Monday, January 12, 2009

Yet another topic, but I offer it up to you, dear readers

I've often toyed with posting a little list of topics that people request information, or topics I find myself, that clearly need more research, topics that have some articles, some entries in reference sources, but no definitive monograph. I toy with the idea of keeping the list, but have so far discouraged myself because of the Cassandra Syndrome. (Was Cassandra the first person to say, "I told you so"?)

But today's Topic of Discovery (TOD) is simply too good to let rest in some corner of my mind in the someday pile. Someone out there in the world of readers really must do the following:

Go directly to Columbia University Library in New York and consult the following:
1.
Papers, 1922-1969.
Creator: Gallico, Paul W., 1897-
Phys. Desc: 38 linear ft (ca.15,000 items in 90 boxes & 1 oversize folder).

These papers document the range of his literary career, beginning with his sports columns written for the DAILY NEWS in 1922 and continuing through THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE published in 1969. Included are drafts, typescripts, and proofs for all of his major writings, among them THE SNOW GOOSE, THOMASINA, MRS. 'ARRIS GOES TO PARIS, THE HURRICANE STORY, SCRUFFY, and THE SILENT MIAOW, as well as those for his hundreds of articles, essays, and stories, which have appeared in THE SATURDAY EVENING POST, COSMOPOLITAN, ESQUIRE, and other national magazines. In addition, his files contain his research notes, background material, photographs, and correspondence for each of his works.

2.
Correspondence with Paul Gallico Author: Harold Ober Associates, Inc.
1933-1977
English Archival Material Archival Material 4.5 linear ft. (ca. 7,250 items in 9 boxes).

Files of correspondence containing more than 1,000 letters from Gallico and over 4,500 letters to Gallico from Harold Ober. There is also correspondence concerning Gallico. These files discuss literary works in progress, plans for future articles and books, contracts and financial agreements, and screenplays of his novels.

Yes, readers, and would be PhD candidates who need a topic and a sensible librarian to boss them around, GO NOW. Do not pass go, do not stop at Starbucks for a latte. Get cracking before someone else gets their mitts on these juicy boxes of correspondence!

Paul Gallico you ask? I was updating my Goodreads.com profile (curse you interactive web 2.0, with your enormously addictive websites like GR!) with a whimsical entry, Gallico's Honorable Cat. I have always been amused that one of my favorite books as a young person was written by the same man who wrote The Poseidon Adventure. So, in adding PG's HC to GR, I decided I needed a bit more biographical information on this author who wrote on everything from cats to ships. Quel horreur, I too rapidly identified an error on GR's profile of PG. Of we go to the Gallico entry in American National Biography and find juicy items such as:

Gallico was married 4 times, the last two brides were European baronesses! (Baronessi?)

Gallico was born in NY, but basically became an expatriate.

He apparently kicked off the genre of "disaster movie" with his Poseidon Adventure. We can forgive him that since he also wrote Lou Gehrig, Pride of the Yankees. (Or can we? I haven't seen either movie, I confess.)

Another interesting morsel for you, his obit in the NYTimes, written by Molly Ivins, describes him as "bon vivant."

I wonder, was he a gin or whisky man? Bet those papers at Columbia would tell me. But you know that anyone who merits the label "bon vivant" from Molly Ivins and the New York Times knew how to give a toast!

1 comment:

youpsy said...

On bon vivantage: I paraphrase some of my favorite campaign comments about George W. Bush. He was arrested for drunk driving in the 1970s, which was a long time ago, and maybe it's time to let that rest. But do you remember the 1970s? Do you know how drunk you had to be to be arrested for drunk driving in the 1970s?