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Nancy Hoyt Paul Bowles collection

Identifier: MSS 0486

Scope and Contents

The Nancy Hoyt Paul Bowles Collection contains .6 linear feet of correspondence, periodicals, journals, printed works, phonographs, news clippings, and ephemera spanning the dates of 1943 – 1994. The archive comprises the miscellaney of Hoyt’s extensive Bowles collection and represents a cross section of Bowles’s activities as a writer, contributor, and editor for periodicals and literary journals, primarily during the 1950s- 1970s. The Nancy Hoyt collection complements the University of Delaware Library’s extensive holdings of Paul Bowles materials. This manuscripts component of Ms. Hoyt’s gift is but a small part of the larger Bowles collection that she donated to the University of Delaware Library in 2002. The books and other printed materials from her Bowles collection have been cataloged and added to Printed Collections in the Special Collections Department.

The collection is organized according to genre and grouped into five series. Series I. Correspondence comprises collected samples of the incoming and outgoing correspondence of Paul Bowles, including outgoing correspondence of Jane Bowles. Included are letters from Bowles to British-Canadian author Brion Gysin and the American publisher-editor Daniel Halpern; a group of letters between Bowles and Arthur and Glee Knight concerning Bowles’s contribution to the Knights’ The Beat Book (1974); and several letters to little magazine publisher Irving Stettner (Stroker), five of which are from Mohammed Mrabet, as transcribed by Bowles. The Jane Bowles correspondence includes a letter written to William Saroyan and a banking document, both in Jane Bowles’s hand.

Series II. Manuscripts includes a typescript photocopy of Bowles’s translation of Léon Leal’s story “In the Oasis” and the original typescript for Bowles’s story “Pastor Dowe at Tacaté” (1949), which appeared in Mademoiselle prior to the publication of The Sheltering Sky.

Series III. Journals and Printed works contains published works by or about Paul Bowles. The series is organized according to the title of the publication, and includes well-known literary journals such as The American Mercury, Evergreen Review, The Paris Review, The Partisan Review, and Transition, as well as several smaller journals, including Big Table and Zero

Series IV. Periodicals contains six issues of View, for which Bowles was a contributor and guest editor during the mid 1940s, and one issue of Holiday from 1953.

Series V. Ephemera comprises a 1990 exhibition poster from the University of Texas at Austin and miscellaneous news clippings (1986 – 1994 ) related to Bowles.

Series VI. Media comprises two phonograph records of Bowles reading his work.


  • Creation: 1943-1994

Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Information

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 Department, University of Delaware Library,

Paul Bowles

The American composer and author Paul Frederic Bowles was born in New York City on December 30, 1910; he died in Tangiers, Morocco, November 18, 1999. Bowles was published at age seventeen, abandoned college, and in 1929 began his life of travels with a trip to Paris, where he hoped to establish himself as a poet. Back in New York in 1930, he studied composition with Aaron Copland, whom he also accompanied to Yaddo in Sarasota Springs, New York, and Paris, Berlin, and Tangier. With the support of Copland and Virgil Thomson, Bowles found work in New York writing incidental music and scores for ballet and theater. His successful career as a composer took off in the Depression with work for the Federal Theater Project (including music for Orson Welles’s Horse Eats Hat) and the Federal Music Project. Bowles became one of the preeminent composers of American theater music, producing works for William Saroyan, Tennessee Williams, and others. During the 1990s, a resurgence of interest in Bowles’s music culminated in a number of major concerts and performances in the United States and Europe. In addition, a new generation of musicians released several well-received recordings of Bowles’s compositions.

In 1938, Paul Bowles married the aspiring writer Jane Auer, who shortly achieved critical acclaim for her first novel, Two Serious Ladies (1943). Inspired by his wife’s success and her dedication to writing, Bowles began his own career as an author, eventually surpassing his already successful reputation as a composer. Since the 1940s, he produced numerous works of fiction, essays, travel writing, poems, autobiographical pieces, and other works. Among Bowles’s best-known fictional works are the novels The Sheltering Sky (1949), Let It Come Down (1952), The Spider’s House (1955); and an early short story collection, The Delicate Prey and Other Stories (1950). A 1989 reprint of The Sheltering Sky and Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1990 film version of the novel, starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich, revived international interest in Bowles, the writer.

Bowles is equally known as a prolific translator. He translated Jean-Paul Sartre’s Huis Clos, giving the play its English title “No Exit” (1946), and his translation remains the standard version for English language productions. During the 1940s, Bowles translated the poems and stories of a wide variety of European and Latin American authors. Bowles taped and transcribed from the Moghrebi tales by Mohammed Mrabet and several other Moroccan story tellers; and his translations have broadened readership of Guatemalan author Rodrigo Rey Rosa. Bowles translated several works related to North African culture and geography, and generously introduced and prefaced photographic collections, travel writing, and stories by other authors who share those interests.

Paul and Jane Bowles spent much of their married life traveling throughout the world and in the late 1940s made Tangier, Morocco, their permanent home. Major figures in the world of letters and the arts and international “society” frequently visited them there. Jane Bowles died in 1973, and Bowles continued to reside in Tangier until his death on November 18, 1999.

Miller, Jeffrey. Paul Bowles: A Descriptive Bibliography. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Black Sparrow Press, 1986.Sawyer-Lauçanno, Christopher. An Invisible Spectator: A Biography of Paul Bowles. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1989.

Nancy Hoyt

The San Francisco bibliophile and collector Nancy Hoyt built a comprehensive collection of the works of Jane and Paul Bowles, including variant and later editions of most titles, anthology and periodical appearances, translations, printed music, and audio recordings. Ms. Hoyt is a member and former director of the Book Club of California.


.6 linear foot (2 boxes)

1 oversize removal

2 phonograph record


The Nancy Hoyt Paul Bowles collection consists of various written material by or about Paul Bowles.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Nancy Hoyt, May 2002

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0164 Paul Bowles collection

MSS 0324 Paul Bowles letters to John Martin

MSS 0323 Paul Bowles letters to William Saroyan

MSS 0163 Paul Bowles papers

MSS 0165 Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno papers related to Paul Bowles

MSS 0487 Irene Herrmann Paul Bowles music collection

MSS 0615 Owsley Brown Night Waltz archive

Shelving Summary

Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

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

Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (32 inches)

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections staff, January 2004. Encoded by Caitlin Farthing (2013) and Jaime Margalotti, November 2019. Additional encoding by Britney Henry, July 2023.

Finding aid for Nancy Hoyt Paul Bowles collection
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2019 November
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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