Scope and arrangement
This single box of Edward Albee's papers contains both holograph and typescript manuscripts of dramas, essays, novels, operas, poems, and stories. In addition to the numerous genres, there is a wide range of completeness in the manuscripts - some of the manuscripts are quite fragmentary, others more finished, and still others are published. Albee wrote most of this material in the 1940s and the 1950s, so most of the material in the collection predates his emergence as a major American dramatist with the opening of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf in 1962. This collection of Albee's early writing reflects his dedicated interest in exploring numerous genres as he developed his idiomatic approach to serious existential questions.
The Edward Albee papers are arranged in eight series:
One folder contains one fragmentary, untitled typescript of a play approximately four pages long.
Some are published and some apparently are unpublished. All ten essays are typescript, some with a few holograph corrections. Subjects vary from contemporary literary discussion to what appears to be autobiographyThis series is arranged alphabetically by title or first line.
Three draft novels. The Flesh of Unbelievers, an unfinished novel of well over five hundred manuscript pages begun while Albee was at Choate School. The entire novel is written in holograph, some in a Choate School notebook (five folders, 1945-1948). This series also contains a typescript draft of an unfinished novel with a few holograph corrections, a portion of which was published in the July, 1959, Esquire (one folder). The final item in the series is a typescript draft with a few holograph corrections of an unfinished untitled novel (one folder, n.d.)This series is arranged alphabetically by title or first line then by pagination
Drafts of librettos for three unfinished operas. The first is The Actress, which considers various times and incidents in the career and private life of Victoria Blessing. The second is a manuscript opera apparently titled The P.H.L. Critic which combines typescript and holograph. The third, a typescript with a few holograph corrections, is a fragmentary opera with a preface which begins "It seems to me that in a shortish concert-opera#133;".This series is arranged alphabetically by title or first line.
Eighty-eight poems. Some of the poems are holograph, some typescriptThis series is arranged alphabetically by title or first line.
Three short stories. The Car That Killed People, Excelsior, and an untitled story beinning "He stopped walking and closed his eyes. There was...". Typescripts with a few holograph corrections.This series is arranged alphabetically by title or first line.
Miscellaneous notes, incomplete drafts, etc. written in holograph on sheets removed from a notebook.
General notes on the preparation of manuscripts from Coward-McCann, and a New York Sun column with a dialogue entitled Who's Afraid of Edward Albee by Edward Albee.This series is arranged alphabetically by title or first line