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Joy Davidman Papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Wade-A-109

Scope and Contents

There are six series in the Joy Davidman Papers: Correspondence, Miscellanea and Notes, Personal Papers, Poetry, Prose, and Publications.

Correspondence: Includes letters with Joy and Bill Gresham, David and Douglas Gresham, friends of Douglas Gresham, Bill and Laura Benét, Marion MacDowell, and others. Arranged alphabetically by last name, and then by date. Folders 6-8 were originally with the William Lindsay Gresham Correspondence collection (acq. 82/18), and were sent to Doug Gresham who then deposited them here with the Davidman Papers.

Miscellanea and Notes: Handwritten and typed notes by Davidman on various topics, a few items relating to her sons and husbands, and a blank notebook.

Personal Papers: Contains certificates, publishing contracts, diplomas, and official papers on Davidman’s British citizenship, as well as divorce proceedings between Joy and her first husband Bill, book royalty and tax statements, and other financial documents.

Poetry: A variety of poetry written over a broad span of years, primarily typescripts by Davidman, arranged alphabetically by poem title. One original folder of poems was titled “Courage,” and these were kept separate from the other poetry along with the original folder, arranged by title. Many poems contain multiple drafts or carbon copies and were separated from their second pages and additional stanzas in the original order of the papers. The processor attempted to match pages together when possible, but a number of poetry fragments remain.

Prose: Typescripts of short stories and additional prose works primarily by Davidman, arranged alphabetically by title. Some prose has multiple copies, and again the processor attempted to match fragments and complete works where possible.

Publications: A handful of published works by Joy Davidman from periodicals.


  • Created: 1926-1964


Conditions Governing Use

Reproductions or publication of content by Joy Davidman require permissions from the Gresham family via the C.S. Lewis Company. Reproductions or publication of content by C.S. Lewis require permissions from the C.S. Lewis Company. See additional note in fol. 17.


1.00 box : 75 Folders

1 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence, personal papers, and poetry and prose written by Joy Davidman. A few documents also relate to her first husband Bill Gresham, her sons David and Douglas Gresham, and her second husband C.S. Lewis. These materials are on deposit as an extended loan courtesy of Douglas Gresham.

Source of Acquisition


Related Materials

Researchers interested in this archive may also wish to consult the following resources in the Wade Center holdings:

Archival Collections:

Chad Walsh Papers (A-57)

And God Came In / A Love Observed Archive (A-26 thru 28)

William Lindsay Gresham Correspondence (A-51a-51b)

Douglas and Merrie Gresham Family Archive (A-29)

William Lindsay Gresham Papers (A-86 thru 91)

Lewis Library: The personal library books of C.S. Lewis also contain books relating to the Davidman and Gresham families. Ask the archivist for further clarification.

Wade Center Article File: contains articles by and about Joy Davidman, Douglas and Bill Gresham. Ask the archivist for further clarification.

Also: Tulchin, Nellis Joe Christopher. "What Happened to Joy Davidman's English Journal?" New York: New Masses Press, 2001.

Wade Center Book Collection:

Bergman, Alexander F. "They Look Like Men." Joy Davidman. New York: Bernard Ackerman, 1944.

"These Found the Way: Thirteen Converts to Protestant Christianity." ed. David Wesley Soper. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1951.

Davidman, Joy. "Anya." New York : The Macmillan Company, 1940.

---. "Letter To A Comrade." New York: AMS Press, Inc., 1971.

---. "Out of My Bone: The Letters of Joy Davidman." Don W. King. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2009.

---. "Smoke on the Mountain: an Interpretation of the Ten Commandments." Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1985. "War Poems of the United Nations." Joy Davidman. New York: Dial Press, 1943.

---. "Weeping Bay." New York: Macmillan, 1950.

---. “Yet One More Spring: A Critical Study of Joy Davidman.” Don W. King. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2015.

Dorsett, Lyle W. "And God Came In: The Extraordinary Story of Joy Davidman." Basingstoke, Hants: Marshall Pickering, 1988

---. "A Love Observed: Joy Davidman's Life and Marriage to C.S. Lewis." Wheaton, IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1998.

Gresham, Douglas. "Lenten Lands: My Childhood With Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis." Great Britain: Collins, 1990.

Santamaria, Abigail, “Joy: Poet, Seeker, And The Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis.” Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.

Sibley, Brian. "C.S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands: The Story of His Life With Joy Davidman." Grand Rapids, MI: Spire, 1999.

---. "Shadowlands: C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman." Brunnen-Verlag: Basel und Gieben, 1987.

"Seven Poets in Search of an Answer." ed. Thomas Yoseloff. New York: Bernard Ackerman, 1944.

Wald, Alan M. "Exiles From a Future Time: The Forging of the Mid-Twentieth-Century Literary Left." Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Williams, Charles. "Seed of Adam and Other Plays." London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1948. (Gift copy containing Joy Davidman’s signature)

Other materials in the Wade Center holdings may relate to the topics in this archive. See the archivist for further research assistance.

Separated Materials

Two original diplomas (elementary school and Hunter College) from folder 15 are stored in the artwork storage cabinet in Fragile Storage.

Other Descriptive Information

There is a research copy of this collection. There is an acquisition file for this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Schmidt

Joy Davidman Papers
Laura Schmidt
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 Marion E. Wade Center Repository

Wheaton College
501 College Ave.
Wheaton IL 60187-5593 US