University of Texas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Thornton Wilder:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Wilder, Thornton, 1897-1975
Title: Thornton Wilder Collection
Dates: 1880-1968, undated
Abstract: Includes manuscripts and letters written by or related to the American playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder. A printed version of Our Town includes handwritten notes by Orson Welles for a Mercury Theatre radio broadcast.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-4517
Extent: 1 document box, 1 oversize box (1.84 linear feet), 1 galley folder (gf)
Language: English
Repository: The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center



Open for research

Administrative Information

Processed by:

Joan Sibley and Michael Ramsey, 2011

Note: This finding aid replicates and replaces information previously available only in a card catalog. Please see the explanatory note at the end of this finding aid for information regarding the arrangement of the manuscripts as well as the abbreviations commonly used in descriptions.

Container List


2.1 The Bridge of San Luis Rey, handwritten manuscript, hand lettered by Rafaello Busoni with 88 original drawings by him, 179 pages, 15 August 1940 - 25 February 1941.
gf 1 The Eighth Day, galley proofs, 148 pages, 1967.
1.1 Giordano Bruno's last meal in Finnegans Wake, mimeo 10 pages, undated. Inscribed to Francis Steloff, includes ALS Wilder to Steloff, 4 August 1962.
1.2 Our Town, a play in three acts, printed book with pages separated from and loosely laid in casing. With Orson Welles' handwritten notes and cuts and with typed inserts laid in, 75 leaves, circa 1939-1940. For a proposed Mercury Theatre radio broadcast.
1.3 The Skin of Our Teeth (screen treatment), mimeo / first draft 139 pages, undated. Treatment by Mary Ellen Bute, with handwritten note signed 30 December 1966.


1.4 2 ALS to Ballou, Robert, 6 February 1936, 7 April 1960.
Handwritten memo to Connolly, Cyril, re Frank Budgen's "Joyce chapters on going forth by day," September - October 1941? Written on this: signed handwritten note by Connolly.
1.5 8 ALS, 2 APCS, 1 Christmas card to Healy, John Vincent, 1932-1940, undated.
1.4 ALI to Senn, Fritz, 19 June 1968.
ALS to Wilson, 28 March 1937.


1.6 Albatross Verlag. Memorandum of agreement with Wilder re The Bridge of San Luis Rey, signed printed document, 2 pages, 25 May 1932.
Albatross Verlag. Memorandum of agreement with Wilder re The Cabala, signed printed document, 2 pages, 13 July 1934.

Explanatory Note Concerning Manuscript Collections Cataloged in the Card Catalog

Prior to 1990 when archival cataloging procedures were adopted at the Ransom Center, all manuscript collections were described in a card catalog.

Organization of Collections:

Manuscripts for each author collection were organized into four categories:

  • Works: manuscripts by the author, arranged alphabetically by title;
  • Letters: the author's outgoing correspondence, arranged alphabetically by recipient name;
  • Recipient: the author's incoming correspondence, arranged alphabetically by the author of the letter; and
  • Miscellaneous: all other manuscripts and correspondence, arranged alphabetically by creator.

Materials that did not fit into these categories, such as art, photographs, books, and near-print materials such as newspaper clippings, were dispersed to other Ransom Center collections for cataloging and storage.

Abbreviations Used in Descriptions:

The symbols below were used in combinations. For example ALS means autograph letter signed; Tccms means typed carbon copy manuscript, etc.

  • A = autograph (i.e., handwritten)
  • T = typed
  • S = signed
  • I = initialed
  • Ms = manuscript
  • Mss = manuscripts
  • L = letter
  • FL = form letter
  • N = note
  • D = document
  • C = card
  • PC = post card
  • cc = carbon copy
  • p = page
  • pp = pages
  • l = leaf
  • ll = leaves
  • nd = no date
  • inc d = incomplete date