Chicago Tribune

Diving into Saul Bellow's archives we found correspondence from every administration from Kennedy to Clinton. And that was only 1 box out of 250

CHICAGO - Soon after Saul Bellow returned to his hometown in 1962 and joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, he started donating his papers to the school library. One of the most celebrated novelists of the postwar years, credited with returning a brash vitality to the American novel at midcentury, his arrival on campus was front-page news. So much so that nearly 60 years later, the Saul Bellow Papers - which is what the university now calls its archive of Bellow's correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks and ephemera - contains a fat folder holding only announcements and clippings from that hyped homecoming. Bellow was a good fit. He became synonymous with the university, and a cornerstone of Hyde Park. And so, he kept donating his papers to the library.

He donated wedding invitations and honorary doctorates, drafts of his novels and family photographs. He donated fan letters and his faculty ID cards and even a few day planners:

December 10, 1976: Collect Nobel Prize for Literature.

December 31, 1976: Pay bills.

Before Saul Bellow died at 89 in 2005, he made 71 separate deposits to the Joseph Regenstein Library. The school, of course, retained it all.

They have so much material from Bellow today that it wasn't until the past 18 months or so, more than a decade after the author's death, that the library's Special Collections Research Center was able to finish cataloging and organizing it all.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune4 min read
Lawsuit Alleges Code Of Silence Emboldened Chicago Cop Involved In Beating To Feel 'Untouchable'
CHICAGO - A Chicago police sergeant who allegedly beat two men outside a popular nightclub in the Andersonville neighborhood last year was emboldened by a code of silence within the Police Department that allowed him to remain on the force despite a
Chicago Tribune2 min read
Cubs Fall To Cardinals, 2-1, On Yadier Molina's 2-run Single
CHICAGO - Yadier Molina has spent much of his career tormenting the Cubs, and on Friday afternoon he delivered a huge blow to the Cubs' playoff hopes in a 2-1 Cardinals win at Wrigley Field. Molina's two-run single off Steve Cishek in the sixth innin
Chicago Tribune6 min read
Commentary: A Small Town In The Heartland Redesigned Its School To Prevent Shootings. But Architecture Can't Ensure Kids' Safety.
FRUITPORT, Mich. - Should the school your child attends be designed to thwart a mass shooter? "Yes," people say in this west-central Michigan village, where the tallest structure - a yellow water tower with a smiley face - bespeaks small town innocen