Contents and Arrangement

Series 1: Works, 1983-1992

15 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

This series contains primary material for five of Madison Smartt Bell's novels, Doctor Sleep, Save Me, Joe Louis, Soldier's Joy, Washington Square Ensemble and The Year of Silence. For three of these, Doctor Sleep, Save Me, Joe Louis, and Soldier's Joy, there are holograph notebooks, working drafts and final drafts. For Doctor Sleep and Soldier's Joy there are galleys and proofs as well. For Washington Square Ensemble we have only typescripts, for The Year of Silence holograph notebooks and a typescript. There are manuscripts and typescripts of several short stories, as well as a typescript and proofs for the short story collection Barking Man and Other Stories and an incomplete typescript and galleys for Zero db and Other Stories. There are numerous variants for an as yet unpublished screenply entitled, variously, The Safety Net, Quake 2 and Splat!, inspired by California earthquakes. There are several articles in typescript as well as numerous reviews. There are cassettes of four interviews, one with writer Andrew Lytle, one with writer Harry Crews, on the same cassette as one with editor Shannon Ravanel of Algonquin Books, and one with sculptor Alan LeQuire, taken on the occasion of his work on the statue of Athena for the Parthenon replica in Nashville. There is also a transcript and an edited version of an interview with writer George Garrett. Among the miscellaneous writings included in this series is an "emblem book" of sorts entitled The Double Tongue, with illustrations by artist Jean de la Fontaine and blurbs by Bell. (See the copious correspondence from Fontaine in the Personal Correspondence Series.)

Draft materials for later novels and other writings can be found in Series 7: Additional Papers.


This series is arranged into seven subseries: Novels, Short Stories, Short Story Collections, Screenplays, Articles, Interviews, and Miscellaneous Writings, Fragments and Notes.

Collection History


This collection comprises the papers of a living author. Thus, accruals are expected in five to ten-year increments.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Margaret Sherry in 1996. Finding aid written by Margaret Sherry in 1996. Additional Papers list compiled by Karla Vecchia. Folder inventory for 2004 accession added by Hilde Creager 15' in 2013. Folder inventory for 2015 accession added by Fiona Bell 18' in 2015. Materials in the 2021 accrual were processed and described by Amy C. Vo in 2022, with appropriate updates to the finding aid.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use, except for original P.E.N./Faulkner correspondence in Boxes 49 and 51. Consult staff for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Series 1: Works; Madison Smartt Bell Papers, C0771, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1-15