Griffin ms coll/griffin john Howard Griffin Papers

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John Howard Griffin

Papers, 1920-1980

15.5 linear ft. (ca. 7,500 items in 37 boxes)

Biography: John Howard Griffin (1920-1980) was born in Mansfield, Texas. His early training was as a musicologist in Tours France specializing in Gregorian Chant. He studied psychology especially the effects of music on the mentally disturbed. He also studied photography and becam an expert specializing in portrait photography.
During WWII he help Jews in France escape the Nazis. After the fall of France he joined the U. S. Army Air Corps and was sent to the South Pacific to work with the native islanders. Injured by a bomb blast he gradually lost his sight becoming totally blind by 1947. During his blindness he wrote his two major novels The Devil Rides Outside and Nuni as well as numerous short stories. In 1951 he became a Roman Catholic. After recovering his sight in 1957 he wrote for Sepia magazine and in 1959 he wrote a series of articles for Sepia magazine based on his travels through the Deep South as a "black" man. This series was published as Black Like Me in 1961.
In 1969 he was appointed the Official Biographer of Thomas Merton. Throughout his life he wrote and lectured widely on race relation and social justice. He died in 1980 at the age of sixty.
Summary: Correspondence, manuscripts, documents, photographs, and printed materials by and about John Howard Griffin.
The correspondence is extensive and includes letter from Jacques Maritain; Thomas Merton; Maxwell Geismar; Eldridge Cleaver; Robert Casadeus; Abraham Rattner; P.D. East; Joseph Noonan; Sarah Patton Boyle; Lillian Smith; Father August Thompson; Nell Dorr; and Brother Patrick Hart.
All of his major works are represented in manuscript form (usually typescript, carbon). In addition there are many origial photograpghs by Griffin, which he pasted throughout his extensive journal, 1950-1980. This journal is a remarkable account of his life and thoughts, extending to over 3,000 pages.

Finding Aids: Contents list, 83 pages
Restrictions on Access: Available for faculty, students, and researchers engaged in scholarly publication projects
Restrictions on Use: Permission to quote or publish must be obtained in writing from the Director of The Rare Book and Manuscript Library, as well as the copyright holder.
Provenance: Purchase 1995
Processing History: Processed by the Robert Bonazzi and Patrick Lawlor. All of the lengthy and informative notes are by Robert Bonazzi
Microfilm Information: No material on microfilm
Physical Location: In sequence

I: THE EARLY YEARS: 1920-1947 3

I: THE EARLY YEARS: 1920-1947
1 1 Biographical Sketch

8 page t.m.s. (incomplete)

1 2 Bibliography of Books and Monographs

5 page

1 3 Texas Department of Health

Birth Certificate

1 page (photocopy)
1 4 Coat of Arms and Genealogy

1 page each (photocopy)

1 5 Molire

Les Femmes Savantes

Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1936

Note: Inscribed "Howard Griffin, Lycée Descartes"
1 6 American Conservatory

Certificate of Attendance

[Paris], 1946

1 page (photocopy)

1 7 Griffin, John Howard

Handbook for Darkness

[Mansfield, TX], 1948

34 page
Note: Griffin's study "especially prepared for those who are in close contact with the blind". The text covers such areas as: "What Blindness Should Be to the Blind." "The Role of Those Who Live with the Blind." "The Role of Fear." "Potentialities for Overcoming the Handicap Ways to Financial Independence." "Marriage and Children." "The Intimate Life." "Religion."
Plus notes for mini chapters on Interests, Travel, A House Guest, A Hotel Guest, Clerks in Stores, and Mechanical Aids. Unpublished.
The text's last six pages contain a series of "Observations on. Blindness and Suggestions for Those Who See," which are short, compelling remarks that sum up his philosophy most effectively.
1 8 Griffin, John Howard

Review of Jacob Twersky's Blindness in Literature

The American Foundation for the Blind. [1948]

3 page (carbon)

Note: There is no record of this manuscript having been published
1 9 Defense Passive


Tours, France, 30 September 1939

One 5" x 8" sheet Mimeograph document, with notes in pencil

1 10 Defense Passive

"Les Gaz de Combat"

Two 8 1/2" x ll" sheets Mimeograph document, with notes in

Note: Penciled notes are not in Griffin's handwriting

1 11 Comite International de la Croix-Rouge

To Howard Griffin

Geneva, 13 September 1939

1 t.l., signed by Mlle. L. Odier, Membre due Comite

International (and) Membre de la Commission des Oeuvres de

1 12 Tours. School of Medicine

Diploma awarded to John Howard Griffin

Tours, 17 May 1946

1 page (photostat)
1 13 United State of America. Army

Military record and certificate of honorable discharge of John Howard


[n.p.], 1945

3 pages (photocopy)
1 14 United State of America. Department of State

Passport of John Howard Griffin

Texas, 26 June 1946

6 page (photocopy)

1 15 Father Marie-Bruno, O.P. [Andre Hussar]

To John Howard Griffin

[v.p.], 1 May 1945 - 19 May 1947

10 a.l.s.

1 autograph saint card
Note: Monk and spiritual mentor to John Howard Griffin
1 16 Casadesus, Robert

To John Howard Griffin

[v.p.], 1941-1952

18 a.l.s.

Note: French pianist and composer; musical mentor to John Howard Griffin. Five posted from Princeton, NJ; two on letterhead of the School of Music, American Art Schools of Fontainebleau; others posted from concert stops in St. Louis, Cleveland, and Miami; 25 pages (front and back combined); and four Autograph Envelopes
1 17 Casadesus, Robert

"To Whom It May Concern"

Palace of Fontainebleau, France, 28 May 1964

1 a.l.s.
Note: With photocopy of t.l., signed by Claude Levi-Strauss, French Ambassador and Minister of Culture, concerning Griffin's acceptance to study music; t.l., signed by Mary Crennan. on Columbia Concerts letterhead to Griffin, regarding his query as to Casadesus' concert schedule, November 30, 1945

1 18 Casadesus, Jean

To John Howard Griffin

New York, [17 April 1972]

1 t.n.s.
Note: With a carbon letter from Griffin to Jean Casadesus, July 28, 1963; form Letter of the Robert Casadesus Society to Griffin, signed by Therese Casadesus-Rawson, for the Organizing Committee; November 24, 1974. Carbon of Typed Letter from Griffin to Therese Casadesus-Rawson, concerning his memory of her as the childhood daughter of Gaby and Robert Casadesus during which she nicknamed him le grand ours, November 30, 1974

1 19 Treverton, James R. :
News Feature published in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, 11 Nov.

1943, based on an interview with Gaby Casadesus, pianist and wife of

Robert Casadesus. Anecdotes about their friend and neighbor at

Princeton, Albert Einstein; St. Louis Symphony conductor Vladimir

Golschmann; the musical progress of the Casadesus children
News Photo from an unknown and undated New York newspaper,

concerning a concert to be given by the Casadesus for Russian War

Relief, at Carnegie Hall

Obituaries from the New York Times and the New York Post. Casadesus died 19 September 1972, after an operation for cancer of the pancreas; he was 73 1943-1972

4 clippings
1 20 Casadesus, Robert:
Four Music Programs, including one autographed by the pianist

Photocopies of Two other Music Programs--one of the Casadesus Family (Robert, Gaby, and Jean) and the other of a concert by Gaby Casadesus and Pierre Bernac, tenor

[n.p.], 1941-1946

7 items
1 21 Casadesus, Robert:

Four sheets of promotional material and news from the Robert

Casadesus Society, including envelope addressed to John Howard


Brochure for the Jean Casadesus Memorial Fund, Department of Music, State University of New York at Binghamton

Article in Musical America, discussing the first Ravel/Casadesus International Piano Competition, held at the Cleveland Institute of Music, August 25-31, 1975; the December 1975 piece includes a photograph of Gaby Casadesus and winner John Owings

[n.p.], 1972-1980

4 items
Note: Jean Casadesus was pianist-in-residence at SUNY, from 1965

until his death in January of 1972, in an automobile accident; he was 44
1 22 Reverdy, Pierre

To John Howard Griffin

[Solesmes, France], 23 November 1953

1 page a.l.s.

Note: In French. French poet, close friend of Picasso, Braque, etc.; he

died in 1961.

1 23 Szigeti, Joseph

To John Howard Griffin

Eugene, OR, 15 January 1945

1 page a.l.s.

Note: World-renowned violinist
1 24 Rheiny, Arthur

To John Howard Griffin

Solesmes, France, 21 January 1948

2 page a.l.s.

Note: In French
1 25 Reynal, Maurice

To John Howard Griffin

Paris, 25 April 1949

1 page a.l.s.

Note: In French
1 26-30 Rattner, Abraham

To John Howard Griffin

New York, 1943/1944

18 a.l.s.

1 a.n.s.

1 telegram

6 clippings, articles, etc.
Note: American painter who studied in Paris where he became friends with the Cubists and Surrealists
These letters were written in 1943 and 1944 while Griffin was a Sergeant in the Air Force 424 Bomber Squadron, serving in the South Pacific

The letters written from 1945 to 1949 cover the years of Griffin's return from the war, preparations for a trip to France (where he delivered packages of clothing for Rattner to the artist's friends in France), and also Griffin's return from France to live on a farm in Mansfield, Texas (then completely blind).

1 31 Gentle, Esther

To John Howard Griffin

[New York], [12 May 1975]

1 a.l.s.

1 32-43 Griffin, John Howard

The Devil Rides Outside

[n.p.], Christmas 1949

587 pp. (carbon)

In 12 folders

Note: The first draft of Griffin's first novel. Sent as a gift to Sally Gillespie.

In reading the manuscript it becomes obvious that the news stories surrounding the novel's composition--stories which were promulgated by the Smith brothers who owned Smiths, Inc. of Fort Worth--were inaccurate: Griffin did not write a 900 plus page manuscript which was cut nearly one-third by the editor/publisher Gordon Smith; the novel did not begin as a non-fiction account of Griffin's experience at the Abbey of Solemes, the Benedictine motherhouse of Gregorian Chant.

The novel varies from the final Smiths published version in relatively minor ways. It does not open with the scene of the anonymous American musicologist being driven to the old monastery by the cab driver, but begins with the narrator in his monastic cell (which is the second scene of the published version). The original manuscript has a short Epilogue which was dropped from the published book. That Epilogue was Part III, whereas the book has only two parts, entitled ."The Cloister Within" and "The Devil Without". The original manuscript simply calls these first two parts, "The Monastery" and. "The Village."

Otherwise, the manuscript runs closely to the published book. This does not indicate Griffin made several complete drafts from this 1947 first draft to the galley stage, in 1951. (The novel was published in 1952). It indicates that some sections were added later and some cutting was done from the original manuscript. The massive, poorly-written, obscenity-riddled typescript of 900 pages is a fiction of the publisher.

Also, the press releases from The Smiths which referred to Griffin's blindness and his war heroics were considered in bad taste by the author. He preferred to use a pseudonym which he had used (several in fact) when he submitted magazines work. Several pieces were published under the name Lew Smollett and no mention of the author's blindness or war experiences were included.
Griffin discusses these times in his letters to Sally Gillespie (see Series VII)
2 44 Daniels, Bradford

Background notes about the The Devil Rides Outside and its

subsequent censorship case

[n.p.], [1968]

7 page (photocopy)
2 45 Feature articles from Texas newspapers prior to the publication of

The Devil Rides Outside

Texas, 1952

9 page (photocopy)
2 46 Reviews of The Devil Rides Outside in Time; Saturday Review; NY

Herald Tribune; Dallas Times-Herald; Fort Worth Star-Telegram and

other national publications

[v.p.], 1952

28 page (photocopy)

2 47 Griffin, John Howard

Article on the censorship of The Devil Rides Outside

Dallas Morning News , 1954

1 page (photocopy)

2 48 Fadiman, Clifton

To John Howard Griffin

Mansfield, Texas, 30 Aug. [n.y.]

1 t.l. (copy)

2 49 Sussman, Cornelia and Irving

How To Read A Dirty Book

Franciscan Herald Press, [n.d.]

1 dust jacket

5 page (photocopy)

Note: Pages 102 - 111 of the book
2 50 News stories about the censorship case

Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press, 1954

26 page (photocopy)

2 51 Gerber, Albert B.

Sex, Pornography and Justice

New York: Lyle Stuart, 1965

9 page (photocopy)
Note: Legal discussion of the Butler vs. Michigan case (Griffin's novel

was the focus of a test case put forth by Pocket Books, publisher of the

paperback Devil)
2 52 Griffin, John Howard

To Father Gardiner

Mansfield, Texas, 26 June 1956

1 a.l. (carbon)

2 pages
2 53 Griffin, John Howard

To The Editor, The Michigan Catholic

[Texas], 29 July 1954

1 t.l. (carbon)

4 pages
2 54 Griffin, John Howard

To Father Maino

[Texas], 15 August 1954

1 t.l. (carbon)

9 pages
2 55 Griffin, John Howard

To Father Maino

[Texas], 7 October 1954

1 t.l. (carbon)

8 pages
2 56 Griffin, John Howard

To Reverend Jobert J. Dwyer

[Texas], 13 August 1956

1 t.l. (copy)

4 pages
2 57 Griffin, John Howard

To Paschal Varnskuhler

[Texas], 16 August 1956

1 t.l. (copy)

4 pages
2 58 Owens, Robert

To John Howard Griffin

Denver and Anderson, SC, 9 April 1965 - 17 January 1966

3 t.l.s.
Note: Re. playscript of Devil

2 59 Marshall, Bruce

Statement on The Devil Rides Outside

[n.p.], 14 October 1953

1 t.l. (copy)

Note: Re. playscript of Devil
2 60 Pocket Books, Inc.

To John Howard Griffin

New York, 7 May 1964

1 t.l.s.
Note: With two related letters concerning a Polish edition of The Devil

Rides Outside
2 61 Presses de la Cite & Smiths, Inc.

Promotional materials for The Devil Rides Outside

[v.p.], ca. 1952

5 items
2 62 Houghton Mifflin

To John Howard Griffin

Boston, 1 April & 22 July 1969

2 t.l.s.

3 t.l. (carbon replies)

2 63 Smith, J. Hulbert

To John Howard Griffin

Fort Worth, 1 April & 22 July 1969

2 t.l.s.

3 t.l. (carbon replies)
2 64 Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

To Elizabeth Bonazzi

Toronto, 1985

1 t.l.s.
Note: Regarding reading from Devil

2 65 Alexandrian Press

To John Howard Griffin Estate

CA, 1984

1 t.l.s.
Note: Requisition to reprint Devil

2 66 Southern Methodist University Press

To Robert Bonazzi

Dallas, Texas, 1987

3 t.l.s.
Note: Regarding reprinting The Devil Rides Outside

2 67 Griffin, John Howard

"The Cage"

Mansfield, Texas, [n.d.]

21 page (carbon)

Note: Dedicated to Abraham Rattner
2 68 Griffin, John Howard

"The Peas"

Mansfield, Texas, [1951?]

23 page (with ms. corrections)

Note: About a young boy growing up blind on a farm. This is a more

successful reworking of "The Cage". It was submitted to magazines

1951-1953 (unpublished)
2 69 Griffin, John Howard

"Scraps for a Feast" ["The Seawall"]

Mansfield, Texas, [1955?]

13 page

Note: Fictional rendering of an actual trip Griffin made to Galveston


2 70 Griffin, John Howard

"The Seawall"

Mansfield, Texas, [1952]

13 page (with ms. corrections)

2 71 Griffin, John Howard

"Black Noon"

Mansfield, Texas, [1952]

5 page

Note: Vignette about blind man going to town (unpublished)
2 72 Griffin, John Howard

"Just Ask Wooly"

Catholic Digest, November 1956

7 page photocopy (incomplete)

Note: Reprint of story that appeared originally in Catholic World.
2 73 Griffin, John Howard

"Blindness - what it is and what problems it entails."

[n.p.], May 1959

2 page

Note: Lecture outline
2 74 Smollett, Lew

"The Big-Time Stockman"

Farm and Ranch, February 1952

2 page photocopy

Note: Story about blind farm boy who raises livestock.
Griffin's first published short story
2 75 Gantz, H. L.

"Trouble is what you make it"

Farm and Ranch, [n.d.]

2 page photocopy

Note: Profile of Griffin. Reveals that Lew Smollett is really Griffin
2 76 Daniel, Bradford

Notes on Griffin's short stories

[n.p.], [1967]

3 page photocopy

2 77 Griffin, John Howard

"Withdrawal of the Artist"

The Nation, May 1953

1 page photocopy

Note: On being a writing member of the Silent Generation
2 78 Griffin, John Howard

Review of Bonner McMillion's The Lot of Her Neighbors

The Daily Times Herald, March 1953

1 page photocopy

2 79 Griffin, John Howard

"Sauce for the Gander"

New York: New American Library, 1953

10 page photocopy

2 80 Griffin, John Howard

Reprint of "Sauce for the Gander"

New York: Macmillan, 1956

8 page photocopy

2 81 Griffin, John Howard

"Friar Clud"

[Mansfield, Texas], [1953]

10 page (with ms. corrections)

Note: Unpublished
2 82 Griffin, John Howard

"Friar Clud"

[Mansfield, Texas], [1953]

33 page (incomplete, with ms. corrections)

Note: Unpublished. Sequel to "Sauce for the Gander"
2 83 Griffin, John Howard


[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

11 page (missing page 1)

Note: Third draft. Unpublished short story which is reminiscent of The

Devil Rides Outside in that it takes place in a monastery and portrays

similar monk characters

2 84 "Metamorphosis"

[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

3 page (carbon)
Note: 2nd draft?
2 85 Griffin, John Howard


[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

3 page

2 86 Griffin, John Howard


Mansfield, Texas, [1950s]

54 page (with ms. corrections)

Note: Short story about working in the French Underground based on

Griffin's actual experience

2 87 Griffin, john Howard


[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

14 page (playscript)

2 88 Griffin, John Howard

"Samuel Mullins's Unfortunate Jinx"

[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

29 page (carbon, with ms. corrections)

2 89 Griffin, John Howard

"Samuel Mullins's Unfortunate Jinx"

Mansfield, Texas, [n.d.]

28 page (carbon)

2 90 Griffin, John Howard

"Samuel Mullins's Unfortunate Jinx"

Mansfield, Texas, [n.d.]

20 page

2 91 Griffin, John Howard

"Samuel Mullins's Unfortunate Jinx"

Mansfield, Texas, [n.d.]

19 page

2 92 Griffin, John Howard

"The Bargain"

[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

8 page

Note: Unpublished
2 93 Griffin, John Howard

"Model Boy"

[Mansfield, Texas] [n.d.]

14 page (carbon)First draft(?)

2 94 Griffin, John Howard

"The Weakling" [Model Boy]

[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

14 page (carbon)

Note: 2nd draft(?)
2 95 Griffin, John Howard

"Southern Dirge in Black and White" [Model Boy]

Mansfield, Texas, [n.d.]

13 page

Note: 3rd draft(?)
2 96 Griffin, John Howard

"Miss Henrietta Briggs and Her Metamorphosis"

Story Number Three, The Magazine of the Short Story in Book

Form, 1953

16 page photocopy

2 97 "Clovis's Thirst"

[Mansfield, Texas], [n.d.]

10 page
Note: Unpublished
2 98 Griffin, John Howard

"Noble Vision"

Mansfield, Texas, [n.d.]

20 page (carbon, with ms. corrections)

Note: Early draft of "The Cause" a story published in The John Howard

Griffin Reader
3 99 "The Whole World in His Hands"

New York: New Voices 2, 1955

12 page photocopy
3 100 Griffin, John Howard

"Afternoon Hooch"

Mansfield, Texas, [1953]

15 page, (with autograph corrections)

Note: Unpublished. Based on a 1953 trip to the Bowery with Clyde

3 101 Griffin, John Howard


[Mansfield, Texas], [1955-1957]

12 page (with ms. corrections)
Note: Humorous vignettes, published in The John Howard Griffin

3 102 Griffin, John Howard

More "Diversions"

[Mansfield, Texas] [ca. 1955]

10 p,

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