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John Sullivan Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Wade-A-92 through 94 and A-19a-b

Scope and Contents

The Sullivan Collection contains 11 series: 1) Hilaire Belloc Materials (Three subseries: Miscellanea, Pieces BY Belloc, Pieces ABOUT Belloc), 2) Catalogs, 3) Correspondence, 4) Events, 5) G.K. Chesterton Society, 6) Miscellaneous, 7) Personal Papers (Two subseries: Notes, Publications – Related Materials), 8) Publications, 9) Scrapbooks, 10) Tapes, and 11) Unpublished Materials.

Hilaire Belloc was a contemporary and a good friend of G.K. Chesterton. John Sullivan’s collection contains many items relating to Belloc which are now in the Belloc series, divided into three subseries: Miscellanea: related publications, some original materials, caricatures, etc., Pieces BY Belloc: pamphlets, articles, etc., and Pieces ABOUT Belloc: articles ranging from 1913-1980.

The Catalogs series contains various sales listings from booksellers with some annotations by Sullivan. The Correspondence series includes letters between Sullivan and Dorothy Collins (Chesterton’s secretary and heir), Aidan Mackey (Chesterton scholar), The Wade Center, and a wide variety of other correspondents between 1946 and 1982.

The Events series contains publicity and publications from a variety of Chestertonrelated events, particularly exhibitions of original Chesterton materials and the 1974 Chesterton Centenary celebrations. The G.K. Chesterton Society series has financial records, meeting minutes, publicity, and newsletters from the Chesterton Society (based in the UK).

The Miscellaneous series includes various Chesterton-related items such as caricatures, word puzzles, photographs, bibliographic listings, and a selection of enclosures from books that came with the Sullivan Collection which are now stored in the Wade Center book collection.

The Personal Papers series holds some personal papers of John Sullivan, divided into two subseries: Notes: handwritten notes and lecture outlines, and Publications – Related Materials: with short published pieces by Sullivan and materials relating to his booklength publications. See also: the scrapbook series for additional articles by Sullivan.

The Scrapbook series has 9 scrapbooks and their inserts (pieces which have become detached from scrapbook pages). Contents of the scrapbooks primarily contain published articles by and about Chesterton, Belloc, and other related topics. Scrapbooks 6 and 8 are stored in the Oversize section of the archive, A-19a-b.

The Tapes series is a collection of 15 audiocassette tapes which include interviews with John Sullivan, BBC radio programs in honor of Chesterton, Chesterton’s voice (see Wade Center sound recording collection for these same recordings on CD), music inspired by Chesterton’s works, and some non-Chesterton programming. The quality of the recordings varies greatly, and portions of the tapes have been digitized on CD when the recording quality and the nature of the content seemed appropriate.

The final series, Unpublished Materials, contains typescripts of essays, articles, and reviews about Chesterton and his works.

The original listings of the Sullivan Collection, received when the papers first arrived at the Wade Center in 1984, may be viewed upon request. Within those listings and on the original boxes, abbreviations used by Sullivan were as follows: “PC” for press cuttings, “HB” for Hilaire Belloc, “F” for spring-back files (many of which were discarded due to deterioration), and “GK” for G.K. Chesterton. Numbers written on pieces found in this archive often relate to Sullivan’s original typed catalog (ex: 958 ii would relate to item 958, part 2 in the catalog). The Wade Center implemented an additional numbering system to the physical boxes with the abbreviation “SUL” for “Sullivan” and then the box number (1-36). Example: SUL-25 would be Sullivan box 25. These numbers are no longer in use, but may appear in records relating to this archive.


  • Created: 1899-1982
  • Other: Majority of material found in 1950-1980


Biographical or Historical Information

The Wade Center purchased the materials in this archive in 1984.


3.00 boxes : 156 folders, 2 large scrapbooks

3 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This archive contains materials from the Chesterton collection of John J. Sullivan, and other personal interests of his. Included is a large variety of newspaper clippings, correspondence, book catalogs, Chesterton-related events materials, and secondary critical work on Chesterton by Sullivan and others, both published and unpublished. Many materials were removed from this archive and incorporated into the Wade Center's Chesterton holdings.

Source of Acquisition


Related Publications

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

Mackey, Aidan. "Obituary for John J. Sullivan, K.S.G." Seven 5 (Wheaton, IL: The Marion E. Wade Center). (1984): 6. (see Wade Center bound periodicals collection, includes a brief biography of Sullivan) \

G.K. Chesterton Family Papers and G.K. Chesterton Manuscripts: Original letters and manuscripts by Chesterton have been removed from the Sullivan materials and are now stored in these collections.

Wade Center Article File: over 600 articles have been removed from the Sullivan Collection and placed in the Wade Center’s article file.

Wade Center Artwork Collection: various original pieces of artwork by and about G.K. Chesterton were removed from this archive and stored with the Wade Center’s artwork holdings.

Wade Center Book Collection: Many books by, about, and owned by Chesterton were removed from the Sullivan Collection and are now in the Wade Center’s book holdings. Books by Belloc and others related to Chesterton were also removed.

Wade Center Original Periodicals collection: dozens of periodicals have been removed from the Sullivan materials and are now stored in this collection.

Wade Center Photo collection: Three photos of G.K. Chesterton have been removed from the Sullivan Collection and are now stored in the Wade Center’s photo collection (GKC / P-38, P-39, P-40). Also a series of snapshots of Top Meadow, taken by John Sullivan in 1962, are stored in photo collection (GKC-L / P-13).

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

Other Descriptive Information

There is an acquisitions file for this collection, which contains several original catalogs from Sullivan for the collection, and one folder with references to W.H. Auden letters which were not found with the archive. The collection includes sound recordings and photographs.

Processing Information

Processed by Laura Schmidt

John Sullivan Collection
Laura Schmidt
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Marion E. Wade Center Repository

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