Collection 040Thornton N. Wilder Papers. Correspondence from Thornton N. Wilder to Everett W. Gibbs, 1959-1973
The Thornton N. Wilder Papers are part of the holdings of the Department of Archives and Special Collections in the William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University. Everett W. Gibbs (Loyola University, Class of 1950) donated the collection to Loyola Marymount University in 1992. It consists of approximately .2 linear feet of letters and postcards in one box. The collection is open to all researchers who are willing to comply with the rules of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. For the folder list indexing the contents of this collection, select the following title: Folder list.
The papers consist of correspondence from Thornton Wilder to his friend, Everett W. Gibbs (Loyola University, class of 1950). The letters and postcards in the collection contain friendly criticism of Gibbs' writing, advice on his writing career, reflections on literature and the art of writing, and general news on various subjects.Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) was a noted American playwright and novelist. His plays include Our Town (1938), The Skin of Our Teeth (1942), and The Matchmaker (1954)-later adapted to film as Hello, Dolly!. His novels include The Cabala (1926), The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), The Ides of March (1948), The Eighth Day (1967), and others. In his work, Wilder sought out universal values regardless of the place or time of the setting. As a playwright he was very innovative, discarding props and scenery and making his characters address the audience directly.
By 1959, the date of the first letter in the collection, Wilder had been afamous novelist and playwright for many years. He had won the Pulitzer prize three times: for The Bridge of San Luis Rey in 1928, for Our Town in 1938, and for The Skin of Our Teeth in 1942. The correspondence does not tell us how Wilder and Gibbs became friends, but it was obviously a long and warm relationship that was already well established by the time the correspondence began. Gibbs donated the collection to Loyola Marymount University "in appreciation for the many good things" he had derived from his education. The correspondence reveals very little information about the donor. Gibbs taught English at Fullerton College from 1957-1960 and at an unnamed school in Minneapolis for many years. It is clear that he was an aspiring writer. In 1959 he was at work on a thesis on sexual imagery in Shakespeare and completed a manuscript for a novel titled Forty Days and Forty Nights in 1970. In the early seventies Gibbs moved to Nome, Alaska. In 1992 he was living in Portland, Oregon.
For the folder list indexing the contents of this collection, select the following title: Folder list.
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