Guide to the Frank Norris Collection of Papers and Related Materials, [ca. 1889-1930]

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The Bancroft Library.
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
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© 1997
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This finding aid has been filmed for the National Inventory of Documentary Sources in the United States (Chadwyck-Healey Inc.)


Arts and Humanities --Literature --American Literature

Guide to the Frank Norris Collection of Papers and Related Materials, [ca. 1889-1930]

Collection number: BANC MSS C-H 80

The Bancroft Library

University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

Processed by:
The Bancroft Library staff
Date Completed:
ca. 1969
Encoded by:
Charlotte Gerstein
© 1997 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Collection Summary

Collection Title: Frank Norris Collection of Papers and Related Materials,
Date (inclusive): [ca. 1889-1930]
Collection Number: BANC MSS C-H 80
Creator: Norris, Frank, 1870-1902
Extent: Number of containers: 6 boxes, 2 portfolios, 1 volume and 1 oversize folder
Repository: The Bancroft Library
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
Languages Represented: English

Information for Researchers


Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Frank Norris collection of papers and related materials, BANC MSS C-H 80, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Related Collections

Another valuable source of information in The Bancroft Library about Frank Norris is to be found in Franklin Walker's correspondence and papers pertaining to his biography of Norris
Identifier/Call Number: (BANC MSS C-H 79).
Related item of interest: "The Christmas Nightmare, a Gastronomic Extravaganza," by H. J. Stewart (Bohemiam Club. Christmas Low Jinks for 1896). Norris played the part of Rarebit, a Welshman. [Call number fF869 S3.4.B7 B73 1882-1907]

Material Cataloged Separately

Inscribed books and other books have been transferred to the book collection of The Bancroft Library. See book collection call numbers, A11... See also association file under Black, Janet: Janet Black Collection,
Identifier/Call Number: A11.A1.
Also in the book collection are Dr. Frank Norris' Collection, Norris novels acquired from other sources, and a first edition of Sister Carrie with Theodore Dreiser's inscription to Norris.
Most photographs, drawings, paintings and sketches have been transferred to the Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library
Identifier/Call Number: (BANC PIC 1969.019.-020, 1969.19-Pic),
including four photographs of Polk Street scenes, San Francisco; Norris' home in San Francisco, 1822 Sacramento Street; three photographs of scenes from "Life's Whirlpool" silent movie; and four pictures of Frank Norris (in Portrait Collection). Other photographs have been removed and cataloged separately with call numbers
Identifier/Call Number: Portraits 4381,
Identifier/Call Number: 4403-4415, and
Identifier/Call Number: 14166-14204.
Most of the drawings, notes, and sketches have been transferred to
Identifier/Call Number: Pictorial Collection 1969.20-A,
including Norris' oil painting of a horse's head; Norris' pen and ink sketch of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity dog, Monk; Norris' pen and ink sketch illustrating his article, "A Zulu War Dance;" and Will H. Low's water color illustration for Yvernelle.
Also, cataloged separately,
Identifier/Call Number: (BANC MSS C-H 96)
is film of the bibliographic reference cards on Norris prepared by the W.P.A. bibliography of American literature project. The University of Pennsylvania has the originals.

Scope and Content

The collecting of Frank Norris materials at The Bancroft Library began in 1952 with the project, originating in the English Department of the University, to reassemble the pages of the one Norris manuscript known to be extant, McTeague. The pages of the novel had been included in the 1928 Argonaut Manuscript Edition of Norris' collected works - one page, or half a page, to a set. To bring together these pages involved locating the owners of the sets (245) and persuading them either to donate pages or to allow them to be photostated. At the same time, an intense effort was made to locate other Norris papers, through his friends and heirs of friends. The quest met with great success and The Bancroft Library, as a result, has become the largest single repository of Frank Norris material in the country.
Most outstanding of the accessions were the gifts from Frank Preston, the son of Janet Black, the novelist's widow, in May 1953 (designated the Janet Black Collection in her memory); from Kathleen Norris, widow of Charles G. Norris (Frank's brother), in September 1954; and from Dr. Frank Norris, son of Kathleen and Charles Norris, in June 1969. A list of the papers included in each of these gifts is appended to this report, although some of these items have since been removed for separate cataloging.
The source of items in the collection has been noted on the folders. Cards have been placed in the manuscripts catalog for the major correspondents. The key included with this report provides information about the arrangement of the collection. Books and other printed items which originally constituted part of this collection have been removed, in most cases, for separate cataloging.


Frank Norris, who was born in 1870 and died in 1902, proved himself, in his short writing career, to be a major American novelist and one of the most distinguished literary alumni of the University of California.
Born in Chicago, he came to San Francisco with his family when he was 14. After two years in an art school in Paris, he attended the University of California as a special student for four years, 1890-1894, and then did a year's additional work at Harvard University. He returned to San Francisco, became a newspaper correspondent during the Uitlander insurrection in South Africa and then a staff writer and sub-editor on the San Francisco Wave. Moran of the Lady Letty, which appeared serially in that magazine, brought him a job with S. S. McClure in New York, first as a reader and later as a correspondent for McClure's Magazine in Cuba in 1898. Returning to his job as publisher's reader, he applied himself seriously to his fiction and won recognition and fame. His writing was strongly identified with California, particularly his best known works McTeague (1899) and The Octopus (1901). He looked upon San Francisco as his home, and it was there he died in October 1902.

Lists of Current Contents and Original Donations

Key to Arrangement for Current Collection

box Box, volume v. 1



Letters written by Frank Norris (originals and photocopies), 1898-1902.

Scope and Content Note

Arranged chronologically; 5 folders.

Letters written to Frank Norris, 1902-1905.

Scope and Content Note

2 letters in folder

Letters written by various persons to Janet Black (Mrs. Frank Norris), 1902-ca. 1929.

Scope and Content Note

Arranged alphabetically by correspondents; 2 folders.

Letters concerning Norris (originals and photocopies), ca. 1897-1930.

Scope and Content Note

Arranged alphabetically by correspondent; 1 folder.
oversize Oversize box 1-2, volume v. 2

Manuscript pages of McTeague.

Scope and Content Note

Original and photocopies. Incomplete.
oversize Oversize box 3, volume v. 3

Manuscript pages of other Norris novels with related material; oversize materials.


The Octopus: notes; character sketches; two leaves of the original manuscript; photocopies of four additional leaves [See v. 4 for map]


The Pit: notes, author's foreword; one leaf of the original manuscript; photocopies of two additional leaves


Vandover and the Brute: notes; foreword by Charles Gilman Norris; title page


An Exile's Toast [poem]. Photocopy


"Frank Norris' Weekly Letter" - photocopies of articles published in the Chicago American, 1901

volume Volume, volume v. 4

Norris' manuscript map drawn for The Octopus.

box Box, volume v. 5

Manuscripts (original and photocopies) of articles, stories, and other writings.

Scope and Content Note

Included are themes written for Prof. Lewis E. Gates' course in writing (Eng. 22) at Harvard University; original manuscripts of the story, "Two Hearts That Beat As One," and the article, "News Gathering at Key West;" photocopies of story, "The Wife of Chino," and article, "From Dawn to Dusk - Fighting" (incomplete); manuscript of poem, "Poitiers."

Clippings, photocopies and typescript copies of published articles;

Scope and Content Note

Included are copies of articles from the Wave, the San Francisco Chronicle and various magazines.

Photocopy of letter from Book News; another from SF Examiner.


Copies of Phi Gamma Delta Quarterly for Oct. 1892, Apr. and Oct. 1893, and Apr. 1894.

box Box, volume v. 6

Clippings, photocopies and typescript copies of published stories.

Scope and Content Note

Included are stories from the Wave, The Argonaut, The Smart Set, The Saturday Evening Post, Overland Monthly and The Century Magazine. Some clippings are mounted and have notations and corrections by Norris.

Photocopies of inscriptions by Norris in presentation copies of his works.


Contracts, 1901-1930, for publication of The Octopus, The Pit, The Joyous Miracle, Vandover and the Brute, and the French translation of McTeague; contracts for dramatization of some of the novels.


Clippings - book reviews, obituaries, etc.


Articles about Norris.

box Box, volume v. 7

Drawings, sketches, etc.

Scope and Content Note

All of the drawings, notes, and sketches have been transferred to Pictorial Collection 1969.20-A, except the following:

Norris' notes and drawings of medieval armor, made at the Musée d'Artillerie, Paris


Schoolbook containing drawings done by Norris when he was 14.



Scope and Content Note

Photographs from this box have been transferred to Pictorial Collection
Identifier/Call Number: 1969.19 Pic



Brief notes by Norris concerning literature and art


List of manuscripts read by Norris as a professional reader for Doubleday, Page & Co.


Memorandum of Agreement, signed by Theodore Dreiser, witnessed by Frank Norris, Aug. 20, 1900.


Norris' report as reader on the manuscript, "Aida of the Coal Mines"


Four petitions by Norris submitted to the University of California


Two unidentified fragments in Norris' writing


Wedding announcement for Frank and Jeannette Norris


Photographs of invitation from Gelett Burgess to a dinner of "Les Jeunes" and of dinner menu


Programs for two plays, 1893-94, presented by Skull and Keys Society, University of California


Announcement of Norris memorial meeting and programme for the meeting, given by the Skull and Keys Society, 1912, San Francisco


Dust jacket for Grosset & Dunlap's photoplay edition of The Pit


Miscellany - Janet Black Collection


Photocopy of record of Norris' borrowing from the Harvard University Library


Printed map of the Mountain View Memorial Park Cemetery with notation of location of Norris' grave


Brochure announcing publication of A History of the Doggett-Daggett Family by Samuel B. Doggett


Jim Grady's script for "This Is San Francisco: Frank Norris"


Photocopy script of a play, "The Guest of Honour," by Christopher St. John, based on a story by Norris


Copy of title page of Hattie Hecht Sloss' Certain Poets of Importance and of foreword written by Charles G. Norris about his mother, to whom the book was dedicated


"Frank Norris and California: 1969," Master's thesis by Marilyn Goodman


Program for the play, "The Pit," Jacobs Theatre, Elizabeth, N.J., Nov. 16, 1903


Kathleen Norris' grant to the Delta Xi Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta of custody of Norris' grave


"Reminiscences of Frank Norris, with Acknowledgments to Our Mutual Friend, Frank M. Todd"


Pages from a Dawson's Book Shop catalog describing Norris Collection offered for sale


Article from Southern Pacific Bulletin re Eric von Stroheim


Friends of The Bancroft Library: invitation to showing of film "Greed" and copy of keepsake issued on occasion of centennial of Norris birth


Poster and clipping advertising the movie "Greed"


Joseph Katz: greeting card with a reproduction of a Norris illustration and catalog for Norris exhibition, University of South Carolina, March 1970


Joseph Katz: The Manuscript of Frank Norris' McTeague: A Preliminary Census of Pages


Photocopy of Norris' Transcript, University of California


Material relating to the Lester Morris Memorial Kindergarten, San Francisco


Photocopy of dust jacket on advance copy of Vandover and the Brute


Brochure announcing the Argonaut manuscript edition of the writings of Frank Norris, 1928


Cover for "The Berkeleyan," Feb. 8, 1894, drawing by Frank Norris


Copy of check payable to Frank Norris


Dr. Frank Norris, 1969


Frank Norris Society


"The Octopus" essay in Alt Skal Med (Danish) by Erik M. Christensen

volume Volume, volume v. 8

Scrapbook of clippings

oversize Oversize folder 1-2

Photocopy of list of Norris' themes, University of California, 1890-1892, with professors' comments; photocopy of list of students assigned to classes of [William D.] Armes and Dr. Hubbard in Freshman Themes, 1891

carton Cartons 1-3

Inscribed books: removed for separate cataloging

Addendum: Lists of items donated

Gift of Frank, Charles and Kathleen Norris

item 1, volume v. 5

Unpublished 25-page manuscript by Frank Norris, "News Gathering at Key West," describing Stephen Crane as a war correspondent, and telling of Norris' own experiences during the Spanish-American War

item 2, volume v. 5

One page manuscript of Frank Norris' first published writing, the poem, "Poitiers"

item 3, volume v. 6

Sheaf of notes (written on 8 pages) and drawings by Frank Norris, made in Paris, June 1889, and dealing with medieval armor

item 4, volume v. 5

Brief composition written by Frank Norris, Dec. 13, 1894, for his Harvard class, English 22

item 5, volume v. 6

Two brief notes by Frank Norris concerning art and literature

item 6, volume v. 6

Mounted clipping of "Fantasie Printaniere," dated in his handwriting by Frank Norris

item 7, volume v. 6

Clippings of magazine publication of Parts 3, 4, 5 of "Man Proposes," mounted by Frank Norris on pages on which he has made textual changes

item 8, volume v. 6

Clippings of first printing of “A Caged Lion," with several textual changes added in Norris' handwriting

item 9, volume v. 6

Clippings of magazine publication of "Outward and Visible Signs" with textual changes added in Norris' handwriting. (Some pages of "She and the Other Fellow" and "Outside the Zenana" are missing.)

item 10, volume v. 6

Clippings of first printing of "Judy's Service of Gold Plate," with textual changes in Norris' handwriting

item 11, volume v. 6

Clipping of first printing of "His Single Blessedness," with textual changes in Norris' handwriting

item 12, volume v. 6

Mounted clippings of first printing of "A Case for Lombroso," with textual changes in Norris' handwriting

item 13, volume v. 6

Mounted clipping of first printing of "His Dead Mother's Portrait"

item 14, Portrait Collection (cataloged separately)

Three photographs of Frank Norris

item 15, Portrait Collection (cataloged separately)

One photograph of Gertrude Doggett Norris

item 16, Pictorial Collections (cataloged separately)

Four photographs of Holbrook Blinn's movie of McTeague

item 17, Pictorial Collections (cataloged separately)

Published photograph of Grays Hall

item 18, volume v. 5

Three typescripts of "Student Life in Paris" by Frank Norris

item 19

Two copies of a pamphlet, Frank Norris, by Charles G. Norris F855 N64N6X

item 20, volume v. 6

Two copies of the program for the Frank Norris Memorial Meeting, Bohemian Club, 1912

item 21, volume v . 5 and 6

Clippings of six articles and stories by Frank Norris

item 22, volume v. 5 and 6

Copy of Saturday Evening Post (10/12/01) containing a story by Frank Norris, copy of The Critic (7/12) containing an article by Frank Norris, and copy of a page from the New York Sun (7/13/13) containing an article by Frank Norris

item 23, volume v. 6

Copy of California Alumni Weekly (1/17/14) containing an article about Frank Norris, clipping from the Boston Evening Transcript (5/3/30) containing an article about Frank Norris

item 24

Pamphlet advertising The Pit F855 N64D6X

item 25

Two copies of a Polish translation of The Pit F855.1 N855piP

item 26

Copy of the first edition of The Responsibilities of the Novelist

item 27

Two copies of Frank Norris' The Joyous Miracle F855.1 N855jo 1941

item 28

Copy of Frank Norris: 2 Poems and Kim Reviewed, inscribed by the editor, Harvey Taylor, to Charles G. Norris

item 29, volume v. 6

Scrapbook of clippings about Frank Norris (mainly obituaries) and containing a calling card with a note from Mrs. Norris

item 30, volume v. 5 and 6

Eight folders of photostats of Frank Norris articles and stories, prepared for the text of the Argonaut edition

item 31, volume v. 5 and 6

Seven folders of typescripts of Frank Norris articles and stories, prepared for the text of the Argonaut edition

item 32, volume v. 5 and 6

Photostats of Frank Norris articles and stories in the Wave and Everybody's

item 33, volume v. 6

Typescript of an essay on Frank Norris by Johannes V. Jensen

item 34, volume v. 6

Copy of The Bellman (5/27/16) containing an article about Frank Norris

item 35

Copy of the Colt Press edition of McTeague

Janet Black Collection of Frank Norris Materials


Frank Norris Manuscripts

volume v. 5

Forty-two themes turned in as class exercises at Harvard

volume v. 6

Reader's report for Doubleday, Page & Co. on "Aida of the Coal Mines," a novel by Thomas Brennan; two leaves; with A.L.S., Charles G. Norris to Mrs. Preston concerning this report

volume v. 3

Notes of Vandover and the Brute; one page

volume v. 3

Introduction to The Pit; one leaf

volume v. 3

Leaf number 287 of McTeague

volume v. 4

Map of The Octopus

volume v. 4

Notes for The Octopus, including a number of clippings used as the basis for incidents in the book

volume v. 3

Notes for The Pit; forty-four small slips of paper

volume v. 1



Norris to Mrs. Black, senior; four pages


Charles G. Norris to Mrs. Frank Preston, 1914, enclosing copy of Charles G. Norris' introduction to Vandover and the Brute


Charles G. Norris to Mrs. Jeannette Norris, 1903(?)


Gelett Burgess to Mrs. Norris, 1902


John O'Hara Cosgrave to Mrs. Norris, 1902 (?)


R. B. Trye to Frank Norris, 1905


Kathleen Norris to Mrs. Jeannette Preston, no date


W. Rainsford to Mrs. Norris, 1902 (?)


William Dean Howells to Mrs. Norris, 1902


Henry W. Lanier to Mrs. Norris, November 12, 1902


Henry W. Lanier to Frank Norris, October 15, 1902


John O'Hara Cosgrave to Mrs. Norris, 1902



volume v. 6

Clippings of "Outward and Visible Signs," corrected

Portrait Collection (cataloged separately)

Four pictures of Frank Norris

volume v. 6

Collection of reviews of the play, "The Pit"


Pamphlet: "The Panic Episode from Frank Norris' famous novel, The Pit, which affords the great fourth act climax of the dramatization, by Channing Pollock in William A. Brady's magnificent production, in which Wilton Lackaye appears as Curtis Jadwin." F855.1 N855pi 1903 sx

volume v. 5

"With Lawton at El Caney," clipping from The Century

volume v. 6

Contracts and letters concerning publication rights of Frank Norris books

volume v. 6

Clippings about Vandover and the Brute

volume v. 6

Clippings and miscellany concerning Frank Norris

volume v. 6

Two unidentified manuscript notes

Frank Norris Materials Given by Dr. and Mrs. Frank Norris


Frank Norris Manuscripts


The Octopus, two leaves


The Pit, one leaf


Frank Norris letter to Gilder, two pages


Vandover and the Brute, title page


Frank Norris note to Johnson


Norris Drawings


Oil painting of horse's head


Pen-and-ink sketch of African warriors


Pen-and-ink sketch of dog




Norris, Frank

A Deal in Wheat and Other Stories of the New and Old West

New York Doubleday, Page & Company 1903

Inscribed: Chas. G. Norris


Norris, Frank


New York Doubleday & McClure Co. 1899

Inscribed: To My Ma: and not to be loaned to anybody: May 4th 1899. Frank Norris


Norris, Frank

The Octopus

New York Doubleday, Page & Co. 1901

Inscribed: To my Ma: Frank April 1901

Pasted in on verso front cover: poem in the handwriting of Gertrude D. Norris.


Norris, Frank

The Octopus

New York Doubleday, Page & Co. 1901

Inscribed: To my brother Charlie Very Sincerely Frank Norris April 1901


Norris, Frank

The Pit

New York Doubleday, Page & Co. 1903

Inscribed: Gertrude G. Norris


Norris, Frank

The Third Circle

New York John Lane Company 1909

Inscribed: To my dear Wife - Charles Gilman Norris May 30th 1909


Norris, Frank

Vandover and the Brute

Doubleday, Page & Company 1914

Inscribed: Gertrude G. Norris. Review pasted in on verso front cover.




Will H. Low oil painting "Yvernelle"


Ten photographs of Frank Norris


Two photographs of Gertrude G. Norris


One photograph of Norris home, San Francisco


Theater program for The Pit, Elizabeth, New Jersey, 1903


Two press clippings


Four photos of Polk Street in the 90's


Three still photos of the movie, "Life's Whirlpool" (based upon McTeague)