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Archives & Manuscripts

James A. Michener ('29) Papers

 Collection
Identifier: SFHL-RG6-R3-005

Scope and Contents

The bulk of this collection is clippings about James A. Michener and stamps collected by him. The clippings document Michener's life and career, with a focus on his relationship to Swarthmore College, particularly several large donations he gave to the college. There are four albums and 25 loose pages of stamps collected by Michener from Australia, Hong Kong, Laos, Malaysia, Hungary, Japan, Pakistan, Wallis, and other locations. The international nature of the stamps likely reflects Michener's interests and travel, including to some of the locations featured in his books. Lastly, the collection contains a small amount of Swarthmore College correspondence by and about James A. Michener (primarily relating to his donations), and the text of a speech he delivered at the college about taxes and philanthropy.

Note that the Swarthmore College Rare Book Room also holds James Michener materials, which are stored separately and considered a separate collection.

Dates

  • 1890 - 2012

Creator

Limitations on Accessing the Collection

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

James A. Michener (1907-1997) was a bestselling American author of more than four dozen books. His first, Tales of the South Pacific and published when he was 40, won the Pulitzer Prize. Michener received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and honorary doctorates in five fields.

Michener was born in New York City, but after being abandoned by his birth parents, he was adopted by a Quaker widow named Mabel Michener and raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Michener attended Swarthmore College on a scholarship, graduating in 1929. He maintained a life-long relationship with the school and received an honorary doctorate in humane letters from Swarthmore in 1954. He was a generous donor to the College, donating approximately $7 million during his lifetime, in addition to leaving his estate and literary rights and royalties to Swarthmore.

Extent

2.25 Linear Feet (4 document boxes and 3 flat boxes)

Language

English

Overview

James A. Michener (1907-1997, Swarthmore College class of 1929) was a bestselling American author of more than four dozen books. His first, Tales of the South Pacific and published when he was 40, won the Pulitzer Prize. The bulk of this collection is clippings about James A. Michener and foreign stamps collected by him.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into three series:

Series

  1. Correspondence and Writings
  2. Clippings
  3. Stamp collection

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Stamp albums were received from the James A. Michener Art Museum Archives in 2015.

Related Materials

James A. Michener Collection, University of Northern Colorado.

James A. Michener Collection, Swarthmore College Rare Book Room.
Author
Celia Caust-Ellenbogen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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:
500 College Avenue
Swarthmore Pennsylvania 19081 USA