Armstrong, Charlotte (1905-1969)
Scope:

The Charlotte Armstrong collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, personal memorabilia, notebooks, photographs, and legal material.

Novels and short story collections by Armstrong in the collection (all published by Coward McCann) include Mischief (1950); The Black-Eyed Stranger (1951); Catch-as-Catch-Can (1953); The Trouble in Thor, written under pseudonym Jo Valentine (1953); The Better to Eat You (1954); The Dream Walker (1955); The Seventeen Windows of Sans Souci (1959); Duo (includes “The Girl with a Secret” and “Incident at a Corner,” 1959); Something Blue (Ace, 1962); A Little Less than Kind (1963); The Witch’s House (1963); The Turret Room (1965); Dream of Fair Women (1966); I See You (short stories, 1966); A Little Girl for Daddy (ca. 1966); The Gift Shop (1967); Lemon in the Basket (1967); The Motive (1967); The Balloon Man (1968); Seven Seats to the Moon (1969); The Protégé (1970); The Charlotte Armstrong Reader (1970); The Charlotte Armstrong Treasury ( The Witch’s House, Mischief, The Dream Walker, 1972); and The Charlotte Armstrong Festival ( The Gift Shop, Lemon in the Basket, The Balloon Man, 1975). Unpublished novels include To Be a Hero, Pluck Out the Heart, and I Know a Fellow Six Feet High .

Plays by Armstrong in the collection include The Happiest Days (first produced on Broadway, 1939); Ring Around Elizabeth (first produced on Broadway, November 1941; published by Samuel French, 1942). Other plays (probably not produced ) include You Got to Go On, Romantic Island, Comes the Revolution, Never Let On, Little Nell, The Prisoner in the Tower, The War to Win the War, The Snatch, It Ain’t Necessarily So, Opus 14, Siren’s Song, Glass House, The Real Princess, Dragon’s Bay, and The Boy from France .

Teleplays in the collection include pieces by Armstrong based on her own and other’s works, as well as pieces by other writers based on Armstrong’s work. Of particular note are three episodes of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents : “Across the Threshold,” episode 175, from a story by L. B. Gordon, directed by Arthur Hiller, aired Feb. 28, 1960; “The Five Forty Eight,” episode 196, from a story by John Cheever, directed by John Brahm, aired Oct. 25, 1960; and “Sybilla,” episode 201, from a story by Margaret Manners, directed by Ida Lupino, aired Dec. 6, 1960. Other series represented include: Studio 57, “The Plot Against Miss Pomeroy,” adapted by Armstrong from her own story, episode 5, aired Oct. 19, 1954; Climax! “Mask for the Devil,” episode 135, adapted by John McGreevey from Armstrong’s story, aired Oct. 10, 1957; and Ford Startime, “Incident at a Corner,” episode 27, adapted by Armstrong from her own story, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, aired Apr. 5, 1960.

Short stories in the collection include numerous items published in various magazines, dating from 1924 to the mid-1960s. Magazines represented (in printed editions) include American, Argosy (London), Clubwoman, Cosmopolitan, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Ladies Home Journal, McCall’s, Read, Redbook, Saturday Evening Post, Star Weekly (Canada), This Week, To-Day’s Woman, Wisconsin Literary Magazine, Woman, Woman’s Day, Woman’s Own, Women’s Home Journal, and Women’s Journal . Of particular interest is Armstrong’s novel The Pumpkin Shell, condensed in Ladies Home Journal, 1948; it is the only extant copy of this work. The collection also includes several other published and unpublished short stories, as well as published and unpublished novelettes, poetry, a cantata titled The Adoration, an opera libretto titled Of This Adventure, and other miscellaneous works by Armstrong.

The correspondence in the collection primarily consists of Armstrong’s letters to and from her publishers, especially Carl Brandt, as well as other related letters to Carol Brandt and Bernice Baumgarten; the bulk of these letters date from 1941 to 1959. Also present in the collection are several personal letters and fan mail items. Notable correspondents include Abraham Burack, Liz Nealon, and Ellery Queen (Frederic Dannay), as well as a fan letter to Armstrong from Gelett Burgess (1946). As a whole, the letters date from 1941 to 1969; they also include several letters from Armstrong’s husband, Jack Lewi, written in the early 1970s and sent to Armstrong’s correspondents after her death in 1969.

Printed material in the collection primarily consists of the magazines described above. Also present are numerous reviews of Armstrong’s works, as well as publicity items (1945-1969), obituaries for Armstrong, and other miscellaneous items.

Personal memorabilia in the collection includes Armstrong’s first example of typing on a machine, given to her (with a note) by her parents in 1925; her high school commencement program (1921); her membership certificate in Phi Mu (1923); the Barnard College Senior Week Program (1925); other college-related material; and a citation from the Glendale Historical Society (1951).

Notebooks in the collection include sixty-five notebooks used for notes, reminders, and manuscript sketches, mostly holograph with some typed entries, ca. 1950-1969. Additional notebooks include: 5 notebooks and other loose sheets regarding The Seventeen Windows of Sans Souci ; a notebook labeled “Notes for Incident on a Corner”; a notebook labeled “Freedom”; three unlabeled notebooks; and fourteen notebooks (with some loose sheets) labeled “journals,” 1944-1945, 1949-1954, 1956-1957, 1961.

Photographs in the collection include several prints of Armstrong as a child, with notes on the back written by her sister, Eleanor Armstrong Burridge. Also included in the collection are a photograph of Armstrong with her husband, Jack Lewi, and a photograph of Armstrong with Dr. Howard B. Gotlieb in his office.

Legal material in the collection consists of sixteen reverted agreements with Coward McCann and Ace Books regarding Armstrong’s books, dating from the late 1940s to the 1980s.

Associated Subjects
1. Mystery and Suspense Fiction Subject Guide
2. Women's Studies Collections -- Drama, Film, and Television Subject Guide
3. Television Subject Guide
4. Helen Deutsch Research Section
5. Poems
6. Alfred Hitchcock presents (Television program)
7. Climax! (Television program)
8. Motion picture plays – Women authors
9. Motion picture authorship – United States
10. Television authorship – United States
11. Studio 57 (Television program)
12. American literature -- Women authors
13. Screenplays
14. Novels
15. Television writers – United States
16. Ford startime (Television program)
17. Women authors, American
18. Television plays
19. American literature--20th century
20. Detective and mystery stories, American
21. Women novelists, American
22. Photographs