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Leslie A. Fiedler papers

 Collection — Box: 1-11, 12+-16+
Identifier: 16-4F-284

Scope and Contents

Contains handwritten manuscripts, typed drafts, printed page proofs, galley proofs, correspondence and clippings of Fiedler's early published and unpublished essays 1958-1968. Box 11, folder 12 contains folders with notes from the original processing of the collection (author unknown).


  • 1932-1969


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Leslie A. Fiedler Papers are open for research.

Permission to publish material from this collection must be requested in writing from the University Archivist at the University Libraries of the State University of New York at Buffalo.


Copyright is held by The State University of New York at Buffalo, University Archives. Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical Note

Leslie Aaron Fiedler was born March 8, 1917 in Newark, New Jersey. Fiedler left Newark as soon as he could and ventured north to pursue his education. After receiving his B.A. from New York University in 1938, Fiedler pursued graduate studies in English at the University of Wisconsin where he received both his M.A. and Ph.D.

Fiedler's first academic position was at Montana State University, Missoula, where he was hired as an assistant professor in 1941. In 1963 he transferred to the State University of New York at Buffalo where he remained for the duration of his career.

From 1974 to 1977, Fiedler served as chair of the University's Department of English. He was promoted to SUNY Distinguished Professor in 1987 and in 1989 he received the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, the highest award given by UB. Fiedler held the department's prestigious Samuel L. Clemens Chair for thirty years. After his death in 2003, the position was renamed the Leslie A. Fiedler Chair.

One of the giants of 20th century literary criticism, Fiedler was widely respected in his field. In 1988 he was elected to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters as a member of the Department of Literature and in December 1994 the Modern Language Association awarded Fiedler the Hubbell Medal for Lifetime Contribution to the Study of American Literature.

Arguably his most significant work is Love and Death in the American Novel (1960), in which he explores homoerotic and death themes in American literature. A reviewer said of this novel: "How quickly Americans forget. No one covers American literature with more knowledge, humor, insight and depth. This work is an American classic like the classics he covers: Moby Dick, Huckleberry Finn and The Scarlet Letter. I don't know how you get through graduate school without reading this work, the first in a trilogy. Fiedler's other two fine books being Waiting for the End, and The Return of the Vanishing American."


8.5 Linear Feet (10 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 1 folio box, 4 oversize boxes)


Collection of Leslie A. Fiedler, noted author, poet, and literary critic; includes handwritten manuscripts, typed drafts, printed page proofs, galley proofs, and correspondence relating to various books written earlier in his career including The Art of the Essay (1958); No! in Thumder (1960); The Second Stone (1963); The Last Jew in America (1966); and Return of the Vanishing American (1968).


The collection divided into two series: I. Writings and II. Correspondence.
Within each series the files are arranged chronologically. The organization of the collection was not substantially modified in reprocessing.

Acquisition Information

Papers donated by Leslie A. Fiedler on December 22, 1969. Contents of 8.6B transferred from The Poetry Collection, University at Buffalo, on May 26, 1982.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Originally processed by: Archives Staff, 1972. Collection was re-processed by Jen Goul, March 2004 for preservation purposes.


Finding Aid for the Leslie A. Fiedler papers
Finding aid prepared by Jen Goul.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)