Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
William Wister Haines was an American author, screenwriter, and playwright. Born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1908, he studied engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, but was unable to find work as an engineer during the Great Depression; instead, he worked as an electric lineman for the railroad, experience he used when writing his first two novels, Slim (1934) and High Tension (1938). While serving as an intelligence officer in the Air Force during World War II, Haines began writing the play Command Decision based on his experiences, which he later turned into a novel at his publisher's insistence. The success of the novel led to renewed success for the stage version, and the story was later adapted into a film by MGM. Haines had difficulty repeating the success of Command Decision, and in the 1950s and 1960s he increasingly turned to writing screenplays for financial support. However, his novel The Winter War (1961), an account of the 1877 U.S. military campaign against the Sioux, was a popular Western and won the Spur Award of the Western Writers of America. Other published books include The Hon. Rocky Slade (1957), Target (1964), The Image (1968), and a non-fictional account of his wartime experience, Ultra (1980). Later in life Haines retired to Laguna Niguel in Southern California, and died aboard a cruise ship in 1989.
This collection includes material related to William Wister Haines' literary work. It contains a detailed series of drafts for ten of his novels, published and unpublished, as well as signed first editions of most of the published work, arranged alphabetically by title. The novel drafts, arranged chronologically, are extensive, carefully delineated by version and date, and often accompanied by revealing (and sometimes harshly critical) notes from editors.. Some of the novel drafts also include research material.
In addition, the collection contains a large number of versions of Haines' most successful play, Command Decision -- though these are not as carefully delineated as the novel drafts -- as well as press clippings, photographs, and costume lists for the performances, all of which are arranged chronologically. His unproduced plays are represented only by single drafts.
The collection also contains drafts of Haines' published and unpublished short stories, poems, and magazine articles, though with the exception of several published in The Saturday Evening Post, these are generally represented only by a single draft. These drafts are arranged alphabetically by title. As outlined in the donor correspondence, studio copyright considerations allowed only Haines' unpublished screenplays to be represented in this collection, as well as a teleplay in which he attempted to adapt several of his own short stories into a TV series, arranged alphabetically by title.
Gifts of William Wister Haines, 1961-1969
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Sam Allingham
- Finding Aid Date
- 2016 September 7
- Access Restrictions
The bulk of this collection is open for research use. However, access to original audio/visual materials and computer files is restricted. The Kislak Center will provide access to the information on these materials from duplicate master files. If the original does not already have a copy, it will be sent to an outside vendor for copying. Patrons are financially responsible for the cost. The turnaround time from request to delivery of digital items is about two weeks for up to five items and three to seven weeks for more than five items. Please contact Reprographic Services (email@example.com) for cost estimates and ordering. Once digital items are received, researchers will have access to the files on a dedicated computer in the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center. Researchers should be aware of specifics of copyright law and act accordingly.
- Use Restrictions
Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.