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Epistolary diary : typescript

Identifier: MSS 0099-F0974

Content Description

A fascinating sequence of correspondence from writer John Clellon Holmes, written for and sent to his wife, Shirley. The letters span a period of nine days and form a personal journal, of sorts, sent by Holmes to his wife during a solitary trip to a family cabin in Maine, touching on the daily routine of practical matters, observations about his own health and mental state, his reading, his writing and painting, his responses to the music to which he's been listening, and observations about the world and his friends and contemporaries. His topics range widely, from the mechanics of opening up the cabin and the extrication of his vehicle from a muddy bog, and comments on wildlife and the weather, to far more reflective matters, punctuated with skirmishes with a painful tooth and the "Zen of Mysteriously Malfunctioning Machinery." The daily record continues with an extended account of a late October visit to Provincetown, with mentions of Kerouac, Weldon Kees, and Allen Ginsberg, and some exceptional comments about his affection for New York bars in previous years, and the ghosts that haunted them. The diary presents a lucid and spontaneous record kept during a few days of isolation, with frequent glimpses of self-analysis and literary reflection by the Beat novelist, essayist, and intimate chronicler of his contemporaries and friends: Kerouac, Ginsberg, Cassidy, et al.


  • Creation: 1974 May 18-27


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

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,


8 item (14 pages)


Consists of a sequence of correspondence written by John Clellon Holmes to his wife, Shirley, between May 18-27, 1974, and form a personal journal recording his reflections and experiences during a solitary trip to a family cabin in Maine.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, 2014.

Related Materials

This item forms part of MSS 0099 Miscellaneous Literary and Historical Manuscripts.

Shelving Summary

Box 68, F0974: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by George Apodaca, January 2016.

Finding aid for Epistolary diary : typescript
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2016 January 21
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

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