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George Wickes modern literature research collection

Identifier: Coll 485

Scope and Contents

53 published books: 16 books by or about Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell; 37 books by or about Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell; 37 books by or about Natalie Barney and her circle.

Scope and Contents

Henry Miller portion of the collection holds published texts written or inscribed by Henry Miller, other volumes by individuals who knew Henry Miller well, and had written books about him. Correspondence and draft manuscripts by/to Henry Miller, or correspondence about Henry Miller by Brassaï and Anaïs Nin to George Wickes/Henry Miller. Postcards, newspaper clippings, audiotape materials, microfilm, self-portraits, Walter Lowenfels interviews about Henry Miller. Large number of documents/drafts and research materials relating to the following manuscripts: Americans in Paris, Letters to Emil, Lawrence Durrell & Henry Miller: A Private Correspondence, and Henry Miller and James Laughlin: Selected Letters. Natalie Barney section consists of correspondence to and from Natalie Barney, photographs of Natalie Barney and compatriots, and many publications annotated by George Wickes about Natalie Barney, written by herself, people of that era or fellow researchers. Notes and interviews with various individuals who knew or lived in period of Natalie Barney, who spoke with George Wickes prior to publication of “Amazon of Letters”. Photocopies of relevant books, book reviews, clippings, notes, academic correspondence, permissions correspondence, dust jackets, petition for historic site, translations and transcriptions, and more. George Wickes’ personal papers contains correspondence with publishers, friends from the era such as Aldous Huxley, Ursula K. Leguin, Kay Boyle, other letters relating to projects such as Paris Review, Frederic Mistral and others. In addition, George Wickes’ personal CV, resume and profile, newsletters he featured in, manuscript illustrations, Aldous Huxley papers, Paul Bowles oral history.


  • 1855-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1963-2006


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Born January 6, 1923, in Antwerp, Belgium, Professor George Wickes, due to his mother’s heritage, spoke French as a first language. He served with the United States Army and later with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), which later evolved to become the CIA, acting as a spy in Vietnam after World War II, at one time having a bounty on his head. His time in the army lasted from 1943 to 1946, after which he attended college on the GI Bill, graduating from the University of Toronto in Canada in 1944, followed by his Masters in Arts at Columbia University in 1949, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1954 from University of California, Berkeley. He began his illustrious teaching career at Duke University for three years, followed by a move to Claremont, California to become one of the founding faculty members of Harvey Mudd College, at where he remained for twelve years. Professor Wickes was awarded a one-year appointment at the University of Oregon beginning in 1970, and remained in that post for almost fifty years, despite his initial retirement in 1993, he remained teaching until 2015. He is 95 years of age at present and still living, with his wife a professor, Louise Westling, in Eugene, Oregon. George Wickes was a friend of Henry Miller’s, writing a book about him (Henry Miller: Down and Out in Paris), and edited several volumes of correspondence between Henry Miller and other individuals. Another notable individual, about whom George knew, communicated with, and wrote, was Natalie Clifford Barney, the subject of George’s book, “The Amazon of Letters”. Henry Miller, born December 26, 1891, was a prolific writer, the author of such notable texts such as Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, Quiet Days in Clichy, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, and many more. Many knew Miller for his surrealist style, with an unapologetic crudeness at times, beauty in simplicity at others. Miller was also a painter of watercolors, enjoyed this escape from his writing, especially during his final years in Big Sur, California, and died June 7, 1980. Natalie Clifford Barney, born October 31, 1876, is best known for holding her literary salon for over 60 years, located at 20 rue de Jacob, in Paris. Natalie was born in Dayton, Ohio, but soon relocated permanently to Paris. Natalie Clifford Barney was a notable writer and lesbian, well known for her many love affairs, including that of with Dolly Wilde (niece of Oscar), Romaine Brooks, Renee Vincent and many others. She wrote several books in French, and only one in English language, though she spoke both languages fluently. George Wickes obtained her blessing for his manuscript prior to her passing February 2, 1972.


12.75 linear feet (10 containers) : 7 record storage boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 2 flat boxes

64 gigabyte(s) (1 SD card)

Language of Materials



George Wickes taught at the University of Oregon for almost fifty years, during which time he wrote several books about and with Henry Miller, Americans in Paris, and a biography of Natalie Barney. This collection holds all materials pertaining to his work on those individuals.


The collection is organized into three series: 1 Henry Miller materials and manuscripts 2 Natalie Barney Materials 3 George Wickes personal papers Series 1. Henry Miller materials and manuscripts is arranged in four subseries: 1.1 Collected Publications 1.2 Correspondence 1.3 Interviews and research materials 1.4 Manuscripts and related materials Series 2. Natalie Barney materials is arranged in three subseries: 2.1 Collected materials 2.2 Research correspondence 2.3 Research materials Series 3. George Wickes personal papers is arranged in two subseries: 3.1 Correspondence 3.2 Publications and professional ephemera

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of George Wickes, 2010

Processing Information

Processed by Danica Alexander in 2018.

Guide to the George Wickes modern literature research collection
Complete Description
Danica Alexander
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA