University of Chicago Library

Guide to the Thornton Wilder Papers 1939-1968

© 2006 University of Chicago Library

Descriptive Summary


Wilder, Thornton. Papers




.1 linear ft. (1 folder)


Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center
University of Chicago Library
1100 East 57th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.


Thornton Wilder, novelist, playwright, educator. The Thornton Wilder Papers consist of four items of correspondence.

Information on Use


No restrictions.


When quoting material from this collection, the preferred citation is: Wilder, Thornton. Papers, [Box #, Folder #], Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library

Biographical Note

Thornton Wilder was born on April 17, 1897 in Madison, Wisconsin to Isabella (Niven) Wilder and Amos Parker Wilder. He attended Oberlin College (1915-1917), received an A.B. from Yale University (1920), attended the American Academy in Rome (1920-1921), and received an A.M. from Princeton University (1926). He served in the U.S. Army from 1942-1945, receiving the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.

Wilder is best known as an author of novels, plays, and screenplays. Among his many published novels and plays, he wrote three Pulitzer Prize winning works: The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1928), Our Town (1938), and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943). He also won the Gold Medal for fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1952), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963), the National Book Committee’s National Medal for Literature (1965), and the National Book Award (1968).

Wilder was a lecturer in comparative literature at the University of Chicago (1930-1936), a visiting professor at the University of Hawaii (1935), and Charles Eliot Norton Professor of poetry at Harvard University (1950-1951).

Wilder received honorary degrees from New York University, Yale University, Kenyon College, College of Wooster, Harvard University, Northeastern University, Oberlin College, University of New Hampshire, and University of Zurich.

Thornton Wilder died in 1975.

Scope Note

The Thornton Wilder papers consist of four letters.

Related Resources

The following related resources are located in the Department of Special Collections:


Ryerson Family. Papers, 1803-1971

Nitze, William A. Papers

Paepcke, Walter. Papers

Subject Headings


Box 1   Folder 1


  • TW to Mrs. Edward L. Ryerson, n.d.
  • TW to Mrs. William Albert Nitze, 1939
  • TW to Helena Gamer, 1949
  • TW to Michael Claffey, 1968