Scope and arrangement
The Truman Capote Papers (c.1924-1984) consist of holograph manuscripts and typescripts of the author's published and unpublished work, notes and other material related to the works, Capote's high school writings, correspondence, photographs, graphic materials, miscellaneous personal documents, printed material, and scrapbooks. Holograph and typescript drafts comprise the bulk of the collection, arranged alphabetically by title. Notes, clippings, and other related material (i.e. corrected galleys, dramatic adaptations written by others) are often with that work. The bulk of the correspondence is made up of letters and postcards, 1947-1972, from Capote to his friend Andrew Lyndon, and letters, 1961-1978, from Capote to Alvin and Marie Dewey. Alvin Dewey, of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, was the principal investigator in the murder of the Clutter family. A small group of other correspondence includes letters from Jack Dunphy, John O'Shea, Joseph Fox (editor at Random House), Irving Lazar, and Alan Schwartz, as well as letters between some of these figures. Material added to the collection in 2002 includes Capote's holograph notes and other materials related to the Black and White Ball of 1966.
The Truman Capote papers are arranged in nine series:
This series contains material related to most of Capote's writings in the form of notebooks, holograph drafts, typescripts, corrected and edited galley proofs, and printed matter; some titles are accompanied by related material such as clippings, correspondence, research notes, and adaptations of the work for film. The five boxes of material related to In Cold Blood forms an important part of the collection; it reflects Capote's five years of research and involvement in the Clutter murder case. The research material includes notes, clippings, interviews, and legal papers gathered by Capote. Files labeled "typescript notes" (see Box 7, f. 11-14) were probably compiled by the writer Harper Lee, a childhood friend of Capote's who assisted him in his Kansas research. Various versions of the manuscript include those with revisions by Capote himself and also those revised by Joseph Fox, Capote's editor at Random House. Clippings document the story of the murders, the investigation, arrest, trial, and execution. (Two scrapbooks collected by Alvin Dewey (see: Series VII: Printed Matter and Scrapbooks, Box 28-29) document the case and the book's publication.).
Capote's high school writings include short stories and poems in manuscript and printed form.
This series (c.1924-1972) contains the earliest material in the collection. Pictures include snapshots and portraits of Capote, his family, and friends. A series of six Polaroids taken by Andy Warhol (one dated 1972) are probably the most recent photographs in the collection. [see also: Graphic materials (Box 25, Oversize Case D1) and Marie Dewey's "In Cold Blood" scrapbook].
The graphic materials include paintings, sketches, and photographs; an itemized inventory can be found in the container list. Notable artists represented include Cecil Beaton and Andy Warhol.
This series includes Capote's adoption papers; death certificate; invitations, guests lists, and menus for the Black and White Ball and other parties; and material, printed and in Capote's hand, relating to Capote's attempt to establish an upscale cleaning and domestic services business for his Palm Springs maid and confidant, Myrtle Bennett. For additional materials on the Black and White Ball, see Series IX. 2002 Additions re Black and White Ball.
This series includes loose clippings from magazine and newspapers regarding Capote; three scrapbooks compiled by Alvin Dewey, two of which pertain to the Clutter case; an album compiled by Marie Dewey which documents the production of the movie "In Cold Blood"; and magazines which feature writings by, articles about, and interviews with Capote, including the issues of the New Yorker in which In Cold Blood first appeared.
This series includes copy-edited proofs and clean carbon and xerox typescripts of works represented in the collection by edited versions; duplicate xerox copies; and book galleys.
This series consists of materials related to the Black and White Ball, a party planned by Capote in the summer of 1966 in honor of his friend Katherine Graham, owner of the Washington Post. The masked ball, which was held at the Grand Ballroom of the Plaza Hotel in New York City, became the most talked about social event of the year. The records include the black and white standard school composition book in which Capote entered the names and addresses of his guests, and later annotated with the name of the host of the dinner party that each would be invited to attend before the ball. Accompanying the compositon book are a carbon typescript list of the guests made from the notebook, an alphabetized and tab-indexed list which was prepared for screening guests at the door, an invitation card annotated by Capote, an admittance card, and a file of newspaper clippings documenting the New York press coverage of the event. In addition, there is an autograph letter from Capote to Elizabeth Davies, who assited him in arranging the party, regarding his attempts to help her find employment. Some additional materials on the Black and White Ball can be found in Series VI. Miscellaneous Papers.