PCL MS 231 - William F. Nolan Collection on Ray Bradbury
|Title||PCL MS 231 - William F. Nolan Collection on Ray Bradbury|
The William F. Nolan Collection on Ray Bradbury was acquired from Nolan by the Center for Archival Collections in 1981. The collection was transferred to the Ray & Pat Browne Library for Popular Culture Studies in 2018. The collection consists of approximately 12 cubic feet of original and photocopied manuscript materials dating from approximately 1936 through 1980.
The focus of the collection is on Bradbury’s literary works, however extensive biographical information is also included. The collection has no restrictions placed on its use for scholarly purposes, however any quotation, reproduction, or reuse of any published or unpublished materials found in this collection requires the permission of the estate of Ray Bradbury.
This original register for the collection was prepared by Nancy Steen, Rare Books Librarian in April 1986 and the finding aid was adapted for online use in 2001 by Lee N. McLaird, Curator of Rare Books. The inventory and finding aid were updated by Manuscripts & Outreach Archivist Steve Ammidown in September 2018. Any questions about this collection may be directed to the BPCL reference email.
Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois and moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1934. He graduated high school in Los Angeles in 1938, and spent several years after that selling newspapers by day and typing on a library typewriter at night. In 1938, his first short story, "Hollerbochen's Dilemma," was printed in Imagination. He first sold a story, "Pendulum," in 1941 to Super Science Stories. He became a full-time writer in 1943, writing prolifically for pulp magazines and contributing to story compilations. Bradbury had his first real success in 1950 with his collection The Martian Chronicles, which has seen stories from it adapted into every possible format. His most well-known work was Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. The book was adapted into a film by Francois Truffaut in 1966 and has seen numerous other adaptations.
Bradbury’s interests were larger than writing fiction. He became a screenwriter in 1956, adapting Herman Melville’s Moby Dick with John Huston. This was the first of many times Bradbury wrote for the big and little screen as well as the stage. He wrote episodes for The Twilight Zone, adapted The Martian Chronicles as a TV mini-series, and wrote many of the episodes of his own tv show, Ray Bradbury Theatre. He won an Emmy award for his teleplay adaptation of The Halloween Tree. In his later years he worked closely with the Disney company on the Epcot and EuroDisney parks, and often spoke and wrote on behalf of NASA.
An even more extensive collection of Bradbury’s manuscripts and work, including a recreation of his basement writing office, can be found at IUPUI’s Center for Ray Bradbury Studies.
Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012. He was married to his wife Maggie from 1947 until her death in 2003, and was the father of four daughters.
|Scope and Content|
As Bradbury’s friend and earliest bibliographer, William F. Nolan compiled an impressive collection of manuscripts, printed works, promotional items, speech transcripts, art works, and interviews. In addition to the impressive array of rare manuscripts, Nolan preserved a series of correspondence written to him by Bradbury from 1950 to 1980. These letters show the evolution of their friendship and provide insight into Bradbury’s process and work during the most prolific part of his career.
The core of the Bradbury Collection is the large number of literary manuscripts of the author's works. This includes an original typed manuscript of Bradbury’s most popular novel, Fahrenheit 451. In addition, over 120 other manuscripts including short stories, scripts, screenplays and poems are available, often in multiple drafts. Many include holograph corrections and notes by Bradbury. A number of the included manuscripts are photocopies made of originals that were in Bradbury’s personal collection, or the collections of other friends of Bradbury. Photocopied manuscripts are noted in the finding aid inventory below. In many cases, the manuscript photocopies are the only publicly available copies of these drafts.
Researchers will find a number of unique items in the collection in addition to the Fahrenheit 451 manuscript, including adaptations of Ray Bradbury’s work by himself and others. This includes a copy of the comic book Weird Science #18, which reproduces Bradbury’s “Mars is Heaven” story from The Martian Chronicles. The comic book is signed by Bradbury, artist Wally Wood, writer Al Feldstein, and editor Bill Gaines. The collection also includes a copy of Bradbury’s script for John Huston’s 1956 film Moby Dick, the first of the many scripts Bradbury wrote for both stage and screen. Also included is a copy of The Dogs That Eat Sweet Grass, which was transcribed from a series of interviews Bradbury gave at UCLA.
As part of his original register for the collection, William F. Nolan wrote notes describing each item in the collection. Copies of the notes are included in the folder for the corresponding item in the collection. The notes, which vary in detail from minimal to extensive, add context and sometimes speak to the provenance of the items in the collection.