From the Associated Press:
Lovers of stripped-down prose and oddball characters can now view some of the late, best-selling crime novelist Elmore Leonard’s vast collection of handwritten notebooks, typed manuscripts and screenplays.
Choice samples from the collection go on public display Wednesday at the University of South Carolina’s Thomas Cooper Library on the school’s Columbia campus.
University of South Carolina Dean of University Libraries Tom McNally said Leonard visited the campus last year, saw its archives of modern American writers and wanted his papers to go there.
The university purchased the Leonard material, but officials and Leonard’s family declined to discuss the terms.
The collection at USC includes:
— Materials related to all of Leonard’s more than 40 novels from his 60-year career.
— Leonard’s original screenplays including “Joe Kidd” and “Desperado.”
— Screenplays adapted by Leonard from his works including “52 Pick Up,” ”Stick” and “Cat Chaser.”
— Correspondence between Leonard and authors such as George V. Higgins, John D. MacDonald, John Grisham and Dean Koontz.
— Photographs and scrapbooks of Leonard and his family, friends and celebrities.
— About 1,300 books from Leonard’s personal library.
— Multiple awards that Leonard received.
— Two of Leonard’s typewriters, his writing desk and two director’s chairs.
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So just how did the university snag the collection?
Because USC Dean of Libraries Tom McNally went after it, and Leonard liked what the university had to offer.
When McNally first made inquiries, he half-expected that the well-heeled Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin — which has the manuscripts of everyone from James Joyce to David Foster Wallace — had already snapped up the rights.
“It came about as a surprise,” said McNally, to discover that Leonard’s collection was still in play.
“Elmore’s big statement was ‘I don’t care about posterity, I care about now,’” said his longtime researcher Greg Sutter.