Jeffrey Bailey collection of James Leo Herlihy papers
Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
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Overview and metadata sections
Jeffrey J. Bailey (1951- ) was an aspiring writer of plays and fiction when he first met James Leo Herlihy in the mid-1970s.
Describing himself at the time as a freelance "literary journalist," Bailey interviewed a number of writers whose work he particularly admired. One such writer was Anaïs Nin, who arranged a meeting between Bailey and American author James Leo Herlihy. From this original contact would come an interview forThe Advocate titled "James Leo Herlihy and the Phenomenon of Love," and a mentor-protege friendship which endured for eighteen years until Herlihy's death in 1993.
Jeffrey Bailey has lived abroad for most of the past four decades— in Italy, France and especially Morocco. He has focused on various writing and translation projects at his home in Casablanca, and often spends the fall semester teaching English at Al Akhawayn University in the Middle Atlas town of Ifrane.
Bailey, Jeffrey. E-mail to Timothy Murray, November 2013.
American author, playwright, and actor James Leo Herlihy (1927-1993) is known for his plays; his novel Midnight Cowboy, which was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film; and his association with Black Mountain College.
After completing high school, Herlihy served in the U.S. Navy. With the benefits earned through the G.I. Bill, Herlihy attended Black Mountain College in North Carolina, in 1947 and 1948. At Black Mountain he studied literature, music, and art (particularly sculpture), with faculty who included M. C. Richards, Merce Cunningham, Anaïs Nin, John Cage, and William De Kooning. Anaïs Nin and M. C. Richards became Herlihy's lifelong friends.
In 1948, Herlihy moved to California and studied at Nin's Pasadena Playhouse College and began his acting career in theaters on the West Coast. Two highlights of his theatrical career were his roles in Edward Albee'sZoo Story (which he performed in Paris and Boston in 1963) and in the film Four Friends (1982).
The Pasadena Playhouse produced Herlihy's first playsStreetlight Sonata (1950) and Moon in Capricorn (1953). In 1953, Herlihy collaborated with his teacher William Noble on the play, Blue Denim, which had a successful run on Broadway in 1958 and was adapted into a film in 1959.
Herlihy was also successful as a fiction writer. In 1952, theParis Review published a short story that would become the title work of Herlihy's 1959 collection, The Sleep of Baby Filbertson and Other Stories. His first novel, All Fall Down (1960), was followed by Midnight Cowboy in 1965, which was later adapted into an Academy Award-winning film starring Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman.
In the late 1960s Herlihy taught acting and writing at many institutions, including playwriting courses at City College, New York (1967-68), and he served as distinguished visiting professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, in 1983.
Bongé, Lyle. "Obituary: James Leo Herlihy."The Independent(London), 29 Oct., 1993: 16.Kendle, Burton S. "James Leo Herlihy,"Contemporary American Dramatists. Ed. K.A. Berney. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. pp. 261-265."James Leo Herlihy, 66, Novelist who wrote Midnight Cowboy."New York Times, 22 Oct., 1993: B9.Olendorf, Donna, ed.Contemporary Authors. Volume.143. Detroit: Gale Research Co, 1994: 191.
The Jeffrey Bailey collection of James Leo Herlihy papers is a combination of correspondence and personal papers originated by American author and actor James Leo Herlihy (1927-1993) and literary papers belonging to Herlihy’s long-time friend and literary executor, American author Jeffrey Bailey.
In 1976, Bailey interviewed Herlihy, which resulted in a lifelong friendship. The interview, subsequently published in the August 25, 1976, issue of theAdvocate, was followed by an intimate and substantial correspondence which continued until Herlihy’s death in 1993.
The arrangement of this collection reflects the two distinct segments of the papers, Series I. James Leo Herlihy, and Series II. Jeffrey Bailey. The first series comprises material related to Herlihy’s acting and writing careers, his correspondence with Bailey and with American author Paul Bowles, and personal papers such as diaries, photographs, and artwork.
Herlihy, who is best remembered for his writing, particularly,Midnight Cowboy (1965), was also an actor and an artist. In addition to programs from his roles in plays at the Pasadena Playhouse and in New York City theaters, photographs and programs document two highlights of Herlihy's theatrical career: his role in Edward Albee's Zoo Story (which he performed in Paris and Boston in 1963) and his character in the motion picture Four Friends (1982). New York photographer Arnold Weissberger captured scenes from Herlihy's Zoo Story stage performance, along with fellow actors Tallulah Bankhead and Joan Blondell, for a photograph album which he gave to Herlihy.
Dating from his days at Black Mountain College in 1948, until his death in 1993, Herlihy sketched and painted. Herlihy’s pencil and charcoal drawings, watercolors, and pastels offer several self-portraits, as well as portraits of others, including one of Marlene Dietrich. Individual works of art and Herlihy’s sketching in some of his diaries (particularly as he traveled), sample his artistic talent.
Programs, reviews, posters, and publicity represent Herlihy’s published work. The few manuscripts found in this collection are untitled stories, a manuscript for what Herlihy described as "The Great Dream," and a folder of miscellaneous writing labeled as his "last creative writing."
The correspondence between Herlihy and Bailey reflects the close friendship that the two men shared for seventeen years. Herlihy and Bailey exchanged news of daily life, as well as accounts of writing projects, such as Bailey's novel "Angel Skin," for which Herlihy offered extensive comment. They reported information about friends, such as James Broughton, James Kirkwood, Lyle Bongé, and Paul Bowles; and shared their personal struggles, whether due to health issues, the deaths of family and/or friends, or just the vagaries of life.
In Herlihy's letters one sees a man who struggled to age gracefully, difficult for a man for whom personal appearance was important, but also a man who displayed great compassion for his friends and family and an ability to be brutally introspective. These strikingly honest and sometimes humorous letters deliver details of travels, critiques of movies and books, and critical reflections on his life and career.
The seven diaries/notebooks, kept by Herlihy between 1982 and 1993 further document the introspective quality of his personality. Herlihy wrote detailed accounts of his dreams and his subsequent analyses of their meaning, ruminations on his relationships and writing, and in October 1993, his final words. Herlihy's diaries also record itineraries and calendars for travels, drafts of letters to friends (such as M. C. Richards), sketches and portraits, quotations from notable persons and personal friends, his belief in the information gained with Ouija boards, recipes, and on one occasion, a record of his thoughts while on drugs.
The Jeffrey Bailey series has two subseries: the first, correspondence, and the second, his writing. Best known for his published interviews with Paul Bowles, Anaïs Nin, and James Leo Herlihy, Bailey has also written a teleplay of Herlihy’sStop, You’re Killing Me, and was, according to correspondence, working on a novel. Drafts of the Nin and Bowles interviews and the teleplay are available in this small sample of Bailey's writing.
Jeffrey Bailey began corresponding with American author Paul Bowles (1910-1999) in 1976, to schedule a visit to Tangier, Morocco, in order to interview him. Following the interview, Bowles's letters to Bailey focused on correcting the manuscripts from the interview and on responding to Bailey's additional questions. His letters occasionally mentioned mutual friends, such as Gavin Lambert, Herlihy, Christopher Isherwood, and Mohammed Mrabet.
In the early 1980s, Bowles wrote of the political turbulence in Morocco and was adamant that the interview avoid commenting on sexuality in Morocco because of possible consequences. Because Paul Bowles was blacklisted following the publication ofLove With a Few Hairs , he worried that he might be refused permission to continue living in the country.
Jeffrey Bailey also sought interviews with a number of other literary notables. Letters from Maya Angelou, Lawrence Durrell, Christopher Isherwood, Gavin Lambert, Anaïs Nin, and James Kirkwood offer varying responses to Bailey's requests. One letter from American actor Charlton Heston was followed by a series of fan club newsletters and photographs of Heston.
The Jeffrey Bailey collection of James Leo Herlihy papers complements the existing collections of Herlihy's papers found in the Manuscript and Archives Department of the University of Delaware Library. The correspondence, diaries, photographs and artwork in this collection make accessible his acting and artistic career and the introspective quality of his personality, as well as adding to an understanding of what motivated his writing.
- Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
- Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS mapcase
Purchase, June 2013.
Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, November 2013.
- Bailey, Jeffrey
- Herlihy, James Leo
- Blondell, Joan
- Broughton, James, 1913-1999
- Dietrich, Marlene
- Bongé, Lyle
- Bankhead, Tallulah, 1902-1968
- Bowles, Paul, 1910-1999
- Heston, Charlton
- Mrabet, Mohammed, 1940-
- Nin, Anaïs, 1903-1977
- Weissberger, Arnold, 1898-1984
- Kirkwood, James, 1924-1989
- Lambert, Gavin
- Isherwood, Christopher, 1904-1986
- Durrell, Lawrence
- Authors, American--20th century
- Artists--United States--20th century
- Dramatists, American--20th century
- Actors--United States--20th century
- Gay men's writings, American
- Dream interpretation--History--20th century
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2013 November 7
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library, http://library.udel.edu/spec/askspec/
Series I. comprises material related to Herlihy's acting and writing careers, his correspondence with Jeffrey Bailey and with American author Paul Bowles, and personal papers such as diaries, photographs, and artwork.
Photographs and programs represent Herlihy's published works, while a small number of manuscripts sample his unpublished work.
See also F13.
See also F6.
Includes the "Talk Show."
A collection of professional and amateur photographs taken of Herlihy from childhood through the 1980s.
Photographer Arnold Weissberger created the album in 1967 as a gift for Herlihy. Includes images from the stage performances ofCrazy October and of Herlihy in Zoo Story . Includes images of Tallulah Bankhead and Joan Blondell.
Includes images of Herlihy, as well as Noel Coward, Edward Albee, Lilla von Saher, Milton Goldman, and Tani Guthrie.
These diaries/notebooks document aspects of Herlihy's travels, personal life and thought processes. They include clippings; itineraries and calendars for travels; drafts of letters to friends (such as M. C. Richards); drawings and portraits by Herlihy; quotations from notable persons and personal friends; names and addresses of friends; and written records of dreams and Herlihy's analyses of them.
Written during Herlihy's summer in Greece.
Includes visits with friends in New York and dreams and writing while high.
Herlihy traveled to Turkey and Morocco in the fall of 1986, visiting Jeff Bailey and Paul Bowles in Morocco. The journal includes Mogreb language notes, dreams, recipes, a hand-drawn map of Morocco, and theological musings. Herlihy also records the impetus for the writing of his playCrazy October , which included direction by a Ouija board.
Most of the journal was recorded from September to October of 1989 while Herlihy was traveling in Spain and France. Included are ink portraits, calendars, and quotations and dreams which include Allen Ginsberg, Black Mountain, and President Ronald Reagan.
Includes one drawing from 1985, one entry from 1989, several entries from 1991; most of the writing is undated. In addition to drawings, quotations, and drafts of letters, there is a piece titled, "My Credo."
Records experiences in Bali, as well as thoughts and dreams, drafts of letters to friends, and comments on other writers.
Writing in the moments of Herlihy's own death.
Pencil, ink, and watercolor portraits.Physical Description
With a postcard of Dietrich.Physical Description
One item may be a self-portrait.Physical Description
Many of the pieces created by others were given to Herlihy as gifts from the artists.
Signed and dated copper engraving.Physical Description
Includes "The Scholar-Critic," "Palace in a Shell," and one of a plant sprite inscribed to Herlihy. All are signed and dated by Josephson.Physical Description
Inscribed to Herlihy by Maçon in Paris, 1954.Physical Description
Postcard announcement.Physical Description
Collage by Singer, using a photograph by Peter Hujar.Physical Description
This collection of Bailey's literary papers document his interviews and own writing.
The letters from Bowles focus on editing the manuscripts of the interview conducted by Bailey.
Most of these letters are in response to Bailey's requests for an interview.
Includes one personal letter to Bailey, as well as fan club letters and photographs of Heston.
Written by Joseph Curtis for Logan.
Includes a draft of Bailey's interview with Nin which was corrected and edited by Nin.
In addition to the Bowles interview in this series, a draft of the Nin interview is available in F76.
With correspondence from theParis Review , which published the interview in the fall of 1981.