Scope and arrangement
The Halper Papers consist chiefly of his correspondence (1919-1984) and literary work (1928-1982?). The correspondence is divided into four sections. Family correspondence (1909-69) contains letters to Halper predominantly from his four brothers and sister, his first wife, Pauline, and son, Thomas, as well as a few letters exchanged among other family members. The Incoming letters (1928-84) contain all other letters written to Halper, while the Outgoing letters (1919-83) contain those written by Halper to family members and others. Both the incoming and outgoing letters are arranged chronologically by decade and consist heavily of correspondence with editors, and literary agents regarding Halper's work. Although there are very few letters to Halper from prominent literary figures of the 1930s, his own letters to his editors, fellow writers and friends reveal his opinions about his work, other writers, the Communist Party and political and literary issues of the period. In addition, there are letters from readers of Halper's memoir, Goodbye, Union Square and from researchers which discuss the radicalism of the period. The bulk of the correspondence dates from the 1950- 80s, documenting Halper's struggles to get his work published and his plays Top Man and Aunt Daisy produced. Finally, there is a separate box of correspondence and other papers concerning the two anthologies he edited. This Is Chicago (1952) and The Chicago Crime Book (1965-67). Halper's correspondents in the literary world include Benjamin Appel, Edward Aswell, Leonard Ehrlich, John Fante, Nelson Algren, Elliot Cohen, Marshall Best, Maxim Lieber, and Joseph Epstein. In addition, there are single letters of encouragement or recommendation from Sherwood Anderson, H. L. Mencken, Lewis Mumford, and Paul Rosenfeld during the years 1928-33.
The most extensive series in Halper's papers consists of his writings, both published and unpublished. It includes preliminary notes and outlines, drafts, manuscripts, typescripts, and published copies of his novels, short stories, essays, plays, and screenplays. The published copies consist primarily of magazines containing his shorter works, and press clippings. Included also is a copy of Post War (1942), his privately published volume of drawings.
The remainder of the collection consists of publishing records (contracts, royalty statements, releases, copyright and permissions records), personal 1 financial and legal records, desk calendars (1975-81), art work by Halper and others, photographs, ephemera and memorabilia, press clippings and writings about Halper and his work. The latter includes a biography, a dissertation, journal articles, book reviews, and other items clipped from magazines and newspapers.
Two series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings