Seven-Page Typed Essay on George Bernard Shaw, written by William Saroyan in London on “October 4, 1944, 12:15 A.M.” With the author's holograph corrections (both additions and deletions) throughout. Unpublished.
Manuscript preceded by a cover sheet on which Saroyan has typed, “This piece will cost The New York Times one thousand dollars because it took me three hours to write it and I like to get three hundred thirty three dollars thirty three and a third cents per hour, because I think it's worth it, because I think The New York Times can afford it, and because that's how much I want for it.”
The essay, which details a brief meeting with Shaw (“All told I don't suppose I spent more than forty five minutes with Shaw”), rambles from Saroyan's musings on his own life to an appraisal of the older playwright. Over the course of some 2500 words Saroyan carries on a stream-of-consciousness conversation on Shaw's politics, spirituality and outspokenness, concluding, “It is no good expecting great men to be great. That exertion they reserve for God. Consequently I did not expect to find George Bernard Shaw great. I was not disappointed. He was not great.”
2. Two Letters:
Four-Page Typed Letter to Whit Wellman at the Five Star Weekly in San Francisco dated April 16, 1937. Author's corrections throughout. Signed by Saroyan. The letter is in response to a previous letter from Wellman that requested material for a piece on “How They Write.” Saroyan discusses his fourth book (Little Children), the hundreds of stories he has written and the publications that have printed his stories. He goes on about how and when he writes, noting, “I spend most of my time loafing.”
Letter from Whit Wellman to Saroyan, dated June 15, 2937, on Five Star Weekly letterhead apologizing for not using more of the material Saroyan sent him. Both letters have rusty paper clip marks, otherwise fine.
3. Telegram, Two Notes and a Letter:
Telegram from Saroyan to Arnold Gingrich, founder and editor of Esquire Magazine, dated November 26, 1937. Saroyan rejects Esquire's offer of $150 for one of his stories suggesting it is “either charity or highway robbery” and asks for $500 for a story. One correction in Saroyan's hand. Telegram has small brown stain at upper left.
Note from Saroyan to Gingrich, dated December 24, 1937, in which Saroyan again asks for $500 a story or $200 if they want one per month or at least 8 a year. Signed by Saroyan. A note written vertically along the side states “What you need is an alienist,” with the initials A.G. In envelope with Saroyan's address in San Francisco but no postmark. Paper clip mark and light brown spot on envelope.
Note from Gingrich to Saroyan with envelope postmarked December 28, 1937. Gingrich asks Saroyan to keep sending him scripts. On 3.5X6” note paper with Esquire letterhead.
Two-Page Letter from Saroyan to Gingrich dated December 31, 1937. There are two drafts of the letter arguing about Gingrich's offers and Saroyan's prices for his stories. The first letter, marked "Final" in pen at the top of page one is signed “Bill.” The second draft is signed "Bill Saroyan."
4. Two Letters:
Letter from Saroyan to the editor of the New Yorker, dated August 29, 1938 and date stamped August 31, 1938. In this letter Saroyan asks for bad writings by good writers because he is editing An Anthology of Lousy Writing. In Saroyan's funny stream-of-consciousness style, he lays out the project that will be of “far-reaching importance.” Signed William Saroyan. Some paper clip marks and creases.
Letter to Saroyan from William Maxwell, author and fiction editor of the New Yorker for forty years (1936-1975) dated August 31, 1938. Maxwell tells Saroyan that Mr. Ross (Harold Ross, founder and editor of the New Yorker) doesn't think the letters to the editor department is the place for Saroyan's letter, but they would like more of Saroyan's stories. On New Yorker letterhead. Some creasing and paper clip marks.
5. Two Notes:
Note to Saroyan from Louis Adamic, author and editor of Common Ground magazine, dated October 28, 1938, asking about Saroyan's "new S.F. book.”
Note to Saroyan from Louis Adamic dated September 5, 1941 with a flyer about Adamic's latest book Two-Way Passage that “will appeal to every man or woman in the United States except Hitler's agents.” Paper clip marks.
Letter to Saroyan from M.A. Penny, manager of Penny-Newman Grain Co. in Fresno, California, dated January 20, 1941, about the possibility of spending an hour with Saroyan and exchanging ideas. Some creasing and small stains.
7. Two Letters:
Letter to Saroyan from Margaret Anderson, managing editor of Common Ground, dated March 14, 1941, discussing Saroyan's work in their publication and commenting on Saroyan's radio play.
Letter to Saroyan from Margaret Anderson dated December 18, 1941, asking Saroyan for a contribution to a project for Common Ground about immigrant mothers. One-inch tear at upper left of page, not affecting text.
Letter to Saroyan from M. Veradzents, Asbarez Publishing Company, dated 25 October 1941. Veradzents asks Saroyan to look over and edit some work.
Letter to Saroyan from Harold Clurman, American theater director and drama critic, dated August 24, 1948. Clurman read Saroyan's play Don't Go Away Mad and likes it but thinks it is “absurd to think of it as a play for Broadway. To present it on Broadway is actually to disgrace the play.” Clurman thinks it should be produced someplace like the New Stages or the Experimental Theatre. The letter has one small paper clip crease.
10. Two Letters:
Letter to Saroyan from Leland Hayward, Broadway and Hollywood producer, dated October 7, 1948. Like Clurman, Hayward thinks Don't Go Away Mad is not for Broadway. Hayward thinks it is “too sordid a subject to get people into the theatre.” Hayward tells Saroyan he is his favorite author in the world.
Letter from Saroyan to Leland Hayward, dated October 9, 1948, wherein Saroyan talks about the theater; seeing Peer Gynt at the Old Vic, The Old Vic's interest in his plays and his disagreement with Hayward about Don't Go Away Mad not being right for Broadway. Signed Bill Saroyan.
Letter from Saroyan to George Gode c/o Harold Matson, Saroyan's literary agent, dated March 6, 1949. Saroyan tells Gode that Violet Caine O'Brien may bring her manuscripts to him to read. Saroyan tells O'Brien that he does not read manuscripts so he gave O'Brien Gode's name. On 5 x 8 inch paper with Saroyan printed in large red block letters at top. Unsigned.
12. Two Telegrams:
Western Union Telegram to Saroyan from Bishop Arthur W. Moulton dated March 18, 1949. Moulton, Episcopal Bishop, asks Saroyan to join him and others in a statement to the State Department protesting the State Department's “action in pre-judging the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace.”
Western Union Telegram to Saroyan from Hanna Dorner, Executive Director NCASP (National Council of Arts, Sciences & Professions), dated March 29, 1949. Dorner asks Saroyan to wire Secretary Acheson asking him to reverse his order to the State Department prohibiting the NCASP's foreign guests from attending meetings for the Cultural and Scientific Conference for World Peace. This may be Hannah Dorner Weinstein, journalist and left-wing political activist who moved to England to avoid McCarthyism. She became a television producer in London and hired blacklisted American writers.
13. Two Notes:
Handwritten note from Saroyan to Sam on Hotel Fresno Letterhead, n.d. Saroyan asks Sam to wait for him if he's out, signed Bill S. Penciled note at bottom reads “We went out for a snack - will be back soon. Car was good. God was bad. He had traffic intercept us. S+S.L”
Handwritten note to Saroyan from Sam, saying he waited until 1:30 and would get in touch with him on Tuesday in San Francisco.
14. Two 8x10 inch photographs of Saroyan. Stamps on back of both photos say "PHOTO BY FIKRET OTYAM, Ankara/Turkey” with date (May 1, 1964) and subject line:
Saroyan getting his shoes shined on the street.
Saroyan in a field leaning on an ox, that is yoked to a second ox with Saroyan's hat hanging from its horn. vg. Item #32082