Collection ID: LMC 2699
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Collection context


Mystery Writers of America
The Mystery Writers of America mss., 1945-2019, consist of the records and correspondence of the Mystery Writers of America, Inc., the leading association for professional crime writers in the United States.
43 Boxes
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[Item], Mystery Writers of America mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.


Biographical / Historical:

Mystery Writers of America, Inc., the leading association for professional crime writers in the United States, was established in 1945 for the "purpose of promoting and protecting the interest and welfare of mystery writers and to increase the esteem and literary recognition given to the genre." The organization was inspired by the Detection Club of London, though membership to MWA is more open—available to anyone published in the genre. Early organizers and members included: Howard Haycraft, Erle Stanley Gardner, Dorothy B. Hughes, Anthony Boucher, Rex Stout, Stuart Palmer, the Q. Patrick team, Fred Dannay and Manfred Lee (Ellery Queen), Helen Reilly, Octavus Roy Cohen, Leo Zagat, Roger Torrey, Kurt Steele, and the Lockridges. In addition to offering courses, workshops, and networking opportunities for mystery writers, the organization also has the goal "to monitor tax and other legislation affecting writers" to protect their economic interests. Each spring, the MWA sponsors the Edgar Awards Dinner and Symposium, named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe who is considered to be the "Father of the Detective Story." The award is widely acknowledged to be the most prestigious award in the genre.

Scope and Content:

Administrative files include meeting minutes, committee records, and membership lists. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent or topic and includes letters from Herbert Brean, Jan Broberg, Odessa May Cropper, Derek Gardner, James D. Horan, Donald MacCampbell, Maurice Renault, Lewis Thompson, Hilary Waugh, Peter Williams and Barry Zemen. The Events series includes materials from the annual Bouchercon conference, the International Crime Congress, and the Edgar Award Dinner. Printed Material features magazines and newsletters such as Alfred Hitchock's Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen, Mystery Scene, Mystery Writers Annual, and The Third Degree. Writings contain drafts, proofs, and shelf copies of various works, including several published by Mystery Writers of America Anthology. Regional Chapters contain records from national chapters of Mystery Writers of America ranging from New York to California. Subject Files are listed alphabetically and include materials pertaining to Raymond Chandler and Clarice Welch. The Legal series includes records pertaining to censorship and copyright law. Financial records include bills, financial reports, and cash receipt journals. Photographs include images from the annual Edgar Awards Dinner, while other Audio-Visual materials include various audio recordings and videocassettes.

Acquisition information:
Acquired: 2009
Processing information:

Processed by Amy Jankowski.

Completed in 2011


The collection is organized into the following series: I. Administrative; II. Correspondence; III. Events; IV. Printed Material; V. Writings; VI. Regional Chapters; VII. Subject Files; VIII. Legal; IX. Financial; X. Photographs; XI. Audio-Visual.

Physical location:
ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility)



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[Item], Mystery Writers of America mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Indiana University Bloomington
1200 East Seventh Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
Indiana University Bloomington
(812) 855-2452