The Sumner Locke Elliott collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, printed material, photographs, scrapbooks, family papers, and other items.
Manuscripts for books by Elliott (all published by Harper and Row) include Careful, He Might Hear You (1963); Some Doves and Pythons (1966); Eden’s Lost (1969); The Man Who Got Away (1972); Going, Going (Harper and Row, 1975); Water Under the Bridge (1977); Signs of Life (1980); About Tilly Beamis (1983); Waiting for Childhood (1987); Fairyland (1990); and an untitled novel, left unfinished at his death.
Manuscripts for teleplays include “Beloved Stranger” (1955), for Goodyear Television Playhouse (1955); “The Thin Air” (1952), “We Were Children” (1952), “Before I Wake” (1953) and “Friday the 13th” (1954) for Philco Television Playhouse ; “The King and Mrs. Candle,” for Producer’s Showcase (1955); “Whereabouts Unknown,” for The Kaiser-Aluminum Hour (1957); “Babe in the Woods” (1957) and “Love at Fourth Sight” (1957) for Studio One ; adaptations of The Count of Monte Crist o (1958) and The Prisoner of Zenda (1961) for Dupont Show of the Month ; “Daisy! Daisy!” (1956) and "You and Me... and the Gatepost!" (1956) for Playwrights ‘56; “I Heard You Calling Me” (1961), for Way Out; “Mrs. Gilling and the Skyscraper” (1957) for The Alcoa Hour; and “Wish on the Moon,” for United States Steel House (1959).
Manuscripts for stage plays by Elliott include Storm, winner of Junior Theatre league prize for best original one-act play in 1931; Invisible Circus; Buy Me Blue Ribbons; The Cow Jumped Over the Moon; and Rusty Bugles .
Other manuscripts by Elliott include the radio play “Wicked is the Vine,” for Australia’s Lux Radio Theatre (1947); Elliott’s screenplay adaptation of Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Elliott was replaced on the project by George Axelrod); a screenplay titled Wanting (unproduced); various short stories and articles; and various pieces of juvenilia, including Elliott’s first stories, poems, and plays.
Manuscripts by others in the collection consist of adaptations of Elliott’s novels by others, including a screenplay version of Careful, He Might Hear You by Michael Jenkins; a television mini-series version of Water Under the Bridge by Michael Jenkins and Eleanor Witcombe; a television mini-series version of Eden’s Lost by Michael Gow; and a musical version of Careful, He Might Hear You, by David Sale and Ron Creager.
Correspondence in the collection dates from ca. 1963 to 1990, and includes both personal and professional letters as well as fan mail. Notable correspondents include Mary Astor, Enid Bagnold, Anne Baxter, Nathaniel Benchley, G. Whitfield Cook, Patrick Dennis, Coleman Dowell, Dominick Dunne, Richard Haydn, Shirley Hazzard, Harriet Van Horne, Josephine Jacobsen, Richard Kennedy, Betty Lane (Watson), Joshua L. Logan, Delmert Mann, Martin Manulis, Hal Prince, Dotson Rader, Rex Reed, Cyril Ritchard, Liz Smith, Francis Steegmuller, Tom Tryon, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Patrick White.
Printed material in the collection includes printed articles and stories by Elliott (primarily in various magazines); sheet music for two songs from The King and Mrs. Candle (a musical for television for which Elliott wrote the book); reviews of Elliott’s writings; and other items
Photographs in the collection consist of various prints of Elliott as a child, Elliott performing, publicity shots, family photos, and other images. There are a few photo albums regarding Elliott’s theatrical performances.
Scrapbooks in the collection includes several albums regarding Elliott’s stage acting or productions of his plays. Other albums pertain to reviews of Elliott’s writings.
Other items in the collection include an audio recording of an interview with Elliott by Gwen Plumb; the transcript of an interview with Elliott by Kate Jennings; a 16 mm kinescope (and video transfer) of the film Mrs. Gilling and the Skyscraper (1957); a diary kept by G. Whitfield Cook during Elliott’s illness (1990); a press kit and still photos from the television mini-series version of Eden’s Lost; a charcoal sketch of Elliott; 2 beta tapes titled “Water Under the Bridge”; and various items of personal memorabilia.
One section of the collection consists of Elliott’s family papers. These include correspondence, primarily letters to Elliott from family and friends dating from 1913 to 1954; a family tree; various legal documents, including Elliott’s adoption papers; clippings; photo albums; an address book and a note book; and other items. Also present are manuscripts for material written by Elliott’s mother, Sumner Locke; included are the plays Signposts and The Awakening, as well as the novels (published by N. S. W. Bookstall Co., Ltd.) Mum Dawson “Boss” (1911), The Dawsons’ Uncle George (1913) and Skater Farm Takes a Spell (1917). Notable correspondents in this section include Hedda Hopper, Lillian Locke-Burns, Sumner Locke, Betty Field, Arthur Hopkins, Will Mahoney, and Katharine Prichard.