The rich literary archives in Special Collections invite queries from many perspectives. One of these is the examination of source material to show how manuscripts emerge from an author’s mind and materialize through publication for the reader’s consumption. This exhibition considers the creative and production processes of bringing writers’ ideas into print.

From author to reader, from initial concept to publication, there are multiple players and steps toward production of a literary manuscript. This exhibition draws case studies from the Library’s literary archives of authors, editors, critics, translators, printers, and publishers. Handwritten drafts, blue-lines and mock-ups, and paste-ups and galleys remind viewers of nearly forgotten formats that are no longer part of contemporary computer-driven writing and publishing practices. Editorial revisions, authors’ collaborations with illustrators and printers, and the mechanics of publishing are also explored.

Among the exhibition highlights are books and proofs with manuscript corrections by Ernest Hemingway; heavily revised proofs and manuscripts by Ishmael Reed; and a scarce original proof copy of Ian Hamilton’s controversial biography J.D. Salinger: A Writing Life. Additional features are from the papers of Donald Barthelme, Jane and Paul Bowles, Emily Coleman, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Alan Kaufman, W.D. Snodgrass, Tennessee Williams, Ben Yagoda, and others found in Delaware’s stellar literary collections.