Acquisition Information:

90M-60. Journals purchased from Mary W. Cheever, Cedar Lane, Ossining, New York; received: 1990 July 26.

Access Restrictions:

A portion of this collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Access Restrictions:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Formerly restricted until 2000 July 17.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

John Cheever Journals, circa 1934-1982 (MS Am 2086). Houghton Library, Harvard University.


The journals are arranged chronologically.

Historical Note

John Cheever (1912-1982) was an American writer.

Scope and Content

The journals span approximately 48 years and reflect Cheever's personal and professional life. The journals note events of the day intermittently; they are first and foremost a record of Cheever's inner life. Within them he developed material for stories and novels and meditated on writing, sexuality, alcohol, marriage, children, and friends.
No attempt has been made here to record in detail all topics covered in the journals; some notes of events, places, and titles are taken from typed and manuscript summary notes inserted by family members or editors in the process of editing the journals for publication.
Some inserted items were left probably as place markers, by Cheever as he re-read the journals, or later by family members.


Approximately 5-7% of the journals were published in: Cheever, John. The journals of John Cheever. New York: Knopf, 1991. A more detailed analysis of the contents of the journals can be found in: Francis J. Bosha, "The John Cheever Journals at Harvard's Houghton Library" in Resources for American Literary Study, volume 31 (2007): 199-311. A copy is available in the curatorial file for the collection.

Container List

NOTE: All journals are typescript with manuscript (mostly autograph) annotations.