11 – Fact Checking

Truman Capote (1924-1984), author

Sandy Campbell (b. 1922), editor

Truman Capote spent six years researching the 1959 murders of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, first publishing his account in a four-part series in The New Yorker, September–October, 1965. With the 1966 publication of In Cold Blood, Capote popularized a new style of writing, the non-fiction novel. His crime story has been adapted twice as movies.

Sandy Campbell was the fact-checker for the New Yorker serialization, accompanying Capote to Kansas and corresponding from New York to corroborate information. Included are letters and cards from Marie Dewey, wife of Alvin Dewey of Garden City, the Kansas Bureau of Investigation special agent in charge of the Clutter murder case. Campbell’s editorial files, preserved in the Robert A. Wilson papers, include correspondence with other Kansans and agencies related to the case, a complete set of galley proofs for the serialization of In Cold Blood, and the rough copies of each issue, which were printed, bound, and run for a final check before public release.

All items from the Robert A. Wilson papers

  1. Fact-checking correspondence with Sandy Campbell, including several letters from Marie Dewey, 1965
  2. “In Cold Blood. I – The Last to See Them Alive,” galleys for the New Yorker, July 8, 1963
  3. “In Cold Blood. II – Persons Unknown,” galleys for the New Yorker, September 30, 1963. Showing galleys 22-23 with mention of the Dewey family: Al, Marie, Paul and Alvin Jr.
  4. The New Yorker. Rough copy, September 25, 1965
  5. The New Yorker. Rough copy, October 2, 1965
  6. Mailing envelope for rough copies, addressed to Sandy Campbell, The New Yorker, [1965]
  7. Capote, Truman. In Cold Blood. Uncorrected advance proofs. New York: Random House, 1965
  8. Columbia Pictures. Lobby card for press package for Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, directed by Richard Brooks, 1967