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John Leggett Papers

Identifier: MsC0503

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Scope and Contents

The Legget Papers primarily document Leggett's published books, stories and other writings, but the files for the Writers' Workshop period, 1969-1987, contain significant correspondence files and notable letters are found among drafts and reseach materials as well. The collection contains two unpublished William Saroyan manuscripts.


  • Creation: 1933-1987
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-1979


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright to the work of William Saroyan is controlled by the William Saroyan Foundation; and some photocopies among the Saroyan research files are marked to prevent further photocopies being made from them. Copyright status for other collection materials may be unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owner. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility and potential liability based on copyright infringement for any use rests exclusively and solely with the user. Users must properly acknowledge University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections and Archives as the source of the material. For further information, visit

Biographical / Historical

John Leggett was born November 11, 1917, in New York, NY. He was the son of Bleecker Noel and Dorothy (Mahar) Leggett. Leggett attended Andover, received an A.B. at Yale University in 1942, and served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1942 -- 1945, becoming a lieutenant. He married Mary Lee Fahnestock in 1948, with whom he had three children. They divorced in 1986, and Leggett married Edwina Bennington of San Francisco.

Leggett was an editor and publicity director for Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts from 1950 -- 1960 and an editor at Harper & Row Publishing in New York from 1960 -- 1967. In 1969 Leggett became a professor of English and the director of the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, serving in those capacities until 1987.

Leggett's published writings include Wilder Stone, The Gloucester Branch, Who Took the Gold Away, Ross and Tom: Two American Tragedies, and Gulliver House. His most recent book is A Daring Young Man: A Biography of William Saroyan (New York: Knopf, 2002), and his research files and drafts for it constitute the 2003 Addendum.


5.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Manuscripts and correspondence of the editor, writer, and director of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, 1969-1987. Papers include research files and drafts for Ross [Lockridge] and Tom [Heggen]: Two American Tragedies (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), including three hundred Ross Lockridge letters and 40 interviews; copies of newspaper articles and book reviews; 446 letters by and about Tom Heggen, 95 interviews, copies of stories and articles written by Heggen; copies of newspaper and magazine articles written about Heggen and Mr. Roberts; official reports concerning Heggen's death; and general research and miscellaneous Items. This collection also includes materials for A Daring Young Man: A Biography of William Saroyan (New York: Knopf, 2002), and other books and stories.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were donated to the University of Iowa Libraries by John Leggett from 1970 to 2003.

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Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Special Collections Repository

Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242 IaU
319-335-5900 (Fax)