Scope and arrangement
The papers include miscellaneous correspondence received; correspondence sent to his daughter, the author and cultural historian, Nora Sayre, and to his wife, Gertrude Lynahan Sayre; typescript and holograph drafts of his novels, plays, and articles; clippings of his published newspaper articles and sports columns; diary notes; reminiscences of his childhood in Columbus, Ohio and of life as newspaper reporter in New York City and as Hollywood screenwriter; and photographs of himself, his wife, daughter and friends.
The Joel Sayre papers are arranged in five series:
The correspondence is arranged into three subseries: A. Correspondence Received; B. Correspondence Sent; and C. Gertrude Lynahan Sayre
The writings are arranged into four subseries: A. Fiction; B. Plays; C. Articles; and D. Clippings of Published Writings by Joel G. Sayre
This series consists of two pocket diaries (1921; 1924, 1926); a pocket memorandum book (1921); an holograph fragment of diary notes; a typed transcript copy of his personal reminiscences; and a transcript copy of an interview with Joel Sayre regarding James Thurber conducted by Lewis G. Branscomb, Dec. 16, 1975.
The pocket diary for 1921 which was kept at Exeter College, Oxford University, England, contains entries describing his social life and activities for the month of January 1921. The pocket diary for 1924, 1926 contains personal expenses in German marks for the months of May and June of 1924; and entries dated January, 1926 made when he was a student of medicine in Germany. These latter entries contain self criticisms and admonishments regarding his failure to apply himself to his studies; and a list of courses required for the degree of medicine. (The entries are made in a printed calendar diary for the year 1924). The pocket memorandum book which is dated September 1, 1921 contains a few miscellaneous notes. The holograph fragment of diary notes (4 pages) which is dated November 6 [c1934?] relates mainly to his resolve to complete a literary manuscript in progress.
The typed transcript copy of Sayre's reminiscences was made from audiotapes recorded October 30-31, December 18-19, and 28, 1973; and February 20-21, 1974. The reminiscences include descriptions of his childhood in Columbus, Ohio, the nature of the town, its neighborhoods and entertainments (vaudeville shows, local theatre and movies); the schools he attended in Columbus and in Cleveland, Ohio; his service with the Siberian Expeditionary Force; his student life and activities at Oxford University in England; his work as police reporter for the Ohio State Journal in Cleveland where he received many anecdotal accounts of the life of the author, O. Henry; his activities as cub reporter for the New York World and the New York Herald Tribune including numerous colorful accounts of the mores of newspapermen and their favorite speakeasies; his stint as columnist for the Philadelphia Ledger; his work in Hollywood as screenwriter for the films Annie Oakley and Gunga Din; his friendship with fellow screenwriter, William Faulkner, who collaborated with him on the film Road to Glory; his relationship with MGM and his association with the Screenwriter's Guild. The reminiscences contain many references to literary figures, motion picture personalities, and others whom he encountered, or who influenced him. Included also are passages relating to his experiences as correspondent with the Persian Gulf Command, an anecdotal account of the Teheran Conference, and his activities in Germany as a correspondent for The New Yorker at the end of World War II.
This series consists of a file of miscellaneous papers in topical arrangement including yearbooks of the Columbus Academy which contain references to Joel Sayre's student activities; his death certificate; copyright assignments to Sayre for stories published in The American Mercury; memorabilia; obituaries; and other miscellany.
This series contains photographic portraits of Joel Sayre as adult; childhood photos of Joel with his mother; group photos of Joel with classmates; albums (unbound) of photos of Joel and Gertrude Sayre, family and friends; and miscellaneous Sayre family photos. Included are oversized photographic portraits of Joel Sayre with classmates in baseball and basketball uniforms; and oversized portraits of Gertrude Sayre, and of Nora Sayre as child.