The Jay Williams collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, research material, printed material, memorabilia, and legal material.
Manuscripts in the collection include drafts, corrections, and notes for Williams’ novels, nonfiction books, children’s books, and short stories. Novels include those by Williams as well as those written under his pseudonym, Michael Delving. Titles include The Good Yeoman (1948), The Witches (1957), Danny Dunn on the Ocean Floor (1960), Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave (1961), The Forger (1961), Danny Dunn and the Heat Ray (1962), Danny Dunn, Time Traveler (1963), Danny Dunn and the Automatic House (1965), Danny Dunn and the Voice from Space (1967), Danny Dunn and the Smallifying Machine (1969), The Devil Finds Work (1969), Danny Dunn and the Swamp Monster (1971), The Hawkstone (1971), The Hero from Otherwhere (1972), A Shadow of Himself (1972), Die Like a Man (1973), Danny Dunn, Invisible Boy (1974), The People of the Ax (1974), The Burglar Next Door (1976), The China Expert (1976), Danny Dunn, Scientific Detective (1976), Danny Dunn and the Universal Glue (1977), The Time of the Kraken (1977), and The Magic Grandfather (1979). Nonfiction titles include Caesar Augustus (1951), The Battle for the Atlantic (1959), Knights of the Crusades (1962), Joan of Arc (1963), Life in the Middle Ages (1966), The Spanish Armada (1966), and Stage Left (1974). Children’s/picture book titles include Philbert the Fearful (1966), The Cookie Tree (1967), The King with Six Friends (1968), School for Sillies (1969), A Box Full of Infinity (1970), Stupid Marco (1970), The Silver Whistle (1971), The Magical Storybook (1972), A Bag Full of Nothing (1974), Everyone Knows What a Dragon Looks Like (1976), Pettifur: a Story (1977), The Reward Worth Having (1977), The Wicked Tricks of Tyl Uilenspiegel (1978), The City Witch and the Country Witch (1979), The Surprising Things Maui Did (1979), One Big Wish (1980), and The Water of Life (1980). Short story titles include The Good-for-nothing Prince (1969), Petronella (1973), and The Fear Shouter (1979). Poetry and television and theatre sketch scripts are also included.
Correspondence in the collection dates from the early 1930s to the 1980s and includes professional, personal, and general correspondence. Professional correspondents include publishers, literary agents, and other colleagues. Personal correspondents include his wife and children. Many fan letters from young readers are also included. Notable correspondents include Roland Bainton, James Blish, Kermit Bloomgarden, Anthony Boucher, Morris Carnovsky, Bennett Cerf, Aidan Chambers, Harold Clurman, Robert Coates, Peter Dickinson, Edward Dmytryk, Candida Donadio, W. E. B. Dubois, Francis Farmer, Jean Craighead George, Edwin Gilbert, Mordecai Gorelik, Robert Graves, Gerald S. Hawkins, Frisco Henstra, John Hersey, Dorothy B. Hughes, Stanley Edgar Hyman, Shirley Jackson, Anthony Kershaw, Joseph Wood Krutch, Willy Ley, Maxim Lieber, Patrick O’Brian, H. F. M. Prescott, J.B. Priestley, Mary Renault, Frank Robbins, Earl Robinson, Elmo Roper, Ivan T. Sanderson, Martin Seymour-Smith, George Sklar, Edward Sorel, Wolfgang Suschitzky, Gwyn Thomas, Geoffrey Trease, Tomi Ungerer, Louis Untermeyer, Max Wilk, Hugh Ross Williamson, and Samuel Youd, among others.
Research material in the collection includes notes and interviews for several of Williams’ books. Notebooks, each containing approximately 50 pages of handwritten notes, are devoted to research for different books. Cassette tapes of interviews are included, such as a collection of interviews with prominent members of the theatre community in the 1930s. Notable interviewees include Morris Carnovsky, Elia Kazan, Albert Maltz, and Nicholas Ray.
Printed material in the collection includes newspaper and magazine clippings, and articles. Clippings include publicity and reviews of Williams’ various works. Articles include short fiction and nonfiction pieces by Williams published in magazines such as American Scholar, Astounding Short Fiction, Books and Bookmen, Esquire, and Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine.
Memorabilia in the collection includes various awards and certificates given to Williams between 1949 and 1971. A yearbook of his infantry in the Army is also included.
Legal material includes contracts, releases, and agreements between 1943 and 1962.