Scope and arrangement
This collection consists of about 200 letters and several folders of printed material, mostly clipings of articles and newsletters by and about Alec Wilder. Series 1 consists of incoming letters from various people to Wilder, preserved by William Engvick; Series 2 contains letters from Wilder to Engvick; Series 3 is printed matter; Series 4 consists of the correspondence between Wilder and Stone, and Engvick and Holley; and Series 5 contains letters to Engvick from Stone, Dudley Frasier, Ronald Prather, and Thomas M. Hampson.
The Alec Wilder papers are arranged in five series:
The nearly 100 letters in this series were written between 1947 and 1972, with the bulk of them dating from 1955 to 1972. (There is also a clipped New York Timesobituary from 1992 for the actress and director Margaret Barker.) Many of these letters, such as those from Harper Lee and Muriel Spark, are brief, polite acknowledgments of fan letters from Wilder about their work; others, such as the correspondence from Peter DeVries and Frank Sinatra, are more substantive, lengthy, and personal. In most cases, the letters concern the correspondents' or Wilder's achievements in the fields of literature, music, and drama.
These letters date from 1939 to 1979, and mainly concern their musical collaborations and related topics. Engvick has also included his comments on them, on separate typed sheets of paper.
Folder 13 contains clippings of articles by and about Alec Wilder, 1941-1994. Materials created after Wilder's death include Vols. 1-6 of the newsletter Friends of Alec Wilder.
Correspondence between Engvick and Wilder's biographer, Desmond Stone, 1986-1997 (ten folders); copies of two letters from Alec Wilder to a fan, Donald Velsey, 1977 and 1980; correspondence between Engvick and Val Holley, 1992-1993; and printed matter, including a copy of Edward Gorey's The Bug Book, signed by Gorey and given to Wilder.
Letters to William Engvick from Dudley Frasier, 1963-1965; additional letters from Desmond Stone, 1996-1997 (including copies of his correspondence with others); letters from Ronald E. Prather regarding his work on an article "The Popular Songs of Alec Wilder" and a bio-bibliography of Wilder, 1990-1992; and a letter from Thomas M. Hampson enclosing a letter containing biographical information about Wilder.