Skip to main content

William E. Barrett Papers

 Collection
Identifier: M014

William E. Barrett (1900-1986) wrote numerous novels, short stories and articles. His novel, The Left Hand of God, was translated into ten different languages and was made into a movie, starring Humphrey Bogart. The Lilies of the Field was made into a movie starring Sidney Poitier in 1963. Barrett's work reflects the dilemmas of his society through interpersonal relationships and religious and ethical decisions made by his characters. His writings are representative of the needs of the age, and had great impact upon thousands of readers.

The collection consists of copies of Barrett's published works, original manuscripts and revisions, research materials, and correspondence relating to his writings. The collection spans the years 1926-1975, and also includes material concerning the movie adaptations of his novels.

Dates

  • 1926-1975

Creator

Language of Materials

Materials are in multiple languages.

Extent

23 Linear Feet (23 record boxes)

Scope and Contents

The William E. Barrett Papers reflect the development of a successful author during the time of America's involvement and emergence from World War II, and into the 1950s and 1960s. The collection consists of copies of Barrett's published works, original manuscripts and revisions, research materials, and correspondence relating to his writings. The collection spans the years 1926-1975, and also includes material concerning the movie adaptations of his novels. It also includes reviews, and correspondence relating to Barrett's monographs; short stories together with magazines in which they appear; book reviews of other writer's works; general correspondence; printing blocks for book illustrations; books by Barrett in English and other languages; and books written by other authors.

Biographical / Historical

William E. Barrett was born November 16, 1900 in New York City, the son of John Joseph and Eleanor Margaret (Flannery). He attended Manhatten College in New York and worked as the Rocky Mountain advertising manager for Westinghouse from 1923-1929. In 1929 he became a free-lance writer (although he had published his first poem at age 15).

Barrett married Christine M. Rollman on February 15, 1925; they had two children, William E., Jr. and Marjorie Christine.

Barrett was an amateur pilot, a member of the National Press Club, the Denver Press Club, P.E.N., Colorado Authors League (of which he was president 1943-1944), Denver Athletic Club, and the Sierra Club. He received a citation from Regis College in 1956, and an Honorary Doctor of Literature degree from Creighton University in 1961.

William E. Barrett wrote the following published books: Woman on Horseback (biography), 1938; Flight From Youth, 1939; Aviation as a Business, 1945; The Evil Heart, 1946; The Number of My Days, 1947; To the Last Man, 1948; The Left Hand of God, 1951; The Shadows of the Images, 1953; The Sudden Strangers, 1956; The Empty Shrine, 1958; The First War Planes, 1960; The Edge of Things (collection of two novellas and two novels), 1960; The Lilies of the Field, 1962; The Fools of Time, 1963; The Shepherd of Mankind, 1964; The Glory Tent, 1967; The Red Lacquered Gate, 1967; The Wine and the Music (also under the title Pieces of Dreams), 1968; A Woman in the House, 1971; The Shape of Illusion, 1972; and Lady of the Lotus, 1975.

Barrett also wrote short stories which appeared in seventeen collections and anthologies and were published in many national magazines. His novel The Left Hand of God was translated into 10 different languages, while his other novels have been translated into an average of 5 different languages. Four of Barrett's books were purchased for films: The Left Hand of God (starring Humphrey Bogart), produced in 1955; The Lilies of the Field (starring Sidney Poitier), produced in 1963; The Wine and the Music, which was produced as Pieces of Dreams (starring Robert Forster and Lauren Hutton), produced in 1970; and The Man From Rome, which was purchased but never produced.

Barrett moved to Denver, Colorado with his family at the age of 16, and resided there for many years. He passed away at his family home in Denver in 1986, at the age of 85.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged in five series:; 1. Manuscripts,1938-1975.; 2. Short Stories and Novelettes, 1926-1966.; 3. Book Reviews Written by Barrett, 1940-1966.; 4. Correspondence, 1934-1968.; 5. Printing Blocks, undated. __Books in this collection were separated and cataloged for Special Collections. A list is available in Special Collections.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift from William E. Barrett, 1983.

Accruals

No further accruals are expected.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428