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American Literature records, 1927-2000s 43 Linear Feet — 32,075 items

The earliest documents date from 1927, the year before the first issue was published. New material will continue to arrive as the journal's office deems files inactive. The bulk of the journal's papers consists of correspondence and editorial comments on submitted articles.

Aside from a relatively few submissions which seem to have been rejected after a single reading by the chair or other in-house editor (because they were too long or clearly unsuitable for the journal), articles were sent out to at least two members of the Editorial Board. They sent back written comments and a recommendation (reject, accept, accept pending revision). These responses make up the Editorial Comments Series(1928-1983) and a portion of the Correspondence and Editorial comments Series(1984-1989). By the late 1980s, the journal was receiving several hundred submissions each year, but the editorial comments suggest that the proportion of fine articles in the pool had not been maintained as sheer numbers increased. Members of the Editorial Board take on this responsibility in addition to their normal institutional duties.

The comments in the Editorial Comments Series are sometimes brief and dismissive, sometimes quite elaborate. Even in the absence of the rejected articles themsleves, they are a rich record of individual and institutional critical predispositions. In its early years, the journal was working to establish a solid documentary foundation for the profession of American literary study. Favored topics were unpublished manuscripts, biographical work, and influence studies. The journal was slow to accept the move to New Critical interpretations of texts, reluctant to give up its tradition of more empirical scholarship. Such moments of critical change or expansion - late 1960s psychoanalytical criticism, 1970s feminist readings, 1980s post-structuralism, etc. - are vividly documented by the Editorial Board's varied members. Not infrequently, one reader will enjoy the provocative nature of an article, while the other considers it to be careless scholarship or too polemical.

Most of the correspondence is in the Alphabeticaland Correspondence Series.It deals with submitted articles or reviews, but there are more substantial letters dealing with policy, critical positions, and disputes (primarily about reviews).

All other papers are contained in the Subject Files Series.Included there are correspondence preceding and relevant to the inception of the journal; Foerster Prize records; materials relating to the selection of editors and the formulation of policy; annual reports to the American Literature Section of the MLA; materials relating to Duke Press and publicity; and information gathered in the early years about who was doing what with American literature (for the purpose of mapping the field and finding reviewers).

Additionally in the Card Files Seriesthere are three boxes sized for 3 x 5 cards which are full of information saved by the American Literature offices between (roughly) 1928 and 1950. These constitute something like a scrapbook of American literature, containing: bibliography cards; sketches of periods and genres; course descriptions; etc. These materials are typed and handwritten. Finally, there are samples of the 5 x 7 cards used to process and keep track of submissions and book reviews. These cards do not contain information (in either their content or organization) that is unavailable elsewhere, but they do illustrate the process by which articles and book reviews were handled.

The accessions (2009-0177) and (2009-0242) include editorial comments and correspondence from American Literature, beginning in 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s. Materials are organized alphabetically by each person's last name.

(by box/period divisions, including only regular contributors)

  1. William B. Cairns
  2. Jay B. Hubbell
  3. Kenneth Murdock
  4. Fred Lewis Pattee
  5. Ralph Rusk
  1. William B. Cairns
  2. Jay B. Hubbell (minimal)
  3. Kenneth Murdock
  4. Ralph Rusk
  5. Robert Spiller
  1. Killis Campbell
  2. Kenneth Murdock
  3. Ralph Rusk
  4. Robert Spiller
  1. Norman Foerster (some)
  2. Kenneth Murdock
  3. Ralph Rusk
  4. Robert Spiller
  5. Laurance Thompson
  1. Norman Foerster
  2. Kenneth Murdock
  3. Ralph Rusk
  4. Robert Spiller
  1. Norman Foerster
  2. Clarence Gohdes (some)
  3. Ralph Rusk
  4. Robert Spiller
  5. Stanley Williams
  1. Norman Foerster
  2. Kenneth Murdock
  3. Robert Spiller
  4. Stanley Williams
  1. Emory Holloway
  2. Kenneth Murdock
  3. Austin Warren
  4. Stanley Williams
  1. Harry Hayden Clark
  2. James D. Hart
  3. Willard Thorp
  4. George Whicher
  1. Walter Blair
  2. Harry Hayden Clark
  3. Willard Thorp
  4. George Whicher
  1. Harry Hayden Clark
  2. James D. Hart
  3. Fred B. Millett
  4. Willard Thorp
  1. Harry Hayden Clark
  2. Ernest Leisy
  3. Fred B. Millett
  4. Willard Thorp
  1. Harry Hayden Clark
  2. Ernest Leisy
  3. Henry Nash Smith
  4. Willard Thorp
  1. Harry Hayden Clark
  2. Ernest Leisy
  3. Russell Nye
  4. Henry Nash Smith
  1. Lewis Leary
  2. Norman Pearson
  3. Henry Pochmann
  1. Charles R. Anderson
  2. Edwin Cady
  3. Theodore Hornberger
  4. Lewis Leary
  5. Norman Pearson
  6. Henry Pochmann
  7. Henry Nash Smith
  8. Floyd Stovall
  9. George Whicher
  1. Charles R. Anderson
  2. Edwin Cady
  3. Theodore Hornberger
  4. Lewis Leary
  5. Russel Nye
  6. Henry Pochmann
  7. Floyd Stovall
  8. George Whicher
  1. Charles R. Anderson
  2. Edwin Cady
  3. William Charvat
  4. Theodore Hornberger
  5. Russel Nye
  6. Henry Pochmann
  7. Floyd Stovall
  1. Edwin Cady
  2. William Charvat
  3. R.H. Fogle
  4. Theodore Hornberger
  5. Russel Nye
  6. Sherman Paul
  7. Henry Pochmann
  8. Floyd Stovall
  1. James Beard
  2. Walter Blair
  3. William Charvat
  4. R.H. Fogle
  5. James D. Hart
  6. Theodore Hornberger
  7. Russel Nye
  8. Sherman Paul
  9. Henry Pochmann
  10. Ernest Samuels
  1. William Charvat
  2. Richard B. Davis
  3. R.H. Fogle
  4. James D. Hart
  5. Theodore Hornberger
  6. Russel Nye
  7. Ernest Samuels
  1. Gay Wilson Allen
  2. George Arms
  3. William Charvat
  4. Richard B. Davis
  5. R.H. Fogle
  6. James D. Hart
  7. Russel Nye
  8. Ernest Samuels
  1. Gay Wilson Allen
  2. George Arms
  3. Richard B. Davis
  4. R.H. Fogle
  5. James D. Hart
  6. Russel Nye
  7. Henry Pochmann
  8. Ernest Samuels
  9. Floyd Stovall
  1. Gay Wilson Allen
  2. George Arms
  3. Richard B. Davis
  4. John T. Flanagan
  5. Russel Nye
  6. Henry Pochmann
  7. Ernest Samuels
  1. Richard P. Adams
  2. Gay Wilson Allen
  3. George Arms
  4. James M. Cox
  5. John T. Flanagan
  6. R.H. Fogle
  7. Allen Guttmann
  8. David Levin
  9. Russel Nye
  10. Henry Pochmann
  11. Ernest Samuels
  12. John D. Seelye
  13. Lewis P. Simpson
  1. Richard P. Adams
  2. James M. Cox
  3. Lawrence S. Dembo
  4. Warren G. French
  5. Allen Guttmann
  6. Annette Kolodny
  7. David Levin
  8. Russel Nye
  9. Donald Pizer
  10. Patrick F. Quinn
  11. John D. Seelye
  12. Walter Sutton
  1. Sacvan Bercovitch
  2. Lawrence S. Dembo
  3. Warren G. French
  4. Annette Kolodny
  5. J.A. Leo Lemay
  6. Jay Martin
  7. Terence Martin
  8. Roy Harvey Pearce
  9. H. Dan Piper
  10. Donald Pizer
  11. Joel M. Porte
  12. Patrick F. Quinn
  13. Walter B. Rideout
  14. John D. Seelye
  15. Walter Sutton
  16. G. Thomas Tanselle
  17. Darwin Turner
  1. Nina Baym
  2. Sacvan Bercovitch
  3. Panthea Broughton
  4. Lawrence Buell
  5. Don Cook
  6. Hamlin Hill
  7. Annette Kolodny
  8. J.A. Leo Lemay
  9. T. Martin
  10. Hershel Parker
  11. Roy Harvey Pearce
  12. H. Dan Piper
  13. Joel M. Porte
  14. Walter B. Rideout
  15. Charles Scruggs
  16. G. Thomas Tanselle
  17. Linda Wagner
  1. Elizabeth Ammons
  2. Martha Banta
  3. Nina Baym
  4. Lawrence Buell
  5. Cathy Davidson
  6. Scott Donaldson
  7. Norman Grabo
  8. Philip Gura
  9. Hamlin Hill
  10. Marcus N. Klein
  11. J.C. Levenson
  12. Horace Porter
  13. Donald A. Ringe
  14. Charles Scruggs
  15. Kenneth Silverman
  16. Werner Sollors
  17. Robert Stepto
  18. Linda Wagner
  19. Christof A. Wegelin