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SERIES Identifier: MS Am 2350

II. Correspondence, various dates

Scope and Contents

Sub-series A. Correspondence of Gore Vidal (1. General correspondence), is arranged alphabetically by name and contains letters between Gore Vidal and authors, accountants, lawyers, literary agents, politicians, political organizations, publishers, relatives, scholars, small presses, university libraries, book dealers, and his personal friends. The files may include letters about or relating to the main correspondent or about GV's family members, personal friends, business associates or scholars. Also included are communications such as notes and memoranda, ephemera and clippings about the correspondent, and, occasionally, photographs. If there are unidentified items, they are described at the end of each sub-series.

If there are only letters from the correspondent and none from GV, the cataloging describes these files as "Letters." If there are only letters (sometimes carbons, photocopies or originals of faxes) from Vidal, the items are described as "Letters from GV."

Correspondence not extensive enough to warrant its own file, for example "Ab- through Ah-," is arranged alphabetically within these general files. Significant names are listed in the note.

Compositions by the correspondent or by Gore Vidal have been removed from this series. The compositions authored by the correspondents have been placed in Series XI. Compositions by Others. Compositions authored by Vidal were removed to Series I. Compositions. If a composition was moved from this series to another it is noted in the finding aid. Some articles, including fragments, and other materials were interspersed amongst the correspondence processed in 2019. These are included in files at the end of Subseries A.

Sub-series A. Correspondence of Gore Vidal (2. Fan mail) consists of letters from admirers and those seeking money or time from Vidal. The series is arranged generally chronologically.

Sub-series A. Correspondence of GV (3. Greeting cards and invitations) is also arranged chronologically. This was a separate sequence maintained by the previous repository containing greetings and invitations from people and organizations not personally connected to GV. There is also a group of professional invitations, asking for interviews and speeches dating mainly from the 1990s-2010.

The whole correspondence series reflects GV's life with his companion, Howard Austen (1929-2003). Letters from Austen are also in the correspondence of Gore Vidal, since Austen assisted Vidal with business matters as well as sharing many personal friends. However, Austen's correspondence warranted its own sub-series, II. Correspondence B. Correspondence of Howard Austen, where the majority of his correspondence can be found. This sub-series is organized similarly to Vidal's. Finally, the whole correspondence series contains some photocopied correspondence as well as drafts of Vidal's letters. In some of these cases, the originals have been located, while in others they have not. Photocopies cannot be quoted, reproduced, or published without the permission of the owners of the originals. In addition, some of these letters were faxes which had faded. Processors photocopied the items if possible on to acid-free paper in order to preserve the contents.


  • various dates

Language of Materials

Collection materials primarily in English. Also includes materials in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

Most of this collection is open for research.
A portion of this collection is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.
A portion of this collection is restricted for legal or university policy reasons. Item 3357: available 2032 January 1. Item 3373: available 2034 January 1. Some items were formerly restricted, see below for details.


421.9 linear feet (463 boxes, cartons, and film reels)
332.713 Gigabytes (9 floppy disks, 26 CDs, and 37 DVDs)


Organized into two sub-series:
  1. A. Correspondence of Gore Vidal
  2. ___1. General correspondence
  3. ___2. Fan mail
  4. ___3. Greeting cards and invitations
  5. B. Correspondence of Howard Austen
  6. ___1. General correspondence
  7. ___2. Greeting cards and invitations

Physical Location

Harvard Depository, b, f, pf

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, literary and performing arts archives, and more. The library's holdings of primary source material are managed by an expert staff and shared with scholars, students and the public in the reading room.

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Harvard University
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