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MS Am 1793

Updike, John. John Updike papers, 1940-2009 (MS Am 1793): Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository, b, pf, Vault
Call No.: MS Am 1793
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Title: John Updike papers
Date(s): 1940-2009
Quantity: 305 linear feet (382 boxes)
Quantity: Extent is approximate.
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Papers of the American writer John Updike (1932-2009).

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Various accessions. Gifts from John Updike; received 1965-2011.
93M-170. Gift of Dr. Warner Berthoff; received 1994 April 13.
2001M-18 (b). Deposit, then gift of Dr. James Plath; received 2001-2002.
2009M-28. Purchase from Edward Hoagland; received: 2009 September 18, October 2. 2009M-36. Gift of Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc.; received: 2009 October 8.
2009M-37. Purchased from the John Updike estate, with funds from the Amy Lowell Trust, Charles Warren American History Fund; received: 2009 September 29.
2010M-69; 2011M-7. Purchase; received: 2011 March 1 and July 19.
2008M-83. Partial purchase, and partial gift of Allen and Wallace Shawn; received: 2009 March 27
2010M-62. Gift of Alexander J. Jemal; received: 2010 August 30.
2010M-66. Purchase; received 2010 November 22.
2012M-39. Gift of Martha Updike; received: 2012 September 6.
2012M-83. Gift of Anthony Tuck-Attard; received: 2012 November 14.
2012M-96. Gift of Jeannette Kretzmann; received: 2012 December 7.
2012M-97. Gift of Martha Updike; received: 2012 December 7.
2012M-122. Purchase; received: 2013 February 2.
2013M-17. Partial purchase, partial gift of David F. Shire; received: 2013 July 25
2013M-89. Purchase; received 2014 February 7. 2014M-140. Gift of Martha Updike; received: 2015 April 30. 2015M-97. Gift of Martha Updike; received: 2015 December 22. 2015M-134. Purchase; received 2016 April 5. 2016M-74. Purchase; received 2017 January 5. 2018MT-088. Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in 2018 February.
These acquisitions are noted in the finding aid.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Jennifer Lyons with Susan Pyzynski, Bonnie Salt and Susan Sutherland. Also with the assistance of Michael Austin, Vicki Denby, Allison Harris, Emilie Hardman, Adrien Hilton, Irina Klyagin, Ashley Nary, Ryan Wheeler, Melanie Wisner, and Susan Wyssen.
Addition processed by Magdaline Lawhorn.

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to a majority of this material.
A majority of this collection is shelved offsite. Retrieval requires advance notice. Check with Houghton Public Services staff.
Access to items (359) - (387), (780a), (5434), (6889a) and (7392) - (7395) is restricted until 2029 October 1. Consult curatorial staff. No copying including photography of restricted items is allowed.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

John Updike Papers, 1940-2009 (MS Am 1793). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

John Updike (1932-2009) was a novelist, critic, short story writer, poet, essayist, and dramatist. He graduated from Harvard College with an AB in 1954.


The collection is arranged into the following series: Please note that several item numbers were inadvertently omitted from this finding aid, thus numbering will not always be sequential.

Scope and Contents

The John Updike Papers includes a variety of materials reflecting his personal, literary and business life. Includes materials documenting his early life, correspondence, autograph manuscript compositions, speeches, interviews legal and business records, biographical materials, fan mail, video tapes, photographs and drawings, clippings on his life and subject and research files he compiled, and much more. Further information on the content of this collection is at the beginning of each series and subseries.


The majority of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. See access restrictions below for additional information.

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