Madeleine L'Engle Papers, 1918-2007
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Brief Description:

The Madeleine L'Engle Collection is composed of a variety of materials illustrating the life and works of this popular author and speaker. The items date from 1919 to the present and include correspondence, manuscripts, articles, photos, papers written by L'Engle, awards, interviews, book announcements and reviews, biographical and family information, some art work and a number of miscellaneous items. The collection is composed largely of material sent to the college by the author, although the special collections staff has assembled books and other support materials for the collection in addition to those sent by L'Engle.

The collection is organized under three main headings: Biographical, correspondence, and manuscripts. Correspondence is divided into three sub categories: Adult, Children's, and Business. Adult and Children's Correspondence are further categorized into "correspondence with replies" and "correspondence without replies." The individual letters are categorized by year and then alphabetically within each year. The Business Correspondence has six sub categories dealing with L'Engle's Addresses, Play/Screen Rights, Publishers/Magazines, Agents, Collections and General Business. These are also filed alphabetically within years by corporate name, when this is applicable. Articles are each assigned a random number as they are received and are filed numerically. They are categorized as articles, interviews, book reviews, or quotes. An article may be listed more than once if it can be classified under a combination of the above categories. The list of articles is maintained on line. A printed copy is included in this register. The collection contains little biographical material or family correspondence. Most of the family correspondence in the collection was inadvertently sent with other material. L'Engle's diaries and other personal items remain in her possession.  A large portion of the collection is devoted to correspondence, with most of the variety being in the Adult Correspondence. Many of the letters are from personal friends, fans and other authors. There was a decrease in the amount of correspondence with replies in late 1986 and early 1987 because of the illness and death of her husband, Hugh Franklin. The Children's Correspondence contains a significant amount of class assigned "form letters." Business Addresses includes invitations to speak and/or details about her speaking engagements. The General Business category includes items not falling under the specific business titles. The collection of L'Engle's manuscripts contains full Typescripts, Galley proofs, and Page proofs for her published and some unpublished works as well as published poems and addresses. The manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by title and chronologically within title series until 1987. Since 1987, in order to facilitate storage, the manuscripts have simply been added to the end of the series chronologically. The number of manuscript versions is not consistent from one work to the next. Manuscripts for most of Ms. L'Engle's works are found in the collection. We were not sent manuscripts of: The Moon by Night, The Twenty Four Days Before Christmas, Prayers for Sunday, Spirit and Light, The Weather of the Heart and The Anti Muffins.

The primary guide to the collection's contents is the container list. Other finding aids include: an article listing, a first name list of selected correspondents, and a frequent correspondent list. These are included in this guide. Children's artwork, if sent with a letter is filed with the Children's correspondence. If the work is oversized, it is filed separately with other artwork and a note is placed with the letter indicating that artwork was included. Artwork by Madeleine L'Engle's placed in a box separate from other artwork. Oversized items are stored separately. Other mementos are kept with the covering correspondence. Photos received with letters are kept together unless L'Engle is in the photo. Photos of L'Engle are assigned a number and filed numerically in a separate series.

Held at:
Special Collections, Buswell Library
501 College Ave.
Wheaton, IL 60187 5593
Phone: 630-752-5705
Email: special.collections [at]
Record Series Number: SC/003
Created by: L'Engle, Madeleine (1918-2007)
Volume: 360.0 Boxes
Acquired: 00/00/1975.
More information is available at
Arrangement: The collection is arranged by series with folder level control.
Biographical Note for L'Engle, Madeleine (1918-2007) :

Madeleine L’Engle was born on November 29, 1918, and spent her earliest formative years in New York City. Early on as a child, L’Engle discovered a love for writing, recording her thoughts in stories, poems and journals. At age 12, Madeleine and her parents moved to the French Alps, where she continued to nurture her passion for writing. She flourished during her high school years back in the United States at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina.

L’Engle next attended Smith College where she studied the classics of literature and continued her own creative writing. She graduated with honors in English and afterwards moved to Greenwich Village in New York City. She published her first two novels by 1946, before meeting her future husband, Hugh Franklin.

After their marriage, Madeleine had a baby girl and kept on writing, eventually moving to a small Connecticut country village to raise their family away from the city. Eventually they moved back to New York City with their three children, and Hugh revitalized his professional acting career. The family has kept their Connecticut country home, Crosswicks, and continues to spend summers there.

As the years passed and the children grew, Madeleine continued to write and Hugh to act, and they both enjoyed each other and life. Since 1966 L’Engle has been writer-in-residence and librarian at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. After Hugh’s death in 1986, Madeleine’s writing and lecturing sustained her, along with her ever growing family. After her husband's passing L'Engle enjoyed spending time with her friends, children, grand-children, and great grandchildren. After an extended illness Madeleine L'Engle died September 6th, 2007.

Access Restrictions: Access to the secondary non published portions of the collection is restricted to those researchers possessing written permission from Madeleine L'Engle's agent. Rights of publication must be secured from Ms. L'Engle's agent, or from the appropriate author or agent in the case of secondary works.
Subject Index
Adventure stories. - Juvenile fiction.
Authors, American. - 20th century - Interviews.
Bible. O.T. Genesis.
Bible stories, English - O.T. Genesis.
Camp, Madeleine Barnett.
Children's literature - Authorship.
Children's literature - Manuscripts.
Christian biography.
Christianity and the arts.
Christmas - Poetry.
Detective and mystery stories - Juvenile fiction.
Fantasy fiction.
Jesus Christ - Art.
L'Engle, Madeleine - Biography - Juvenile literature.
L'Engle, Madeleine - Interviews.
L'Engle, Madeleine - Manuscripts.
L'Engle, Madeleine. Wrinkle in time.
Religion - Fiction.
Religion in literature.
Science fiction.
Sermons, American - 20th century.
Time travel - Juvenile fiction.
Genres/Forms of Material
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Duplication may be restricted if copying could cause damage to items.
Acquisition Notes: Gift  In 1975 Professor Clyde S. Kilby of the English Department approached Madeleine L'Engle concerning the possibility of depositing her papers at Wheaton. She consented and in January 1976 the Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the collection. Since that time the Special Collections has received regular shipments of material from L'Engle.
PreferredCitation: Madeleine L'Engle Papers (SC-3), Wheaton College Special Collections, Wheaton, Illinois.