James Conway collection relating to James T. Farrell and William Targ
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
James T. Farrell (1907-1979) was an American novelist from Chicago, Illinois, born to a working-class Irish-Catholic family. Known as a leading figure for 20th century naturalism in American literature, Farrell's writing career spanned over fifty years, and he is best known for his Studs Lonigan trilogy. For a more detailed biographical note, see the James T. Farrell papers (Ms. Coll. 886).
William Targ (1907-1999) was an American book editor from Chicago, Illinois. He began his career in 1925 at Macmillan Publishers and eventually left to open his own bookstore in 1929. From 1942 to 1964 he worked for World Publishing Company as editor and eventually as editor-in-chief. From 1968 to 1978 he worked for G. P. Putnam's Sons from 1968 to 1978. After retiring in 1978, he founded Targ Editions.
The collection documents personal and professional activities of author James T. Farrell of Chicago, Illinois. The collection contains correspondence, working files and publisher materials, and newspaper clippings and other publicity materials relating to Farrell and his legacy.
The collection includes typescript and manuscript correspondence from 1935 to 1969, primarily between James T. Farrell, author, to William Targ, editor-in-chief of World Publishing Company, including discussions and topics regarding book recommendations, annotated drafts to the introductions to Farrell's books published in 1947 by World Publishing Company, No Star is Lost and My Days of Anger, among various other professional and personal matters. The correspondence between Farrell and Targ reveals the gradual deterioration of their personal and professional relationship, most likely caused by increasing rate of rejection of Farrell's writing since his acclaimed Studs Lonigan trilogy by many publishers including World Publishing Co. and G. P. Putnam's Sons, when Targ was editor-in-chief and editor respectively. Farrell's outgoing manuscript correspondence became increasingly illegible over time, but typescript transcriptions of some of these documents by Targ's secretary and by the collector and donor of the collection, James Conway, are included in the collection. There is also correspondence from Farrell to Charles Dwoskin discussing John S. Sumner's attempted legal suppression of his book, A World I Never Made, where Sumner accused Farrell of contributing to the delinquency of minors, indecency, and blasphemy.
Also included are working files and publisher materials, including an annotated photocopy of "Belgrade Statement," an Omnibookmarks press release regarding Farrell's collection of short stories, An American Dream Girl, and documents related to World Publishing Company sales of books authored by Farrell.
There are also newspaper clippings and other publicity materials relating to James T. Farrell and his legacy, predominantly focusing around his centennial year in 2004, including programs to events in Chicago and Paris. Also included is a black-and-white photograph of a middle-aged Farrell reading in his library.
Sold by James Conway, 2019.
- University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
- Finding Aid Author
- Sam Sfirri
- Finding Aid Date
- 2020 September 9
- Access Restrictions
This collection is available for research use.
- 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.