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Edwin T. Bowden Collection Relating to Peter De Vries

An inventory of the collection at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: Nov 1996

Biographical History

Edwin T. Bowden (1924-2006) was an American literary historian and biographer. Following his B.A. from Harvard University in 1948, Bowden received a Fulbright Fellowship at Cambridge University, where he studied with F.R. Leavis, and then a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1952. Bowden taught briefly at Yale (1952-1956) but spent the majority of his career at the University of Texas (1956-1994). His area of concentration was 18th and 19th century American literature and poetry, and he wrote several scholarly biographies on American writers, including James Thurber, Peter DeVries, and Washington Irving.

Peter De Vries (1910-1993) was an American comic novelist and editor. Born in Chicago, Illinois, he studied at Calvin College and Northwestern University. He was editor for Poetry magazine from 1938 to 1944 and then joined the staff of The New Yorker magazine, where he worked for more than forty years (1944 to 1987). Notable works by him include Comfort Me With Apples (1956), The Blood of the Lamb (1961), and Cat's Pyjamas (1968).

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Spanning 1936 to 1990, the Edwin T. Bowden Collection Relating to Peter De Vries comprises correspondence, writings, and memorabilia assembled by the American literary historian and bibliographer. The material documents Bowden's work an his bibliography of Peter De Vries while also illuminating the role of the comic novelist and New Yorker editor in its creation.

Correspondence includes 61 De Vries letters and postcards generated between 1963 and 1990. Published essays, poems, and stories from Esquire, The New Yorker, Saturday Review, and The Saturday Evening Post constitute De Vries' Writings. Memorabilia contains a 1974 critical essay and newspaper reviews of De Vries' novels.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence and writings are arranged chronologically. Memorabilia is arranged alphabetically by type.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

In addition to the manscript material, the Library also houses a comprehensive selection of various editions of Peter De Vries' books from Edwin T. Bowden's library. Please refer to the Classic Catalog for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


De Vries, Peter, 1910-1993.


American fiction.
American wit and humor.

Genres and Forms

Dust jackets.
Printed materials (object genre)
Reviews (document genre)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Edwin T. Bowden Collection Relating to Peter De Vries,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchased with funds from the Adah C. Blackman Fund, 1996.

Table of Contents



Memorabilia (printed material)