Guide to the Edward Dahlberg Papers M1551

Finding aid prepared by Joseph Geller
Department of Special Collections and University Archives
557 Escondido Mall
Stanford, California, 94305-6064
© 2008

Title: Edward Dahlberg Papers
Identifier/Call Number: M1551
Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 8.0 Linear feet 12 manuscript boxes, 3 flat boxes
Date (bulk): Bulk, 1960-1977
Date (inclusive): Circa 1960-1977
Abstract: The papers document Dahlberg's writing career and personal life during the 1960s and 1970s.
Physical Location: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creator: Dahlberg, Edward, 1900-1977.

Other Finding Aids

Irving Rosenthal papers, M1550

Acquisition Information

Accession number: 2006-325 This collection was purchased by Stanford University, Special Collections in December 2006.


The collection is arranged in Five series:
Series I. Personal
Series II. Correspondence
Series III. Professional
Series IV. Photographs
Series V. Clippings

Scope and Content of Collection

The collection contains correspondence, typescripts, photographs, periodicals, clippings, and ephemera. Included in the collection are typescripts for The Olive of Minerva; or, The Comedy of a Cuckold, (1976) and typescripts for the Crowell anthology, Bottom Dogs; From Flushing to Calvary; Those who Perish: and Hitherto Unpublished and Uncollected Works (1976). Other materials in the collection include unpublished typescript portions of The Carnal Myth (1968), The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg (1971), and extensive notes for miscellaneous works. The collection also contains incoming correspondence from a variety of prominent literary figures, as well as a few outgoing letters and drafts of letters by Dahlberg.


Edward Dahlberg, American writer of fiction, poetry, and criticism, was born in Boston in 1900. After a tumultuous early childhood, he was placed by his mother in the Jewish Orphan Asylum in Cleveland, where he remained until 1917. Dahlberg then joined the army and later worked as a day laborer while wandering the American West. In 1921, he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, where he majored in philosophy and anthropology, before transferring to Columbia University to complete his degree.
Dahlberg moved to Europe in 1926 and became part of the expatriate group of American writers living in Paris. In 1929, he published his first novel, Bottom Dogs, based on his childhood experiences at the orphanage and his travels in the American West. After the publication of Bottom Dogs, Dahlberg returned to the United States and wrote a number of other works that reflected his early life, including From Flushing to Calvary (1932) and Those Who Perish (1934).
For a number of years, Dahlberg devoted himself to literary study. His extensive readings of the works of Dante, Shakespeare, Thoreau, and many others, resulted in a writing style quite different from the social realism that characterized his earlier writing. Dahlberg's new style, one rich in biblical and classical allusions, first appeared in Do These Bones Live (1941), a collection of essays on American Literature.
During most of the 1940s and 1950s, Dahlberg wrote little, but during the 1960s and 1970s, he became quite prolific and further refined his unique style through the publication of poetry, autobiographical works, fiction, and criticism. Dahlberg died in Santa Barbara, California in 1977.


The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

Preferred Citation

Edward Dahlberg papers, M1551. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Dahlberg, Edward, 1900-1977.
American literatue--20th century



Scope and Contents note

This series contains materials from Dahlberg's personal life, including medical records, bankbooks, and passports.
Box 1, Folder 1

Bankbooks 1948-1967

Box 1, Folder 2

Booksellers: letter, invoices 1958-1971

Box 1, Folder 3

Complaint responses: letters to Dahlberg regarding filed complaints 1970-1975

Box 1, Folder 4

Disability claims: letters, forms 1954-1973

Box 1, Folder 5

Divorce materials: divorce certificate, letters from the Veterans Association 1949-1954

Box 1, Folder 6

Income tax: income tax returns and related documents 1964-1973

Box 1, Folder 7

Insurance claims: claims for lost and damaged books 1969-1977

Box 1, Folder 8-9

Inventory notebooks: spiral-bound notebooks with inventory of items (mostly books) to be shipped from Dublin to New York City. 1968

Box 1, Folder 10

Jewish Orphans Home: letters, flyers 1966-1971

Box 1, Folder 11

Medical documents: statements, letters 1957-1972

Box 1, Folder 12

Memorial Record: commemorative prayer book from Dahlberg's funeral 1977

Box 1, Folder 13

Miscellaneous documents: clippings, flyers, social security statement 1966-1967

Box 1, Folder 14

Passports 1953-1964

Box 1, Folder 15

Relocation: letters, receipts, leases 1958-1975



Scope and Contents note

This series contains incoming and some outgoing correspondence. Outgoing letters from Dahlberg have been specifically noted in the folder descriptions. Dahlberg made drafts of his letters, so in many cases it is difficult to determine if a letter was actually sent. For more information on Dahlberg's letter-writing process, see Irving Rosenthal's cover note in folder 2.1. Typescripts, clippings, and other materials originally included with incoming correspondence have been retained in this series in order to preserve the context of these items.
Box 2, Folder 1

Cover note: note by Irving Rosenthal explaining Dahlberg's process for writing letters 2001

Box 2, Folder 2

Aaron, Daniel: letter 1970

Box 2, Folder 3

Allen, Mary E.: greeting cards 1967-1972

Box 2, Folder 4

Arnold, Walter: letters   1970-1972

Box 2, Folder 5

Barnett, Anthony: letters   1972-1974

Box 2, Folder 6

Billings, Harold: letters 1972-1975

Box 2, Folder 7

Blankfort, Michael: letter, postcard 1972

Box 2, Folder 8

Boyle, Kay: letter, note 1967-1975

Box 2, Folder 9

Britton, Coburn: letters 1967-1975

Box 2, Folder 10

Brown, Andreas: letter 1972

Box 2, Folder 11

Brown, Francis: letter 1969

Box 2, Folder 12

Brown, Garech: letters, note by Dahlberg 1970-1971

Box 2, Folder 13

Burnshaw, Stanley: typescripts of poems 1959

Box 2, Folder 14

Cech, John: letters 1971-1974

Box 2, Folder 15

Corman, Cid: letter from Dahlberg 1964

Box 2, Folder 16

Dahlberg, Geoffrey: letters, receipt 1965

Box 2, Folder 17

Dahlberg, Joel: letters 1967-1974

Box 2, Folder 18

Dahlberg, Julia: letters, greeting cards, journal, medical records, notes, receipts, materials from Pinecrest Hospital chemical dependency program 1966-1983

Box 2, Folder 19

Dahlberg, Rlene: letters 1957-1958

Box 2, Folder 20

DeFanti, Charles: letters 1972

Box 2, Folder 21

Dobell, Byron: letters 1968-1969

Box 2, Folder 22

Duran, Gregorio: letters, greeting cards, notes 1965-1968

Box 2, Folder 23

Ellison, Nicholas: letters, telegrams 1974-1975

Box 2, Folder 24

Ford, Gerald: mailgram from Dahlberg 1975

Box 2, Folder 25

Haberman, Daniel: letter, greeting card 1972

Box 2, Folder 26

Howe, Fanny: letters, typescripts of poems, short prose piece on Dahlberg 1964-1977

Box 2, Folder 27

Johns, Richard: draft of letter from Dahlberg 1967

Box 2, Folder 28

Jovanovich, William: letters, mostly regarding the publication of Dahlberg's books by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, inc.; includes booklet by Jovanovich; letter from William Saroyan to Jovanovich. 1979-1983

Box 2, Folder 29

Kennedy, Robert F.: copy of letter from Dahlberg 1966

Box 2, Folder 30

Lipton, Victor: letter from Dahlberg 1958

Box 2, Folder 31

MacDonald, Nadine: letters, photographs 1972

Box 2, Folder 32

MacShane, Frank: draft of letter from Dahlberg, clippings, typescript 1966-1977

Box 2, Folder 33

Maloff, Saul: copy of clipping, Dahlberg's notes on Maloff's review of Festschrift (the Dahlberg issue) 1967-1972

Box 2, Folder 34

Matthews, Jack: letters 1971-1972

Box 2, Folder 35

Menn, Thorpe: letters, clippings, greeting card, notes 1965-1971

Box 2, Folder 36

Moramarco, Fred: letter 1971

Box 2, Folder 37

Olson, Charles: letter 1950

Box 2, Folder 38

O'Rourke, William: letters, typescripts 1967-1977

Box 3, Folder 1

Pearson, Drew: letter from Dahlberg 1958

Box 3, Folder 2

Perkins, Michael: postcard, greeting card 1969

Box 3, Folder 3

Perret, Juditte: letters 1968

Box 3, Folder 4

Ransom, Harry: letter from Dahlberg 1969

Box 3, Folder 5

Read, Herbert: letter from Dahlberg, clipping 1967-1968

Box 3, Folder 6

Ridge, George Ross: typescript, The Black Beatitudes, dedicated to Dahlberg 1962

Box 3, Box 7

Rodman, Selden: letter 1971

Box 3, Folder 8

Rohman, Richard: letters 1972

Box 3, Folder 9

Rozen, Susan W.: letters 1967

Box 3, Folder 10

Ryan, William: letters, letter by Dahlberg 1967-1972

Box 3, Folder 11

Skir, Leo: letter, clipping of journal article 1966

Box 3, Folder 12

Sorrentino, Gilbert: letters, draft of letter from Dahlberg 1972-1974

Box 3, Folder 13

Tate, Allen and Isabella Gardner: telegram, letters, letter from Dahlberg 1959-1977

Box 3, Folder 14

Wallace, George: letter from Dahlberg 1972

Box 3, Folder 15

Williams, Jonathan: telegram, letters, distribution list for Festschrift, typescript for Williams' tribute to Dahlberg, "The Dead are made to Eat Asphodels" 1963-1977

Box 3, Folder 16

Wilson, Edmund: letter no date

Box 3, Folder 17

Woolf, Douglas: letters 1974

Box 3, Folder 18

Miscellaneous correspondence: telegram, letter, note Circa 1950-1961



Scope and Contents note

This series contains materials specifically related to Dahlberg's work as a writer and teacher. It includes typescripts, notes, proofs for specific books, miscellaneous notes listed chronologically, and correspondence with publishers and other professional contacts.
Box 3, Folder 19

Abel's Confession: typescript 1965

Box 3, Folder 20

Art foundations: letters, telegram, grant application 1961-1971

Box 3, Folder 21

Authors Guild: letters 1964-1972

Box 3, Folder 22

Biographical notes: drafts of short biographical notes for book jackets, etc. 1967-1975

Box 3, Folder 23

The Carnal Myth: typescripts for chapters 1, 2, 6, 9, and unpublished section 1967

Box 3, Folder 24

Community College: letters, memos, student exams, and other materials from Dahlberg's time as a community college instructor in New York 1968-1969

Box 3, Folder 25

The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg: notes 1968

Box 3, Folder 26

The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg: annotated typescript of unpublished section 1968

Box 3, Folder 27

Creative Artists Public Service Program: letters 1970-1975


Crowell anthology, Bottom Dogs; From Flushing to Calvary; Those who Perish: and Hitherto Unpublished and Uncollected Works (3.28-4.3.) 1976


Typescripts listed below are usually annotated copies of previously published work; oversized proofs moved to flat box 5.
Box 3, Folder 28

Crowell anthology: copy of preface and introduction with annotations by Dahlberg 1976

Box 3, Folder 29

Crowell anthology: annotated typescripts; includes Bitch Goddess. 1976

Box 3, Folder 30

Crowell anthology: annotated typescripts; includes Bottom Dogs. 1976

Box 3, Folder 31

Crowell anthology: annotated typescripts; includes chapter 13 from Bottom Dogs. 1976

Box 3, Folder 32

Crowell anthology: annotated typescripts; includes The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg. 1976

Box 4, Folder 1

Crowell anthology: annotated typescripts; includes From Flushing to Calvary. 1976

Box 4, Folder 2

Crowell anthology: annotated typescripts; includes Those who Perish.   1976

Box 4, Folder 3

Crowell anthology: master pages 1976

Flat-box 5, Folder 1

Crowell anthology: annotated galley proof 1976

Flat-box 5, Folder 2

Crowell anthology: annotated page proof 1976

Flat-box 5, Folder 3

Crowell anthology: corrected page proof 1976

Box 4, Folder 4

Death camp survivor stories: copies of two typescripts by Holocaust survivor with annotations by Dahlberg Circa 1950

Box 4, Folder 5

Fans and students: letters from fans and students; includes postcards, greeting cards, booklet. Circa 1968-1975

Box 4, Folder 6

Festschrift: proof for piece published in Festschrift 1970

Box 4, Folder 7

House of El Dieff: letters and telegram from manuscript dealer regarding the sale of Dahlberg's papers to the University of Texas 1967-1969

Box 4, Folder 8

Invoices: invoices from Dahlberg's publishers 1967-1976

Box 4, Folder 9

Job references: reference letters for Dahlberg, flyers, description of Writer-in-Residence position 1952-1967

Flat-box 5, Folder 4

The Leafless American: broadside of Dahlberg poem, inscribed to Dahlberg by Harold and Bernice Billings 1968

Box 4, Folder 10

Miscellaneous publishers: letters from publishers; includes contract. 1958-1975

Box 4, Folder 11

New Directions: letters, postcards 1960-1974

Box 4, Folder 12

New York Review of Books: letters to the editor, clippings 1967


Notes: typed and holograph notes for miscellaneous works, organized chronologically by Irving Rosenthal (4.13-9.1.) 1965-1976

Box 4, Folder 13

Notes Circa 1965-1975

Box 4, Folder 14

Notes, July 1965

Box 4, Folder 15

Notes, March 1966

Box 4, Folder 16

Notes, July 1968

Box 6, Folder 1

Notes, August-September 1969

Box 6, Folder 2-3

Notes Circa 1969-1975

Box 6, Folder 4

Notes, August-December 1970

Box 6, Folder 5

Notes, January-March 1971

Box 7, Folder 1

Notes, March-July 1971

Box 7, Folder 2

Notes, July-December 1971

Box 7, Folder 3-4

Notes, January-April 1972

Box 8, Folder 1

Notes, May-December 1972

Box 8, Folder 2

Notes, June-July 1974

Box 8, Folder 3

Notes, April-May 1975

Box 8, Folder 4-6

Notes, June-July 1975

Box 8, Folder 7

Notes Circa 1975

Box 9, Folder 1

Notes, January 1976

Box 9, Folder 2

Notes: removed from books in Dahlberg's library during processing no date


Olive of Minerva; or, The Comedy of a Cuckold, notes: typed and holograph notes organized chronologically by Irving Rosenthal (9.3-11.2.) Circa 1964-1979

Box 9, Folder 3-4

Olive of Minerva, notes Circa 1964-1979

Box 9, Folder 5

Olive of Minerva, notes, January 1972

Box 9, Folder 6

Olive of Minerva, notes, December-March 1972-1973

Box 9, Folder 7-8

Olive of Minerva, notes, January-April 1973

Box 10, Folder 1

Olive of Minerva, notes, May-October 1973

Box 10, Folder 2

Olive of Minerva, notes in literary sequence, September-October 1973

Box 10, Folder 3-4

Olive of Minerva, notes, January-October 1974

Box 10, Folder 5-6

Olive of Minerva, notes, November-December 1974

Box 11, Folder 1-2

Olive of Minerva, notes, August-December 1975


Olive of Minerva; or, The Comedy of a Cuckold (11.3-13.1.) 1973-1976

Box 11, Folder 3

Olive of Minerva: sample proof of title page, chapter, and page specifications with corrections by Dahlberg June 19, 1973

Box 11, Folder 4

Olive of Minerva: miscellaneous annotated typescripts 1973-1974

Box 11, Folder 5

Olive of Minerva: front matter proof; includes publisher's corrections. 1974

Box 11, Folder 6

Olive of Minerva: typescript; first revision with annotations by Dahlberg. 1975

Box 11, Folder 7

Olive of Minerva: typescript; second revision with extensive annotations by Dahlberg. 1975

Box 12, Folder 1

Olive of Minerva: typescript; third revision with minor edits. 1975

Box 12, Folder 2

Olive of Minerva: typescript; final revision with editor's and printer's notes. 1975

Box 12, Folder 3

Olive of Minerva: galley proof; includes annotated typescript inserts. 1975

Box 12, Folder 4

Olive of Minerva: page proof 1975

Box 12, Folder 5

Olive of Minerva: Dahlberg's notes on page proof corrections 1975

Box 12, Folder 6

Olive of Minerva: trial dummy signed by Dahlberg 1975

Box 12, Folder 7

Olive of Minerva: book published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company; contains Dahlberg's annotations; also Julia Dahlberg's distribution list. 1976

Flat-box 13, Folder 1

Olive of Minerva: proof for excerpts published in Prose 1973

Box 12, Folder 8

Sorrows of Priapus: annotated typescript for new edition Circa 1973

Box 14, Folder 1

Three Tales of Love: title page mock ups no date

Box 14, Folder 2

Weybright and Talley, inc.: letters, draft of letter from Dahlberg, copy of annotated proof for "Quotations from Edward Dahlberg's latest work: The Carnal Myth" 1968-1972



Scope and Contents note

This series contains photographs taken of Dahlberg between 1960 and 1977. It also includes photographs taken by Julia Dahlberg of friends and family after Dahlberg's death.
Box 14, Folder 3

Photographs of Dahlberg: includes negatives, clipping, a few earlier photographs, one may possibly be Dahlberg's father Circa 1960-1970

Box 14, Folder 4

Photographs of Dahlberg: 8" x 10" black and white portraits Circa 1970

Box 14, Folder 5-6

Dahlberg, Julia: photographs taken by Julia; includes note by Irving Rosenthal and negatives. 1978-1991



Scope and Contents note

This series contains clippings of book reviews and other articles related to Dahlberg organized chronologically.
Flat-box 15, Folder 1

Clippings 1961-1967

Flat-box 15, Folder 2

Clippings 1968-1970

Flat-box 15, Folder 3

Clippings 1971-1974