Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Benjamin Taylor Collection of Philip Roth Materials
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1951-2017 (mostly 1987-2014)
6 linear feet and 5 boxes
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001208 to B-001210, B-001754, P-000111, Z-000006


Consists of a group of writings and speeches, biographical materials, correspondence, photographs, and medical records of American author Philip Roth (1933-2018) collected by his close friend and literary collaborator Benjamin Taylor (1952- ).

Collection Description & Creator Information


Consists of a group of papers of American author Philip Roth (1933-2018) collected by his close friend and literary collaborator Benjamin Taylor (1952- ). Since the late 1990s, Taylor was a first reader of Roth's novels and later became one of Roth's two medical proxies. The collection contains materials related to Taylor's working relationship and friendship with Roth, personal records pertaining to his role as Roth's medical proxy, and drafts, notes, proofs, printed books, correspondence, and photographs Roth gifted to him, including both originals and photocopies. Of note within the gifted papers are 85 pages of early handwritten notes for Operation Shylock, an early annotated printout draft of the opening chapter of Everyman, and correspondence from John Updike. The collection also includes over 600 pages of notes, autobiographical essays, and correspondence Roth drafted and compiled for his biographers between 2000 and 2014. Much of this biographical material pertains to Roth's refutations of claims made by his first authorized biographer, Ross Miller, whom Roth accused of slandering him; as well as notes he gathered for Blake Bailey, who later took over as Roth's biographer. These extensive autobiographical writings contain detailed rebuttals of claims made by his former spouses, romantic partners, and friends, and demonstrate the care Roth took to control the public narrative of his life and literary output. There is also a small amount of correspondence between Taylor and Roth, as well as Roth's revisions and comments on a complete draft of Taylor's memoir, The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered, which was then titled Under No Curse.


Arranged by material type.

Collection Creator Biography:


Benjamin Taylor (1952- ) is an American author. He is the author of the novels Tales Out of School (1995) and The Book of Getting Even (2008), as well as a number of nonfiction books, including Proust: The Search (2015) and The Hue and Cry at Our House: A Year Remembered (2017), a family memoir that describes his experience growing up gay and Jewish in Texas in the 1960s. He is also the editor of Saul Bellow: Letters (2010). Taylor teaches writing at The New School and at Columbia University's School of the Arts. He is a past fellow and current trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and serves as president of the Edward F. Albee Foundation. Taylor was also a close friend and confidant of author Philip Roth (1933-2018). Taylor and Roth first met in 1995 at a sixtieth birthday celebration for Joel Conarroe, then the President of the Guggenheim Foundation. After Taylor wrote Roth his impressions of I Married a Communist in 1998, the two began speaking regularly. In 2001, Roth sent Taylor the galleys of The Dying Animal, and thereafter Taylor became a first reader for each of Roth's books. Toward the end of his life, Roth also designated Taylor as one of his two medical proxies.

Collection History


Purchased from Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in 2018 (AM 2019-8).


No materials were removed from the collection during 2018 processing beyond routine appraisal practices.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in August 2018. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in August 2018, repurposing some description provided by the dealer. In December 2021, some folders were physically rearranged to facilitate the administration of access restrictions. These materials (Boxes B-001208 and B-001754) were closed until January 1, 2023, and the restriction has since been lifted.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff at The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.

Credit this material:

Benjamin Taylor Collection of Philip Roth Materials; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes B-001208 to B-001210, B-001754, P-000111, Z-000006