Contents and Arrangement

Biographical Materials, 2000-2015

2 boxes

Collection Overview

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.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

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

Access & Use

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Conditions for Reproduction and 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:

Biographical Materials; Benjamin Taylor Collection of Philip Roth Materials, C1609, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Boxes B-001209 to B-001210, B-001754