A Guide to the Papers of Henry Miller 1943-1946 Miller, Henry, Papers of 7022-j

A Guide to the Papers of Henry Miller 1943-1946

A Collection in the
Clifton Waller Barrett Library
The Special Collections Department
Accession Number 7022-j


Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4110
Phone: (434) 243-1776
Fax: (434) 924-4968
Reference Request Form: https://small.lib.virginia.edu/reference-request/
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© 2002 By the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. All rights reserved.

Funding: Web version of the finding aid funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Processed by: Special Collections Department

Special Collections, University of Virginia Library
Accession number
Papers of Henry Miller, 1943-1946
Physical Characteristics
This collection consists of 25 items.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions.

Use Restrictions

See the University of Virginia Library’s use policy.

Preferred Citation

Papers of Henry Miller, Accession #7022-j , Special Collections Dept., University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased by the Library on May 18, 1995.

Scope and Content Information

The papers consist chiefly of letters to Marion and Norman Perry discussing his writing. Topics include finances and need for remunerative work, possibly for Readers Digest; watercolors; lack of political beliefs; admiration for Paul Klee and Hans Reichel; Picasso and Guernica; and personal news including the birth of his daughter Valentine.

He also mentions prices for and new editions of "Tropic of Capricorn"; book review work and possibilities; the American Library Service; radio scriptwriting; friends Robert Swasey and Herbert F. West; the work of Abe Rattner, Jack Levine, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Marc Chagall, Max Jacob, George Leite, Bern Porter, Brassa詬 Ghika,and Leo Lerman.

The collection also contains a clipping of a review of Miller's "The Air-conditioned nightmare" by Orville Prescott.

Additional correspondents include Henry Morton Robinson, Sherman H. Dryer, Emil White, and Carl Carmer.


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Contents List

  • Henry Miller, West Los Angeles, California, to Mrs. Perry 1943 Jan 18
    ALS, 2 p. on 1 l.

    Warns her that she will still have a hard time finding several of his books, "When booksellers do get hold of a copy of Black Spring , or Tropic of Capricorn , or Aller Retour New York they ask fabulous prices. I've seen Capricorn sell for $75.00 - right under my nose. And I wanted a copy badly myself." Tropic of Cancer and Hamlet are usually available and he lists three booksellers "that handle everything of mine they can get their hands on," Gotham Book Mart, Argus Book Shop, and Satyr Book Shop. Miller then goes on to ask if she knows any editors of book columns because he is trying to get book review work to do since "my royalties are practically nil. I am always in desperate shape. Living here with friends - have to."

  • Henry Miller, Los Angeles, California, to Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hamsphire 1943 Jan 19
    APCS, 1 p.

    Sends this postal card to add to his previous letter, informing her that she can find all of his books in the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and probably at Breadloaf, Middleburg, Vermont.

  • Henry Miller to Mrs. Perry 1943 Feb 2
    ALS, 1 p.

    Thanks both of the Perrys for their interest in his work and welfare but doesn't want to do radio scripts; writes about The Colossus of Maroussi ; or, The Spirit of Greece , "Yes, The Colossus was also published in England - and sold out at once, I am told. I received a check from the English publishers just the other day - for the 'advance' on the book. After all deductions had been made, for taxes & commissions, my part of the original 25 pounds came to exactly $24.59 - munificent, what!"

  • Henry Miller, Los Angeles, California, to Mrs. Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1943 Feb 16
    APCS, 1 p.

    Suggests she might also try to find some of his books at the American Library Service in New York City

  • Henry Miller to Marion Perry 1943 Mar 3
    ALS, 3 p. on 3 l.

    Discusses Paul Klee (1879-1940) and the German painter Hans Reichel, "I too am fanatically in love with Klee's work. And of course it is true that Reichel is a lesser Klee, that he derives from him, that he once (maybe always) admired him greatly. They were friends - they both played the violin. Reichel's wife, incidentally, was a violinist. She too, I learned from him, became an alcoholic - in Spain. Everything about Reichel's life is tragic, painfully tragic, and yet who could be more wondrous than Reichel? I spent many hours with him - and finally had to push him from me. Klee I like better than any modern painter, even better than Picasso. Klee is exactly what I seek - what I dream - in painting. And like Bach, he seems to have exhausted this elected realm." Miller goes on to compare the two men in great detail, saying of Reichel, "I owe so much to him. He is not for America. We would never begin to appreciate his particular genius."

  • Randi [Henry Morton Robinson ?], The Reader's Digest , Pleasantville, New York, to Norman [Perry] 1943 Mar 8
    TLS, 1 p.

    Discusses the Perry's attempts to help find Miller work, "I scarcely know how to answer the enclosed letter from Henry Miller. I've read it twice now, and to put it mildly, don't want to have anything to do with him. Life being what it is, and useful talents so plentiful in the market, I can't see what value or help Miller would be to The Reader's Digest . He has a perfect right to think as he does---but I'm just not interested after reading his letter."

  • Henry Miller, W. Los Angeles, California, to Mr. Robinson [1943 Mar ?]
    TL, 2 p. on 1 l.

    In the enclosed letter discussed above Miller states the type of work he is willing to do, "I won't do anything that goes against the grain . . .that's the chief thing to know, I guess. As for The Reader's Digest , I must confess I never read it. I don't ready any magazines, unless they're thrust on me, for some particular reason. I have done a few book reviews lately - without in any way traducing myself - for The Nation , New Republic , Chicago Daily News , etc. The pay is very poor, considering the amount of time effort required to do a conscientious job. But, since I cannot and will not write the kind of stories and articles which pay I am obliged to do book reviews. What I should like, naturally, is to find an editor who would give me two or three books a month - the less the better - just sufficient to keep me going."

  • Sherman H. Dryer, The University of Chicago, to Henry Miller, West Los Angeles, California 1943 Mar 10
    TLS (EC), 1 p.

    Writes concerning Miller's inquiry about the possibility of working on radio scripts for the University of Chicago, which Dryer says is unlikely because presently they have no dramatic program on the networks and due to the nature of the their scripts they cannot employ anyone residing outside of Chicago.

  • Henry Miller to Norman Perry 1943 Apr 3
    ALS, 2 p. on 1 l.

    Doesn't understand what he has done to annoy the Perry's friends and apologizes; asks whether Betty Ryan or Marian Willard sold them their Reichel painting; thanks them for the offer to stay in their home; mentions a friend of his in Paris, Robert Swasey, who was from New Hampshire and who bought him wonderful meals in Paris he could not afford himself; and talks about his present quarters, "I'm left with a little work table, a stool, a trunk - and the bed. All I need now is a more or less steady mistress and I'm set to finish the major opus."

  • Randi [Henry Morton Robinson ?], The Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, New York, to Marion [Perry] 1943 May 18
    TLS, 1 p.

    Against his wishes, he sends the address of Lt. E. Price Ehrich of Washington, D.C.

  • Henry Miller to Marion Perry 1943 [Jun?] 8
    ALS, 2 p. on 1 l.

    Informs her that he is now offering his watercolors for sale with the price left up to the buyer, "I am no painter, of course, but I have been playing with water-colors (as recreaction from writing) ever since 1926 or 1927."

  • Henry Miller to Marion Perry [1943 ?] Jun 12
    ALS, 1 p.

    Answers her questions about his political beliefs, "I remember you asking, though, if I were a Communist or Anarchist. I guess the latter, if anything. But I have no political principles -no interest whatever in social matters or political." He also mentions the work of Abe Rattner and Jack Levine and asks if their tastes in literature are similar, especially Louis Ferdinand Celine.

  • Henry Miller, West Los Angeles, California, to Marion Perry [1943 Jun ?] 27
    TLS, 1 p.

    Sends the Perrys two or three watercolors saying, "I do hope you realize that I am not a painter, but just a dabbler at it. Don't expect a masterpiece!" ; mentions that he also likes the painters Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and Max Jacob (1876-1944); warns her about the American Library Service; and assures her it is alright to call him Henry, "Most everybody does. But not Hank! My middle name is Valentine but I dropped that when I began signing my name to books. I would rather have been christened Paul or Ivan or Ned or even Claude. I always keep lists of Christian names I like in my note-books--especially women's names. English women have marvelous legendary names sometimes."

  • Henry Miller, Los Angeles, California, to Mrs. Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1943 Nov 8
    APCS, 1 p.

    Mentions trouble with his eyes; his painting activities; and his friend Herbert F. West at Dartsmouth

  • Henry Miller, Monterey, California, to Mrs. Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1944 Mar 5
    APCS, 1 p.

    Asks her to send a book and the magazine Cahiers d' Art concerning Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica as he is eager to learn more about the Guernica episode in Picasso's life.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry 1944 Jul 9
    TLS, 1 p.

    Asks if she has a book by Paul Klee describing how he painted some of his pictures; mentions preparing a collection of 75 new paintings for an exhibition in London; and informs her that a number of his books, including the banned ones, are soon coming out in private editions.

  • Henry Miller, Hanover, New Hampshire, to Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1944 Nov 14
    APCS, 1 p.

    Regrets that gasoline rationing prevents him from coming to visit them while he is staying with his friend, Herbert West, at Hanover.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry 1945 Jan 26
    ALS, 1 p.

    Tells her not to send the books just yet as they may be damaged in the rain; discusses Abe Rattner's work, "I saw his latest things and they are more resplendent than anything he has done before. He deserves support and encouragement - and sacrifice even. And as a human being I place him at the top of the list"; and asks her to send a pad of watercolor paper or a few tubes of paint.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Mrs. Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1945 Mar 3
    APCS, 1 p.

    Mentions Abe Rattner's recent award from the Pennsylvania Academy of Art and assures her, "I think you can get something from him at a reasonable price - if he likes you !"

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Mrs. Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1945 May 12
    APCS, 1 p.

    Copy of a lengthy post card testimonial for the literary magazine Circle edited by George Leite, an Oakland taxi-driver, and Bern Porter.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry 1945 Dec 5
    ALS, 1 p.

    Asks for her help in getting a friend's [George Dibbern?] work to one of the editors of The Digest and mentions the birth of a daughter, Valentine Lepoka Miller.

  • Emil White to Mr. Perry 1946 Jan 9
    ALS, 2 p. on 1 l.

    Furnishes a list chiefly of Henry Miller books sent to him with their prices and a list of books to be sent as soon as they are available; and mentions the birth on November 19 of Henry Miller's daughter, Valentine.

  • Henry Miller, to [?] 1946 Jan 23
    ALS, 1 p.

    Just wrote to Norman about [George Dibbern?]; mentions that the Tropic of Capricorn not reprinted because the printer destroyed the type and that all the Paris books are out in new editions of 10,000 each, soon will be out in French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1946 Feb 14
    APCS, 1 p.

    Mentions a book by his friend the Hungarian photographer Brassai and expresses a desire to see the Ghika reproductions.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1946 Feb 19
    APCS, 1 p.

    Thanks her for sending the Klee book and suggests she send the magazine by registered mail.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry, Ashland, New Hampshire 1946 Feb 23
    APCS, 1 p.

    Expresses delight with the issue of Cahiers d' Art , especially the article of Picasso by Max Jacob and mentions an exhibition of his water colors at Dartmouth.

  • Henry Miller to Marion Perry 1946 May 23
    ALS, 1 p.

    Requests payment for some books purchased by the Perrys on behalf of his friend Emil White who needs the money for a trip

  • Carl Carmer, MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, New Hampshire, to Marion and Norman 1946 Jul 4
    ALS, 1 p.

    Thanks them for a wonderful weekend of hospitality which he hopes to return some day.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to Marion Perry 1946 Jul 19
    APCS, 1 p.

    Offers to return the Picasso article by Max Jacob soon

  • Henry Miller to Marion Perry [n.y.] Oct 8
    ALS, 1 p.

    Asks her to return one of his watercolors for the exhibitions he is promised next month unless they have to be deframed; tells her the prices for his work are going up to between $35.00 - $75.00 a picture; and asks her if she saw the article by Leo Lerman in this month's Vogue .

  • Randi [Henry Morton Robinson ?], The Reader's Digest , Pleasantville, New York, to Marion and Norman [n.y.] Nov 5
    ALS, 1 p.

    Sends the Joyce article for their inspection.

  • Henry Miller, Big Sur, California, to "Dear Friend" n.d.
    TLS, 1 p.

    Sends out a form letter, informing his correspondents that Emil White will be taking care of his mail so he can devote himself to the completion of The Rosy Crucifixion .

  • Book Review 1945 Dec 19

    re The Air-Conditioned Nightmare by Henry Miller written by Orville Prescott for The New York Times .