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James Michener (Class of 1973) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG6-R3-006

Scope and Contents

Series 1 includes personal and business correspondence. The bulk of the correspondence is between Michener and Swayne, with some annotations by Swayne. Michener’s correspondence concerning his POW/MIA search are filed in the John B. Haseman folder and the 1991-1992 folder of correspondence about Vietnam.

Series 2 contains Michener’s writings and papers. This includes segments of short stories and memoirs found in his papers, as well as short biographies of individuals he encountered during his travels. Copies of Dok Champa, while not exclusively written by Michener, are included. Also in this series is a folder containing a collection of clippings, certificates, and letters compiled by Michener, together with his list of the contents.

Michener sent large packets of clippings to those with whom he corresponded. These clippings, along with those saved by Swayne that mention Michener, are in Series 3. Also included are three folders of slides 1995-1996 sent to Swayne by Michener.

Dates

  • 1998 - 2004

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Copyright and Rights Information

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the CuratorDirector. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Biographical / Historical

James Michener, Class of 1973, attended Swarthmore College after serving in the U.S. Army in Asia twice during the Vietnam War. One of his letters was included in the book Letters from Vietnam (Random House, 2004) by Bill Adler. His experiences in the service drew him back to the region after graduation, where he has lived since 1987. This collection begins in 1988 when Michener was living in Hong Kong, writing to Kingdon Swayne, a retired diplomat whose principal postings were in Asia, who had been his teacher at Bucks County Community College.

In 1992 Lao Aviation hired Michener as editor of Dok Champa, an in-flight magazine for the airline. As a result, Michener moved into Villa Dara, his home in Vientiane, capital of Laos, where he established an advertising firm, Ophir. Via a diplomatic contact, he stumbled upon the fact that there exists a Vietnam Archive in Cuba that contains records of most if not all American prisoners of war who had been held in Hanoi.

It should be noted that Swayne convinced Michener to transfer to Swarthmore, Swayne's parents having been undergraduates there. Moreover, Michener's father and Swayne had been classmates at George School. In addition, Celia Price Patterson, whose mother was Michener's great aunt, had attended Swarthmore as had Barnard and Joseph, her brothers, Joseph having died there. So you can say Michener intentionally followed Quaker tradition.

Extent

1.75 Linear Feet

Language

English

Overview

James Michener, Class of 1973, attended Swarthmore College after serving in the U.S. Army in Asia twice during the Vietnam War. One of his letters was included in the book Letters from Vietnam (Random House, 2004) by Bill Adler. His experiences in the service drew him back to the region after graduation, where he has lived since 1987. This collection draws from his writings and correspondence with teacher Kingdon Swayne, a retired diplomat whose principal postings were in Asia.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into three series:
  1. Correspondence
  2. Writings
  3. Miscellaneous

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donor: Kingdon Swayne, 2000.

Donor: James Michener, 2003, 2004.

Separated Materials

The following materials, originally part of the collection, have been removed and recatalogued:

Processing Information

The bulk of the papers were given by Kingdon Swayne, who had written a history of George School and corresponded with Michener 1988-1997. These were combined with some additional correspondence and related papers from James Michener in 2003 and 2004. The papers were sorted into three series.
Title
James Michener Papers, 1998-2004
Author
FHL staff
Date
2017
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
English
Sponsor
Encoding made possible by a grant by the Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation to the Philadelphia Consortium of Special Collections Libraries

Find It at the Library

Most of the materials in this catalog are not digitized and can only be accessed in person. Please see our website for more information about visiting Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College Library

Contact:
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Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA