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William G. Thompson Briarwood Writers' Alliance correspondence and publicity records


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. 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 G. Thompson (1922-2009) incorporated the Briarwood Writers' Alliance, Inc. on July 1, 1987, in Needham, Massachusetts.

Prior to creating the Briarwood Writers' Alliance, William Thompson served in the U. S. Army during World War II, deployed with the Combat Engineers in Europe and the Pacific. Following his release from the military, Thompson worked in radio broadcasting, at stations in North Adams and Taunton, Massachusetts, and later for RCA Victor Records. Thompson worked as a literary representative for Lordly and Dame, in Boston, Massachusetts until 1987.

Following his employment at Lordly and Dame, Thompson founded his own company, Briarwood Writers' Alliance, Inc. As Briarwood's President, Thompson represented more than 150 writers and poets, including Pulitzer and Nobel prize winners, as well as a few performers. Thompson booked readings, lectures, events for colleges and universities, and literary gatherings.

Through his work Thompson developed close working relationships with numerous twentieth-century poets and writers, including the likes of Margaret Atwood, Eavan Boland, Donald Hall, Joy Harjo, Marge Piercy, W. D. Snodgrass, and Stephen Spender. The company was voluntarily dissolved in the late 2000s prior to Thompson's death in 2009.

"William G. Thompson,"The Needham Times, January 12-19, 2010. (accessed December 16, 2013).Wysak Company Profile for Briarwood Writers' Alliance, Inc. (accessed December 16, 2013).Additional information derived from the Boston Book Company & Book Annex collection description.

William G. Thompson as President of the Briarwood Writers' Alliance, Inc., represented more than 150 writers, poets, and performers by booking lectures and readings at educational institutions, literary gatherings, and community events.

William G. Thompson Briarwood Writers' Alliance correspondence and publicity records comprise eight linear feet of documents created between 1964 and 2007. The collection is arranged in two series, I. Correspondence and publicity files and II. Financial papers.

Over eighty percent of the collection is part of the Series I.A. Authors, which consists of correspondence between Thompson and the authors he represented; correspondence with some of the authors' publishers; the publicity packets sent by publishers, authors, or agents; as well as clippings and reviews gathered by Thompson. Thompson used the biographical sketches, photographs, dust jackets, press releases, and other publicity sent to him to create brochures and flyers used to promote his clientele to universities and other organizations for speaking and reading engagements. Brochures and flyers in various states, from mock-ups to final product, are present in the files. The author files also include itineraries for an author's speaking tours, contracts, letters of recommendation following an author's successful visit, publishers' catalogs, and books written by the authors.

Obviously the authors' files were Thompson's working file for each client. The other segments of the collection, I. B. Events, geographical and miscellaneous correspondence, and the small second series II. Financial papers, provide supporting information. Series I. B. Events, geographical and miscellaneous correspondence comprises ten folders of files and is arranged alphabetically by event or state, from the Bumbershoot Festival to the state of Wisconsin. Correspondence with institutions and event organizers details the negotiation for speaking engagements and the arrangements for the visits.

Series II. Financial papers, is a small series comprising Thompson's correspondence with his accountant, Frank McNutley regarding a tax issue and a file of contracts for speaking engagements. The contracts are arranged in contract number order and are dated between 1987 and 1990.

Although this collection is an agent's working file, the personable correspondence between Thompson and various authors (for example, Donald Hall, Robert Creeley, and Margaret Atwood) suggests a mutual respect and friendship between Thompson and his clients. The correspondence reveals Thompson's busy schedule juggling campus appearances, promoting poets and poetry, keeping informed about publishing trends, and ensuring that his authors and performers are well treated during their travels and engagements. This collection also reveals William Thompson as an advocate for poets and poetry.

  1. Boxes 1-8: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
  2. Box 9: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (24 inches)

Purchase, October 2013.

Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, December 2013.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2013 December 23
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,

Collection Inventory

Scope and Contents

Files include correspondence between Thompson and the author, as well as photographs, clippings, programs from events, letters of praise from institutions or event organizers, mock-ups of flyers promoting the authors, schedules and itineraries, biographical information, and some contracts. Frequently the information and advertising sent by an author's publisher, which included publicity photographs, reviews, clippings, dust jackets, press releases, and endorsements, were incorporated into the flyers produced by Briarwood. There is also an occasional offprint, book, or multimedia work by the author.

Achebe, Chinua, 1988-1993.
Box 1 Folder F1
Adams, Alice, 1987-1993.
Box 1 Folder F2
Agosin, Marjorie, 1998-2001.
Box 1 Folder F3
Aiken, Joan, 1988.
Box 1 Folder F4
Akhmadulina, Bella and Messerer, Boris, 1990-1991.
Box 1 Folder F5
Aksyonov, Vassily, 1985-1990.
Box 1 Folder F6
Alexie, Sherman, 1996-1997.
Box 1 Folder F7
Allen, Paula Gunn, 1991-1992.
Box 1 Folder F8
Allison, Dorothy, 1988-1996.
Box 1 Folder F9
Amichai, Yehuda, 1990.
Box 1 Folder F10
Atwood, Margaret, 1978-1988.
Box 1 Folder F11
Atwood, Margaret, 1980-1986.
Box 1 Folder F12
Bang, Mary Jo, 2001.
Box 1 Folder F13
Banks, Russell, 1985-1998.
Box 1 Folder F14
Banks, Russell, 1986-1991.
Box 1 Folder F15
Baraka, Amiri, 1984-2002.
Box 1 Folder F16
Barnes, Jim, 1988.
Box 1 Folder F17
Barnestone, Willis, 1972-1980.
Box 1 Folder F18
Barth, John, 1984-2004.
Box 1 Folder F19
Barthelme, Frederick, 1989.
Box 1 Folder F20
Baxter, Charles, 1992-1995.
Box 1 Folder F21
Bell, Marvin, 1985-1997.
Box 1 Folder F22
Belli, Gioconda, 1995-1999.
Box 1 Folder F23
Benedict, Elizabeth, 1989.
Box 1 Folder F24
Bernays, Anne, 1980-1991.
Box 1 Folder F25
Bhatt, Sujata, 1990.
Box 1 Folder F26
Bly, Carol, 1989-1994.
Box 1 Folder F27
Boland, Eavan, 1985-2007.
Box 1 Folder F28
Boland, Eavan, 1994-2007.
Box 2 Folder F29
Brown, Rosellen, 1985-2000.
Box 2 Folder F30
Bruchac, Joseph, 1997-2003.
Box 2 Folder F31
Busch, Frederick, 1989-1999.
Box 2 Folder F32
Cassells, Cyrus, 1991-1997.
Box 2 Folder F33
Castedo, Elena, 1990-1991.
Box 2 Folder F34
Chang, Lan Samantha, 1998-2001.
Box 2 Folder F35
Chin, Frank, 1988-2003.
Box 2 Folder F36
Scope and Contents

Includes a typescript draft for "Storyteller."

Chin, Marilyn, 1994-2003.
Box 2 Folder F37
Christopher, Nicholas, 1982-2000.
Box 2 Folder F38
Cisneros, Sandra, 1991-1992.
Box 2 Folder F39
Clifton, Lucille, 1988-1993.
Box 2 Folder F40
Coover, Robert, 1988-2006.
Box 2 Folder F41
Cortez, Jayne, 1994-2001.
Box 2 Folder F42
Creeley, Robert, 1984-2003.
Box 2 Folder F43
Creeley, Robert, 1982-1999.
Box 2 Folder F44
Creeley, Robert, 1979-1999.
Box 2 Folder F45
Crews, Henry, 1990-1992.
Box 2 Folder F46
Dahl, Roald, 1989.
Box 2 Folder F47
Delany, Samuel, 1975-1999.
Box 2 Folder F48
Derricotte, Toi, 1983-2007.
Box 2 Folder F49
Di Prima, Diane, 1990.
Box 2 Folder F50
Dorfman, Ariel, 1990-1992.
Box 3 Folder F51
Dove, Rita, 1987-1999.
Box 3 Folder F52
Dragonwagon, Crescent, 1989-1991.
Box 3 Folder F53
Espada, Martin, 1990-2007.
Box 3 Folder F54
Espada, Martin, 1989-2006.
Box 3 Folder F55
Featherstone, Joanna, 1971-1973.
Box 3 Folder F56
Feinstein, Elaine, 1982-1990.
Box 3 Folder F57
Ferlinghetti, Lawrence, 1988-1989.
Box 3 Folder F58
Ferrell, Anderson, 1985-1990.
Box 3 Folder F59
Finkel, Donald and Urdang, Constance, 1969-1980.
Box 3 Folder F60
Flournoy, Valerie, 1987-1997.
Box 3 Folder F61
Forche, Carolyn, 1981-2003.
Box 3 Folder F62
Forche, Carolyn, 1982-1993.
Box 3 Folder F63
Fort, Charles, 1989-1991.
Box 3 Folder F64
Freed, Lynn, 1986-2000.
Box 3 Folder F65
Friman, Alice, 1992.
Box 3 Folder F66
Gilbert, Sandra and Gubar, Susan, 1987-1999.
Box 3 Folder F67
Gioia, Dana, 1992-2001.
Box 3 Folder F68
Glass, Julia, 2003-2004.
Box 3 Folder F69
Golden, Marita, 1986-2004.
Box 3 Folder F70
Grafton, Sue, 1995.
Box 3 Folder F71
Graham, Jorie, 1996-1997.
Box 3 Folder F72
Grau, Shirley Ann, 1964-1989.
Box 3 Folder F73
Griffin, Susan, 1985-2001.
Box 3 Folder F74
Gubar, Susan see Gilbert, Sandra, 1987-1999.
Box 3 Folder F67
Hall, Donald, 1972-2003.
Box 3 Folder F75
Hall, Donald, 1969-1993.
Box 4 Folder F76
Hall, Donald, 1975-1989.
Box 4 Folder F77
Harjo, Joy, 1989-1997.
Box 4 Folder F78
Harjo, Joy, 1989-1997.
Box 4 Folder F79
Harjo, Joy, 1992-1998.
Box 4 Folder F80
Hawkes, John, 1987-1990.
Box 4 Folder F81
Hearon, Shelby, 1984-2000.
Box 4 Folder F82
Hearon, Shelby, 1992-2007.
Box 4 Folder F83
Hearon, Shelby, 1984-2001.
Box 4 Folder F84
Heat-Moon, William, 1992.
Box 4 Folder F85
Heinemann, Larry, 1987-2003.
Box 4 Folder F86
Hempel, Amy, 1985-1999.
Box 4 Folder F87
Herrera, Juan Felipe, 1985-2008.
Box 4 Folder F88
Hijuelos, Oscar, 1989-2002.
Box 4 Folder F89
Hillerman, Tony, 1988-1990.
Box 4 Folder F90
Hirsch, Edward, 1989-2004.
Box 4 Folder F91
Hongo, Garrett, 1995-2003.
Box 4 Folder F92
Howe, Marie, 1997-2001.
Box 4 Folder F93
Hower, Edward see Lurie, Alison, 1984-2002.
Box 6 Folder F124
Humphreys, Josephine, 1989-1990.
Box 4 Folder F94
Ignatiev, Noel, 1994-1998.
Box 4 Folder F95
Inez, Colette, 1972-1999.
Box 4 Folder F96
Inez, Colette, 1999-2005.
Box 4 Folder F97
Jacobs, Diane, 1981-1982.
Box 5 Folder F98
Jen, Gish, 1993-1999.
Box 5 Folder F99
Johnson, Diane, 1985-1986.
Box 5 Folder F100
Kaplan, Justin, 1980-1991.
Box 5 Folder F101
Kelly, Robert, 1985-1995.
Box 5 Folder F102
Kinnell, Galway, 1977-2003.
Box 5 Folder F103
Kinsella, W. P., 1988-1993.
Box 5 Folder F104
Kinsella, W. P., 1981-2004.
Box 5 Folder F105
Kinsella, W. P., 1986-2003.
Box 5 Folder F106
Kizer, Carolyn, 1985-2004.
Box 5 Folder F107
Kleinzahler, August, 1987-1999.
Box 5 Folder F108
Komunyakaa, Yusef, 1993-2000.
Box 5 Folder F109
Kraft, Eric, 1983-2002.
Box 5 Folder F110
Kraft, Eric, 1984-1992.
Box 5 Folder F111
Kumin, Maxine, 1974-1992.
Box 5 Folder F112
Lau, Evelyn, 1993-2001.
Box 5 Folder F113
Laughlin, James, 1980-1990.
Box 5 Folder F114
Lazard, Naomi, 1967-1983.
Box 5 Folder F115
Lederer, William J., 1973.
Box 5 Folder F116
Lemann, Nancy, 1985-1992.
Box 5 Folder F117
Levertov, Denise, 1989-1990.
Box 5 Folder F118
Lifshin, Lyn, 1975-1978.
Box 5 Folder F119
Lim, Genny, 1991-1999.
Box 5 Folder F120
Lindsay, Nicholas C., 1968-1978.
Box 6 Folder F121
Lish, Gordon, 1988-1989.
Box 6 Folder F122
Lott, Bret, 1987-1989.
Box 6 Folder F123
Lurie, Alison and Hower, Edward, 1984-2002.
Box 6 Folder F124
MacBeth, George, 1990.
Box 6 Folder F125
Madhubuti, Haki R., 1986-1990.
Box 6 Folder F126
Major, Devorah, 1995-2002.
Box 6 Folder F127
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia, 1982-1992.
Box 6 Folder F128
Marshall, Paule, 1969-1992.
Box 6 Folder F129
Martin, Valerie, 1979-2003.
Box 6 Folder F130
McNally, Terrence, 1988.
Box 6 Folder F131
Meinke, Peter, 1997.
Box 6 Folder F132
Merwin, W. S., 1977-1990.
Box 6 Folder F133
Messerer, Boris see Akhmadulina, Bella, 1990-1991.
Box 1 Folder F5
Miner, Valerie, 1987-1998.
Box 6 Folder F134
Mitchell, Adrian, 1982-1990.
Box 6 Folder F135
Mitford, Jessica, 1979-1992.
Box 6 Folder F136
Mukherjee, Bharati, 1993-1994.
Box 6 Folder F137
Munro, Alice, 1990-1991.
Box 6 Folder F138
Mura, David, 1995-2003.
Box 6 Folder F139
Naylor, Gloria, 1984-1988.
Box 6 Folder F140
Nelson, Marilyn, 1998-2006.
Box 6 Folder F141
Nye, Naomi, 1997-1999.
Box 6 Folder F142
Ochester, Ed, 1992.
Box 6 Folder F143
Ojaide, Tanure, 1989-1990.
Box 6 Folder F144
Olmstead, Robert, 1987-1990.
Box 6 Folder F145
Ondaatje, Michael, 1979-1997.
Box 6 Folder F146
Ondaatje, Michael, 1981-1997.
Box 6 Folder F147
Ortiz, Simon J., 1984-1988.
Box 6 Folder F148
Ostriker, Alicia, 1986-2007.
Box 6 Folder F149
Oz, Amos, 1991-1994.
Box 6 Folder F150
Paley, Grace, 1995-2003.
Box 6 Folder F151
Paretsky, Sara, 1995.
Box 6 Folder F152
Pastan, Linda, 1978-2007.
Box 7 Folder F153
Pate, Alexs, 1994-1997.
Box 7 Folder F154
Peacock, Molly, 1981-1998.
Box 7 Folder F155
Pearlman,. Mickey, 1992-1995.
Box 7 Folder F156
Peck, Richard, 1982-2003.
Box 7 Folder F157
Perkins, Robert, 1988-1991.
Box 7 Folder F158
Phillips, Jayne Anne, 2000-2001.
Box 7 Folder F159
Piercy, Marge and Wood, Ira, 2001-2006.
Box 7 Folder F160
Piercy, Marge, 1980-2001.
Box 7 Folder F161
Pinkney, Jerry, 1989-1993.
Box 7 Folder F162
Plumly, Stanley, 1977-1997.
Box 7 Folder F163
Pratt, Minnie Bruce, 1999-2001.
Box 7 Folder F164
Ray, David and Judy, 1977-1990.
Box 7 Folder F165
Reeve, F. D., 1990-1991.
Box 7 Folder F166
Rich, Adrienne, 1976-1989.
Box 7 Folder F167
Richard, Mark, 1989-1994.
Box 7 Folder F168
Ringgold, Faith, 1989-1993.
Box 7 Folder F169
Robinson, Marilynne, 1985-1989.
Box 7 Folder F170
Rudman, Mark, 1995-1997.
Box 7 Folder F171
Rukeyser, Muriel, 1971-1980.
Box 7 Folder F172
Sanchez, Thomas, 1989-1990.
Box 7 Folder F173
Sanders, Ed, 1985-1992.
Box 7 Folder F174
Schaeffer, Susan Fromberg, 1976-2004.
Box 7 Folder F175
Schwartz, Lynne Sharon, 1980-2002.
Box 7 Folder F176
Schulman, Alix Kates, 1987.
Box 7 Folder F177
Schultz, Philip, 1978-1985.
Box 7 Folder F178
Simon, John, 1970-1983.
Box 7 Folder F179
Simpson, Louis, 1984-1990.
Box 7 Folder F180
Skvorecky, Josef, 1990-1991.
Box 8 Folder F181
Smith, Dave, 1989-1990.
Box 8 Folder F182
Smith, William Jay, 1971-1982.
Box 8 Folder F183
Snodgrass, W. D., 1978-2003.
Box 8 Folder F184
Spender, Sir Stephen, 1978-1988.
Box 8 Folder F185
Stitt, Peter, 1985.
Box 8 Folder F186
Urdang, Constance see Finkel, Donald, 1969-1980.
Box 3 Folder F60
Wilbur, Richard, 1989-2000.
Box 8 Folder F187
Wood, Ira see Piercy, Marge, 2001-2006.
Box 7 Folder F160
Scope and Contents

Arranged alphabetically by folder titled assigned by Thompson.

Bumbershoot Festival, 1986-2000.
Box 8 Folder F188
Children's authors, 1990-1991.
Box 8 Folder F189
Dallas [Texas], 1972-1993.
Box 8 Folder F190
Texas, 1988-2004.
Box 8 Folder F191
Texas State, 1978-1992.
Box 8 Folder F192
Utah, 1988-2000.
Box 8 Folder F193
Vermont, 1990-1992.
Box 8 Folder F194
Virginia, 1988-2002.
Box 8 Folder F195
Washington, 1988-2000.
Box 8 Folder F196
West Virginia, 1988-1999.
Box 8 Folder F197
Wisconsin, 1986-2001.
Box 8 Folder F198

McNutley, Frank, 1990-1992.
Box 8 Folder F199
Contracts, 1987-1990.
Box 8 Folder F200
Scope and Contents

Arranged in contract number order.

Print, Suggest