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Nelson Algren Collection

Identifier: GTM-160405

Scope and Contents Note

The Nelson Algren Collection consists of some correspondence and two manuscripts of noted American writer Nelson Algren (1909-1981). Included is correspondence about Algren's books "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "Somebody in Boots." The primary correspondent is Ken McCormick, an editor with Doubleday and Company, Inc. Two typed manuscripts by Algren are also preserved in this collection: "The Door to Dingdong Daddyland" and "The Door to Pingpong Playboyland." A number of books that were part of this purchase were transferred to the Rare Book Collection in the Booth Family Center for Special Collections.


  • 1937 - 2002
  • Majority of material found within 1937 - 1951

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical Note

Nelson Algren (1909-1981) was an accomplished American author. Born in Detroit, Michigan, Algren was raised in Chicago. He received a degree in journalism from the University of Illinois. During the Great Depression, he worked as a door-to-door salesman, as a migrant worker, and for a short time as writer with the Works Progress Administration. Along with Jack Conroy, Algren edited the leftist "New Anvil" magazine. He published his first novel "Somebody in Boots" in 1935. During World War II, he served in the U.S. army medical corps. Algren's other early works include "Never Come Morning" (1942), "The Neon Wilderness" (1947), and "The Man with the Golden Arm" (1949). Algren won the first National Book Award for fiction for "The Man with the Golden Arm." His later books include "A Walk on the Wild Side" (1956) and "The Devil's Stocking" (1979). He also produced nonfiction works. Algren had a long-time relationship with French author Simone de Beauvoir. Nelson Algren died on May 9, 1981.

[Source: "Nelson Algren." "Encyclopedia Britannica" online.]


0.2 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

Purchased from Quill and Brush Books, 2015 and 2016.

Nelson Algren Collection
Scott S. Taylor. Booth Family Center for Special Collections, Georgetown University Library.
2019 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057