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Doug Smith collection of Mark Harris correspondence, manuscripts, and ephemera


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

American novelist and journalist Mark Harris (1922-2007) is perhaps best known for his novel

Bang the Drum Slowly (1956), the second volume in his trilogy devoted to the fictional baseball player, Henry Wiggen. Harris also adapted Bang the Drum Slowly into a screenplay for the 1973 movie of the same name. In addition to his work as a novelist, Mark Harris has had a productive career in a variety of other literary genres, including literary criticism, biography, and autobiography. Harris remained an active journalist throughout his lifetime.

American author Mark Harris (1922-2007) wrote approximately 34 letters to close friend sportswriter Doug Smith between 1996 and 2007, in which he included details about his daily life and reflections on his own writing. The correspondence includes some of Doug Smith's outgoing letters to Mark and Josephine Harris, and most of the notes and greeting cards dating between 2005 and 2007 were written by Josephine Harris. The collection also includes an undated typescript of

The Girl With Greatest Legs with minor autograph corrections, as well as biographical information, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, information on Harris's final illness, and a t-shirt from Harris's memorial service, an event at which Smith spoke.

The collection reflects a warm and playful correspondence and close friendship between Harris and Doug and Pauline (Polly) Smith, evidenced by the details Harris shared about his life, his family, and his final illness.

The Girl With Greatest Legs is an apparently unpublished novel by Harris, to which he refers throughout the correspondence.

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons (6 inches)

Box 2: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (17 inches)

Gift of Doug Smith, February 2016.

Processed and encoded by Sarah Iuli, March 2016.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2016 March 18
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

Correspondence, 1996-1999.
Box 1 Folder F1
Correspondence, 2000-2002.
Box 1 Folder F2
Correspondence, 2003-2004.
Box 1 Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Also included is a letter from University of Nebraska Press regarding 2003 re-issue of

Bang the Drum Slowly and the Southpaw, with invoices for review copies that were sent to Doug Smith.
Correspondence, 2005-2007.
Box 1 Folder F4
Correspondence, undated.
Box 1 Folder F5
Girl With Greatest Legs typescript (1 of 3).
Box 1 Folder F6
Girl With Greatest Legs typescript (2 of 3).
Box 1 Folder F7
Girl With Greatest Legs typescript (3 of 3).
Box 1 Folder F8
Ephemera and clippings , 2000-2003.
Box 1 Folder F9
Material related to Mark Harris's illness and memorial service.
Box 1 Folder F10

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