Sanford, John (1904-2003)

The John Sanford collection includes manuscripts, printed material, audio material, film and video material, correspondence, legal material, financial material, memorabilia, diaries and journals, photographs, professional material, medical records, research material, notebooks, and scrapbooks.

Manuscripts include novels and screenplays, as well as other materials written by Sanford, his wife Marguerite Roberts, and others. These works often contain corresponding drafts, proofs, annotations, and/or notes. Novels by Sanford consist of works of fiction including The Water Wheel (1933), The Old Man’s Place (1935), The People from Heaven (1943), and A Man Without Shoes (1951); historical works including A More Goodly Country (1975) and To Feed Their Hopes (1980); and biographical works including Scenes from the Life of an American Jew—Volumes 1-4 (1985-1991), Maggie: A Love Story (1993),  and A Palace of Silver (2003) among many others.

Screenplays in the collection consist of works by Roberts including Honky Tonk (1941), Ziegfeld Girl (1941), Dragon Seed (1944), Diamond Head (1962), True Grit (1969), and Red Sky at Morning (1971), among many others.

Printed material consists of magazine articles, newspaper articles, and novels, among other materials. Magazine and newspaper articles include those that review the works of Sanford and Roberts, those that feature excerpts of their work, those that contain interviews of them, and those that pertain to them. Notable articles include “The Last Communist” from Esquire (1996).

Books include the personal libraries of both Sanford and Roberts containing works by various authors. Notable books include The Democratic Spirit (1941), Red Sky at Morning (1968), True Grit (1968), Tender Comrades (1997), among others. Also included in printed material are the HUAC transcript hearings for Sanford and Roberts, Sanford’s PEN Award acceptance speech 1986, various biographical materials, and published versions of Sanford’s and Roberts’s work.

Audio material in the collection includes cassette tapes containing recordings of Sanford’s works, interviews, and material regarding the blacklist, among other materials.

Film and video material in the collection includes VHS tapes including a screen test of Roberts, various award shows, and Honky Tonk (1941), among others.

Correspondence in the collection includes the personal and professional letters of both Sanford and Roberts. Professional correspondence includes letters regarding Sanford’s various books; letters regarding the rejections of books including Every Island Fled Away (1964), A More Goodly Country (1975), and To Feed Their Hopes (1980), among others; and letters with notables Joan Crawford, Mel Fiske, J. Edgar Hoover, Jack Mearns, William Carlos Williams, among others.

Also included in correspondence are letters from Sanford and Roberts to and from the U.S. government spanning most of the 20th century; letters with family members, including David W. Nevins; studio correspondence during and after the blacklist; letters to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer, including contracts; and various personal letters.

Legal material consists of legal agreements regarding Sanford’s books; Roberts’s contracts with Lowes and Metro-Goldwyn Mayer; family wills, estate documents, tax forms, death certificates, and related documents; various legal documents for David W. Nevins; Department of Justice files on Sanford and Roberts; House Un-American Activities Committee summons for Sanford and Roberts; and other materials.

Financial material includes credit lists, a receipt for a gun purchased by Sanford, and royalty statements for A Book of American Women (1996).

Memorabilia in the collection includes various awards won by both Sanford and Roberts, including Sanford’s PEN Literary Award for The Color of Air: Scenes from the Life of an American Jew (1985) and Roberts’s Christopher Award for True Grit (1969), among others; high school diplomas for Sanford and Roberts; vacation souvenirs and pamphlets; papers for their pet dogs; Sanford’s law degree certificate and diploma from Fordham University, among other miscellaneous items.

Diaries and journals include a diary by Sanford and Roberts during their HUAC hearings from August through November in 1951, a daily journal from 1957, daily reminder books from 1971-1973, and a “trip abroad” journal from 1982.

Photographs in the collection consist of black and white prints, negatives, and albums. Photographs are of Sanford and Roberts, ranging from their childhood through the 21st century. Photographs also feature their dogs, their families, and their various vacation trips, among other miscellaneous topics.

Professional material in the collection includes press release material for Sanford’s various books; various office files regarding personal information on Roberts and her family, personal information on Sanford and his family, and information on the Nevins family, among other topics; and other miscellaneous material.

Also included in the collection are medical records including date books and other materials with medical notes from the 1960s through the 1980s, research material regarding Sanford’s book Every Island Fled Away (1964), notebooks with material collected by Sanford on David W. Nevins, and a scrapbook of printed and legal material from 1918, among other materials.

Notable Figures
1. Sanford, John B., 1904-
Associated Subjects
1. Jewish Studies Subject Guide
2. Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Subject Guide
3. The Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist Era Subject Guide