Lloyd Alexander papers
Held at: Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection [Contact Us]1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
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Lloyd (Chudley) Alexander was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 30, 1924. He developed an abiding love of books early on - according to his own recollection, he taught himself to read at the age of 3. He continued to read voraciously although he hated school. After graduating high school, Alexander attended West Chester State Teachers College, but did not complete his degree. He took a job at a bank, and worked there until joining the army in 1943. Alexander was selected for a specialized training program for translators at Lafayette College, after which he was sent to Paris on assignment. He served as an interpreter, translator, documents analyst, and counterespionage agent, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant. He became acquainted with a number of prominent artists and writers in the Parisian cultural scene, including Paul Éluard, who named Alexander his official translator. In fact, Alexander’s first published books, from 1948-1951, were translations of works by Éluard, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Paul Vialar. But for Alexander personally, a far more important introduction was to take place in Paris: he met his wife Janine Denni, and her daughter Madeleine (Mado). After completing his tour of duty, Lloyd Alexander studied at the Sorbonne (University of Paris) on an army scholarship, and then returned with his new family to Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
Alexander aspired to be a novelist, but in the meantime worked in a string of advertising positions at Sun Oil Company (1948-1951), Smith, Kline & French (1951-1952), Arthur H. Thomas Company (1952-1956), and The Bingham Company (1956). By his own admission Alexander was not very invested in his day jobs. Many drafts he wrote during the 1950s and 1960s are typed on the back of company stationery, a habit that got him fired from Sunoco for working on his novel in the office. In 1955 he published his first novel, And Let the Credit Go, a book for adults based on his experiences working at the bank. Further autobiographical fiction for adults include My Five Tigers (1956) and Janine is French (1959). After writing two biographies for young adults at the request of the Jewish Publication Society, Alexander began to consider the possibility of writing children’s fantasy books. Time Cat, about a cat who can time-travel between each of his nine lives, was published in 1963. In the course of researching Time Cat, Alexander became fascinated with Welsh mythology, especially the Mabinogion, and began planning his critically-acclaimed Chronicles of Prydain. The first in the series was The Book of Three, published in 1964, followed by the Newbery-honoree The Black Cauldron (1965). The Castle of Llyr was published in 1966 and Taran Wanderer appeared in 1967; the final installment, The High King, won the Newbery Medal in 1969. Additional stories from the Prydain universe were compiled in The Foundling and Other Tales from Prydain in 1973. Two of these stories were also published separately as picture books illustrated by Evaline Ness: Coll and His White Pig (1965) and The Truthful Harp (1967). In 1985, Disney released The Black Cauldron, an animated feature based on the first two books in the Prydain series.
After making a name for himself with the Chronicles of Prydain, Alexander published popular children's literature continuously for the next forty years. He is well-known for his Westmark fantasy trilogy and the Vesper Holly adventures, about a young heroine best described as a cross between Indiana Jones and Nancy Drew. Lloyd Alexander’s final book, The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio, appeared in print in summer of 2007, just months after his death on May 17.
Something about the Author Autobiography Series, vol. 19.
Children’s Literature Review, vol. 48.
This collection contains the literary papers of author Lloyd Alexander, dating from 1941-1995. Drafts, proofs, and planning notes for Alexander's writings, together with correspondence relating to his books, make up the bulk of the collection; other types of materials present include drawings, newspaper clippings, and advertisements.
This collection includes materials from nearly every book by Lloyd Alexander published before 1995, although the amount of documentation varies. Some titles, like The Flagship Hope: Aaron Lopez are represented by only a few pieces of correspondence; others, like The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian, are represented by planning notes and outlines, multiple versions of drafts, proofs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings. The only books Alexander published before 1995 are not found in this collection are The Four Donkeys (1972) and The Fortune-Tellers (1992). (There are, however, references to The Four Donkeys in "Brandt & Brandt's correspondence file on Lloyd Alexander, 1970," within the "Personal papers" series.)
Many unpublished writings are also present in this collection. Half of the titles in the "Writings for adults" series are unpublished novels at various stages of completion. Alexander worked long and hard on several complete drafts of Eden, a novel about Philadelphia-area socialites, but was unable to find a publisher. However, he barely got past the chapter list for How to Live With Your Psychiatrist, a humorous book about psychiatry. There are also unpublished drafts of some essays, plays, translations of French works, and a large number of short stories. Nearly all the works in the “Writings for children” were eventually published. The exceptions are a poem entitled “The Fox”; a picture-book written and illustrated by Alexander called “Peter Simple”; a proposed work for the Jewish Publication Society entitled “Follow the Drinking Gourd”; “The Phoenix”; and “Regia-Doria.”
There are several types of correspondence in this collection, grouped according to original order. Alexander’s own correspondence files on his books (the letters he received and, sometimes, copies of the letters he sent) are kept with other materials relating to those titles. In most cases, Alexander’s correspondence files are further divided by stage, such as editing and production, publicity and promotion, or the published book itself (consisting of thank-you letters Alexander received from the friends and associates to whom he sent complimentary copies of his books). The collection also includes correspondence files collected by Brandt & Brandt, Alexander's literary agency, and Ann Durell, Alexander's editor.
At Brandt & Brandt Alexander was managed by Bernice Baumgarten, then Carol Brandt, and finally Carl D. Brandt, with whom he maintained a personal relationship. At some point, the agency transferred to Alexander the correspondence file they maintained on him from 1949-1970. Brandt & Brandt's correspondence file is arranged chronologically, and kept in the “Personal papers” series.
Lloyd Alexander cultivated a deep friendship with his editor, Ann Durell. He first worked with Durell on Time Cat (1963) while she was at Holt, Rinehart and Winston publishing house. It appears that when she moved to Dutton publishing house around 1970, Lloyd began publishing there in order to continue working with her. It may have been around that time when she transferred to Alexander the correspondence files she had maintained on his books at Holt, Rinehart and Winston, including correspondence related to Time Cat (1963) and the Prydain series (1964-1968). Durell's correspondence files were arranged by book, and kept in the subseries of each title. Although some letters in Durell's files refer to other books, they have been left where they were in keeping with in original order.
Durell’s influence is especially apparent on the drafts of Alexander’s works that have "attached annotations" - post-it notes covered with editorial comments. Where the notes were glued or taped down, and removing them would have damaged the materials, they remain in place. Where the notes were loose, they were photocopied in place and then removed to mylar for preservation.
Other individuals whose names frequently recur in this collection are Max L. Jacobson, an old army friend of Alexander's with whom he frequently discussed his works in progress; Marianne Carus, founder of Cricket magazine for children; and Carolyn W. Field, coordinator of the Office of Work with Children for the Free Library of Philadelphia from 1953 to 1983, who was instrumental in arranging for the donation of this collection.
This collection is arranged in three series: I. Writings for adults; II. Writings for children; III. Personal papers. Series I (Writings for adults) is arranged alphabetically by title, with additional subseries for translations and shorter works. The subseries are: i. And Let the Credit Go; ii. Another Country; iii. The Beautiful Children, version 1; iv. The Beautiful Children, version 2; v. Captain Billy Webb; vi. Eden; vii. Fifty Years in the Doghouse; viii. How to Live With Your Psychiatrist; ix. Janine is French; x. My Five Tigers; xi. My Love Affair With Music; xii. Park Avenue Vet; xiii. Short stories, essays, and plays; xiv. Translations; xv. Untitled Hector Berlioz novel. Within each subseries, materials are arranged in probable order of creation.
Series II (Writings for children) is arranged alphabetically by title, with additional subseries for “The Prydain Chronicles,” “The Vesper Holly Adventures,” and “The Westmark Trilogy.” The subseries are: i. Border Hawk: August Bondi; ii. The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man; iii. Dream-of-Jade: The Emperor’s Cat; iv. The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha; v. The Flagship Hope: Aaron Lopez; vi. Follow the Drinking Gourd; vii. The Fox; viii. The House Gobbaleen; ix. How the Cat Swallowed Thunder; x. The King’s Fountain; xi. The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian; xii. The Pearls and the Pie; xiii. Peter Simple; xiv. The Phoenix; xv. The Prydain Chronicles; xvi. Regia-Doria; xvii. The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen; xviii. Rembrandt: Portrait of the Artist; xix. Time Cat; xx. The Town Cats and Other Tales; xxi. The Two Brothers; xxii. The Vesper Holly Adventures; xxiii. The Westmark Trilogy; xxiv. The Wizard in the Tree. Subseries xv (The Prydain Chronicles) is further divided into sub-subseries: a. The Book of Three; b. The Black Cauldron; c. The Castle of Llyr; d. Taran Wanderer; e. The High King; f. Coll and His White Pig; g. The Truthful Harp; h. The Foundling and Other Tales of Prydain. Subseries xxii (The Vesper Holly Adventures) is also divided into sub-subseries: a. The Illyrian Adventure; b. The El Dorado Adventure; c. The Drackenberg Adventure; d. The Jedera Adventure; e. The Philadelphia Adventure. Subseries xxiii (The Westmark Trilogy), too, is divided into sub-subseries: a. Westmark; b. The Kestrel; c. The Beggar Queen. Within each subseries, or sub-subseries, materials are arranged in probable order of creation.
Series III (Personal papers) is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Gift of Lloyd Alexander, 1995.
- Alexander, Janine
- Binyon, Claude, 1905-1978
- Brandt, Carl (Carl D.)
- Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826
- Camuti, Louis J.
- Chaulot, Paul
- Desnos, Robert, 1900-1945
- Durell, Ann
- Jacob, Max, 1876-1944
- Prévert, Jacques, 1900-1977
- Sartre, Jean-Paul, 1905-1980
- Valéry, Paul, 1871-1945
- Éluard, Paul, 1895-1952
- Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection
- Finding Aid Author
- Finding aid prepared by Celia Caust-Ellenbogen
- The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open to researchers by appointment. Some of the materials in this collection may be too fragile for use without the Curator’s supervision. Please contact the Curator for information on access.
- Use Restrictions
The right of access to material does not imply the right of publication. The Free Library of Philadelphia holds the copyright for all materials created by Lloyd Alexander. Permission for reprinting, reproduction, or extensive quotation from his works must be obtained through written application to the Free Library of Philadelphia, stating the use to be made of the material. The reader bears the responsibility for any possible infringement of copyright laws in the publication of materials not created by Alexander.
A reproduction fee will be charged if the material is to be reproduced in a commercial publication.
A working title was "Supper Money (Confessions of a Clerk)." The chapter entitled "Dorothea" was published in Discovery issue 3, 1954.
These papers appear to be very preliminary planning materials for And Let the Credit Go. The short story Harmon Burden also seems to be related. A piece of correspondence included with Harmon Burden refers to a short story entitled Max Mondrosch, whose name appears in these materials.
Working titles included "A Stranger in Eden" and "Strangers in Eden."
Includes letter from Bernice Baumgarten.
Lloyd Alexander was commissioned by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to write Fifty Years in the Doghouse after the success of Park Avenue Vet.
The Fall 1962 issue of Animal Protection includes the annual report of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which Alexander appears to have used to fact-check the figures in Fifty Years in the Doghouse. The Spring 1963 issue, forwarded to Alexander by Janice Paprin, features an article about the upcoming publication of his book.
Folder also includes a list of the interview tapes Alexander used to research the book.
Includes packet from Ed Bauman, consisting of photographs of his cats in addition to editorial suggestions for Park Avenue Vet.
Includes translation, "Desnos on Picasso."
"The Fantastic Symphony" was later published in New Directions 11 (New York: 1959).
Folder also includes piece of correspondence from Alexander's literary agent, dated August 16, 1957, that refers to "Max Mondrosch," "Harmon Burden," "The Beautiful Children," and "Janine is French."
This appears to be a journal kept by Lloyd Alexander from May 1, 1942 to July 8, 1942.
Alexander's major published translations are The Wall and Other Stories by Jean-Paul Sartre (New York: New Directions, 1948); Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre (Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1949); Uninterrupted Poetry: Selected Writings by Paul Éluard, (New York: New Directions, 1951); and The Sea Rose by Paul Vialar, (London: Peter Nevill, 1952).
A piece of correspondence regarding the royalties for Nausea was removed to Agent Correspondence, 1957-1959.
Includes Meditations XXI and XXII, plus a biographical note on Brillat-Savarin by Lloyd Alexander, typescript and carbon copy.
Poems include: "Evening Falls Back," "Eyes Which Have Really Suffered Too Much from Seeing," "Prayer of Widows and Mothers," "In the Virgin Mountain," "Mount Grammos," "Old Youth," "To Be Alone No Longer," and "If Greece Were Freed."
Includes some poems published in Uninterrupted Poetry: "Spain," "In Spain," "Vencer Juntos," "In Warsaw," "Poetry Must Have Practical Truth as its Goal," and "After So Many Years." Also includes several poems not published in Uninterrupted Poetry: "One for All," "Lost Garden," "No Break," "First Step," "To General Markos," "Athena," and "The Strength of Love."
Includes an illustrated newspaper clipping of "Willow-Wing" from a French periodical.
Poems include "For You My Love," "The Laundry," "The Dunce," "Alicante," "First Day," "This Love," "The Human Effort," "The New Order," "Sunday," "Rue de Seine," "Homecoming," "Glory," and "Promenade de Picasso."
Poems include "Love Your Neighbor," "To the Pilgrims of Emmaus," "Sublime Disfigured Slave," and "Death."
Poems include "Pomegranates," "The Girdle," "Poetry," "Sea Cemetery," "Fragments from Narcissus," "The Young Fate," "Palm," "Sinister," "Hour," "The Friendly Woods," "Vain Dangers," and "Land of Enchantment."
Includes letters from Carl D. Brandt, Max L. Jacobson and Ann Durell.
Annotations by Ann Durell.
References to "Dream-of-Jade" exist in the "Planning notes and outlines" for The Town Cats and Other Tales (New York: Dutton, 1977), but it does not appear in the final collection. Instead, it was published serially in Cricket magazine: "The Emperor's Cat: Dream-of-Jade" (October 1976), "The Emperor's Cat: How Dream-of-Jade Cured the Emperor" (November 1976), and "The Emperor's Cat: How Dream-of-Jade Wrote the Law" (December 1976). Nearly two decades later, it was published as a picture book illustrated by D. Brent Burkett (Chicago: Cricket Books, 2005).
Includes correspondence with Max L. Jacobson.
Includes book jacket proof and photocopies of illustration proofs.
Includes correspondence with Cricket editor Marianne Carus, photocopied excerpts from the book The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha with revisions, and carbon copies of "The Three Talking Horses" and "The Invisible Camel."
It is unclear whether this poem is a translation or was written by Alexander.
References to "The House Gobbaleen" exist in "Planning notes and outlines" for The Town Cats and Other Tales (New York: Dutton, 1977), but it does not appear in the final collection. According to a note by Alexander, he offered the story to Jean Greenlaw for a different collection, per her letter of 17 May 1989. "The House Gobbaleen" was later published as a picture book illustrated by Diane Goode (New York: Dutton, 1995).
References to "How the Cat Stole Thunder" exist in the "Planning notes and outlines" for The Town Cats and Other Tales, but it does not appear in the published version. In 1977, "How the Cat Swallowed Thunder" was first printed as part of Just for Fun: A Collection of Original Humorous Stories, edited by Ann Durell (New York: Dutton, 1977). Decades later, it was published separately as a picture book illustrated by Judith Byron Schachner (New York: Dutton, 2000).
Also includes brief correspondence with Ann Durell, June 1976.
Includes note from Brandt & Brandt.
Includes note from Ann Durell dated May 19, 1970.
Includes note from Ann Durell dated July 7, 1970.
Includes correspondence with Max L. Jacobson
One short story, "The Pearls and the Pie: Miklan Tells a Tale" was published in two parts in the May and June 1975 issues of Cricket Magazine. The first part was titled "Miklan Tells a Tale: The Pearls and the Pie" (a working title was "Miklan Tells a Tale: The Princess, the Pearls, the Eagle, and the Baker"); the second part was titled "The Pearls and the Pie: Miklan Ends a Tale." Alexander envisioned a book of short stories written around the character of Miklan but it never came to fruition.
Includes one complete draft (revised carbon copy) and loose revised typescript and carbon copy pages.
Includes note from editor at Cricket Magazine.
Correspondence is with Max L. Jacobson
One working title for the series was "Sons of Llyr."
Alphabetized set of index cards with names for characters, places and objects. Also includes brief planning notes.
Includes pieces of correspondence with editor Ann Durell and agent Carl Brandt.
There are two complete carbon copy drafts. The first folder includes a list of corrections, and a list of quotes about cats.
Includes basic timeline of the titles projected for the Prydain series.
Includes map of Prydain.
Includes correspondence with Max L. Jacobson and brochure for 1969 Newberry/Caldecott Awards Dinner
Includes short essay by Lloyd Alexander about collaborating on a picture book with Evaline Ness.
The second and third tales from The Foundling, "The Stone" and "The True Enchanter," were published in Cricket magazine.
"The Two Brothers" (the working titles for which included "The Red Fallows" and "The Brother Kings") was written for The Foundling but did not appear in the final collection. It was published in The Big Book for Peace, edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs (New York: E.P. Dutton Children's Books, 1990).
Later editions of The Foundling include the text of the picture books Coll and His White Pig (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965) and The Truthful Harp (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967) as additional short stories.
Attached annotations were probably written by Shirley Dolgoff, Alexander's editor at Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Includes correspondence with Holt, Rinehart & Winston
Folder includes a letter and a copy of an illustration by Nancy Ekholm Burkert.
Another working title for Regia-Doria was Theodore the First. Some aspects of Regia Doria, such as the general quality of its being "fantastical" but not a "fantasy," and the specific names of the protagonist (Theodore) and the kingdom (Regia), are reminiscent of the Westmark Trilogy.
Includes map sketches by Lloyd Alexander and proof copies; book jacket proofs; and correspondence with the Chinese Cultural & Community Center of Philadelphia.
Includes adapted excerpts "The Tale of the Bronze Bowl" and "The Tale of the Tiger's Paintbrush." Alexander made a cassette tape of "The Tale of the Bronze Bowl" on March 20, 1992.
World Over, a children's magazine put out by the Jewish Education Committee of New York, purchased "Rembrandt: Portrait of the Artist" for serial publication.
Several stories written for the collection but not included in the final book were published separately. "Dream of Jade: The Emperor's Cat" appeared serially in Cricket magazine in 1976, and was later published as a picture book in 2005 (Chicago: Cricket Books). "How the Cat Swallowed Thunder" appeared in Ann Durell's Just for Fun: A Collection of Original Humorous Stories in 1977 (New York: Dutton), and was published as a picture book in 2000 (New York: Dutton). "The House Gobbaleen" was published as a picture book in 1995 (New York: Dutton).
Working titles for "The Two Brothers" include "The Red Fallows" and "The Brother Kings." References to the story exist in "Planning notes, outlines, and partial drafts" for The Foundling (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973), but it does not appear in the final collection. Instead, it was published in The Big Book for Peace, edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs (New York: E.P. Dutton Children's Books, 1990).
These materials, which begin to develop the character of a heroine reminiscent Vesper Holly, are from 1976--about the same time Alexander was working on The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha.
Folder includes correspondence, page proofs, and carbon copy excerpts from The Jedera Adventure, as well as the issues of Cricket magazine in which they were reprinted under the title "The Highest Bid" ( Cricket 17:1 (September 1989), 37-41; Cricket 17:2 (October 1989), 72-76).
Includes excerpts of "The Wizard in the Tree" and "The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian," probably presented at the 1974 American Library Association conference in New York City.
Primarily invoices and clippings of Stratford-Cookson advertisements from dental and orthodontics journals. Some correspondence and printer's proofs.
Includes drafts of Lloyd Alexander's comments for the article "The best of the spring batch: Our judges comment."
Includes copies of manuscript readers' reports on Eden from Henry Holt and Company.
This file includes references to The Four Donkeys (1972), which book is not represented anywhere else in the collection. There is a photocopy of a letter from Alice L. Miller, Children's Books Senior Editor at Holt, Rinehart and Winston after Ann Durell, expressing her editorial comments.
Contains cards illustrated by Lloyd Alexander, including Christmas, Valentine's, birthday, thank you, and get well cards, as well as a humorous press release for the artist "Rumbrandt."
Includes a Christmas card drawn by Alexander, a watercolor drawing, and a cartoon, "Through History with J. Wesley Smith."
Folder includes" correspondence with Max L. Jacobson; advertisements for books (not written by Alexander); notes in Alexander's handwriting for "My Goblin--a first-person account;" part of an article by Gincas about Lord of the Rings; correspondence with Carl D. Brandt regarding, and a carbon copy of, the short story "Old Cricket Says" by Lloyd Alexander. Folder also includes a note from "Amy" that was misplaced in "Brandt & Brandt's correspondence file on Lloyd Alexander" between the folders for 1964 and 1965.
This videotaping, sponsored by the Free Library of Philadelphia and Temple University, took place in Temple's studio on October 27, 1972.
In September 1974, E.P. Dutton sent out a cassette recording of Lloyd Alexander reading selections from some of his books as a promotional material.