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Madeleine L’Engle Papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SC-003

Scope and Contents

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.


  • Created: 1918-2019
  • Other: Date acquired: 1975


Conditions Governing Access

The majority of the collection is open for research. However, a portion of the collection is restricted in order to protect the privacy of Madeleine L’Engle’s correspondents. Prior permission must be given from the executor of Madeleine L’Engle’s estate to access unpublished letters that were written to Madeleine that are within the collection.

Rights of publication must be secured from the executor of Ms. L’Engle’s estate, or from the appropriate author or agent in the case of secondary works.

Conditions Governing Use

Duplication may be restricted if copying could cause damage to items.


360 boxes

140 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by series with folder level control.

Source of Acquisition


Method of Acquisition

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.

Other Descriptive Information

The papers of Madeleine L’Engle (nee Madeleine L’Engle Camp), popular writer and lecturer, form a growing collection which presently occupies nearly 150 linear feet. The collection is comprised of personal papers, correspondence, manuscripts and galley proofs, articles, art-work, book reviews and announcements, photographs, and secondary source material. Copies of books by L’Engle are also stored in the Special Collections as part of the collection.

Processing Information

Last verified: Spring 2018

Madeleine L’Engle Papers
Buswell Library Special Collections Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

501 College Ave.
Wheaton IL 60187-5593 USA