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Gordon Merrick

Gordon Merrick

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Published by: rev-timothy-j-chase-2713 on Aug 29, 2011
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Princeton University Library
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
* Manuscripts Division * One Washington Road * Princeton, New Jersey 08544 USA * Phone: (609) 258-3184 * Fax: (609)258-2324 * rbsc@princeton.edu * http://www.princeton.edu/~rbsc *
Gordon Merrick Papers, 1936-1991 (bulk [1954]-1988): FindingAid
Summary Information
Call number:
C0691
Location:
Princeton University Library. Department of RareBooks and Special Collections.Manuscripts Division.One Washington Road Princeton, New Jersey 08544USA
Size:
10 linear feet (21 manuscript boxes, one scrapbook)
Language(s) of material:
EnglishFrenchGerman
Abstract:
The Gordon Merrick Papers consist primarily of draftsof the manuscripts of Merrick's novels, written over athirty-nine year period, from the late 1940s (
The Strumpet Wind 
, 1947) to the mid-1980s (
Measure of Madness 
, 1986). Also present is his business andfinancial correspondence with agents, publishers, andbanks over a twenty-one year period, from 1967 untilhis death in 1988. In addition there is a clipping filewhich dates back to Merrick's first experiences as anactor in the 1930s, as well as photographs taken forpublicity as well as for Merrick's personal collection.
 
Table of Contents
Summary Information...........................................................................................................................................1Biography of Gordon Merrick..............................................................................................................................3Description..........................................................................................................................................................3Arrangement.......................................................................................................................................................6Access and Use..................................................................................................................................................6Acquisition and Appraisal....................................................................................................................................7Processing and Other Information...................................................................................................................... 7Subject Headings................................................................................................................................................7Contents List .........................................................................................................................................................Series 1: Writings..........................................................................................................................................9Subseries 1A: Novels..............................................................................................................................9Subseries 1B: Short Stories..................................................................................................................16Subseries 1C: Scripts............................................................................................................................16Subseries 1D: Essays...........................................................................................................................17Series 2: Correspondence.......................................................................................................................... 17Subseries 2A: Business and Financial Correspondence...................................................................... 17Subseries 2B: Personal Correspondence.............................................................................................18Subseries 2C: Fan Mail.........................................................................................................................19Series 3: Documents...................................................................................................................................19Series 4: Diaries and Calendars................................................................................................................. 20Series 5: Memorabilia................................................................................................................................. 20Series 6: Printed Material............................................................................................................................20Series 7: Papers of Other Persons............................................................................................................. 21Subseries 7A: Charles G. Hulse............................................................................................................21Series 8: Additional Papers.........................................................................................................................21
Gordon Merrick Papers, 1936-1991 (bulk [1954]-1988): Finding Aid
 
Biography of Gordon Merrick
Gordon Merrick was born on August 3, 1916, in Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, a wealthy suburb ofPhiladelphia. His great grandfather was the founder of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and his father wasa stockbroker. He enrolled at Princeton University as a member of the Class of 1939 and studied themodern French novel, especially Gide, Proust and C
line, with Professor of Romance LanguagesMaurice Coindreau. Outside the classroom Merrick was very active in campus theatre life. In his junior year he quit Princeton to move to New York and look for an acting job. He landed a three-yearcontract on Broadway and scored a hit with a role in Kaufman and Hart's
The Man Who Came toDinner
at the Music Box Theatre. Becoming bored with the repetition of the same role after a year,Merrick found other parts, none of which proved successful.In 1941 he abandoned the theatre to become a journalist. Exempt from the draft because of a hearingcondition, he got his first journalism job with the
Washington Star,
then moved on to the
Baltimore Sun 
, and finally to the
New York Post 
. Merrick regarded journalism as his apprenticeship in writing. Inearly 1944, after training with the O.S.S. (or what is now the C.I.A.), he was sent to Algeria to engagein counter-espionage, but ended up in Cannes instead on the C
te d'Azur with French identificationpapers. In August of 1945 he repatriated to the United States. He tried but failed to obtain a job asParis correspondent for the
New York Post 
, so he went to Mexico instead, where he could live verycheaply, and began writing novels.With the success of his first novel
The Strumpet Wind 
(1947) he decided to return to France. The nextnine years brought little success to his writing career, and, distressed by political unrest in Francebecause of the Algerian War, Merrick decided to move to a Greek island by the name of Hydra wherehe bought a house and lived until tourism made life there intolerable too. In 1975 he discovered theOrient and bought himself a house in Ceylon, but on visiting France again purchased a home inTricqueville in Normandy. Thus he ended up by dividing his time between France and Ceylon (SriLanka), where he died of lung cancer on March 27, 1988.Merrick's best-known book,
The Lord Won't Mind 
, appeared on the
New York Times 
best-seller list in1970 for sixteen weeks. It was the first in a trilogy that included
One for the Gods 
(1971/72) and
Forth into Light 
(1974). At a time when homosexuality was still viewed as a closet identity which could onlyend in tragedy, Merrick wrote openly about gay love that ended happily. Among the items left of thepersonal papers of Charles G. Hulse, in the series
Papers of Other Persons,
is a summary of someof Gordon Merrick's novels which helps to illuminate their avant-garde timing in the history of gay andlesbian fiction. In addition to his trilogy, Merrick also wrote at least eighteen other novels in the courseof thirty-nine years, including
An Idol for Others 
(1977),
The Quirk 
(1978),
Now Let's Talk about Music 
(1981),
Perfect Freedom 
(1982),
The Great Urge Downward 
(1984), and
A Measure of Madness 
(1986).
Description
Consists primarily of the working drafts, sometimes many versions, of the manuscripts for eighteennovels and three short stories, as well as fragments of two playscripts, the typescript of the televisionadaptation of his first novel
The Strumpet Wind 
(1947), and drafts of three essays. The drafts are
Gordon Merrick Papers, 1936-1991 (bulk [1954]-1988): Finding AidPage 3

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