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Woolmer, J. Howard


Biographical statement

Book collector and bibliographer, J. Howard Woolmer, wrote to Cormac McCarthy praising both Outer Dark (1968) and McCarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper (1965) after reading Robert Coles’ review of Outer Dark published in the March 22, 1969 issue of The New Yorker. In his July 29, 1969 letter, Woolmer states his intent to begin collecting all of McCarthy’s work and asks if the author would be willing to sign copies of his books. In his August 16 reply, McCarthy agrees. These letters mark the first of over 120 sent between the two men from 1969 to 2006. By 1969, Woolmer had been in the book selling business for almost ten years. Operating out of the literary Mecca of New York City, he issued his first catalogue in 1961. His early catalogues were of modern first editions and on the works of literary giants such as James Joyce. Woolmer soon began issuing catalogues based on single subjects; the first on the Imagist Poets (1966) and then, in 1969, on the novelist Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano. He has since published a bibliography on Malcolm Lowry; A Checklist of the Hogarth Press; and a bibliography of the Leonard L. Milberg Irish Theatre Collection. In a 2007 interview, Woolmer stated that he had initially moved away from modern firsts because “I didn’t get enough of a kick from the books of contemporary writers.” However, with Cormac McCarthy he had discovered an exception, and over the next thirty years he amassed a remarkable collection of signed first editions, advance proofs, and foreign imprints of McCarthy’s books. The Wittliff Collections purchased these books in 2006 along with the collection of letters between McCarthy and Woolmer.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Woolmer Collection of Cormac McCarthy

Identifier: SWWC-092

The Woolmer Collection of Cormac McCarthy spans 1969-2006 and documents the professional and personal friendship between the book collector and McCarthy. The collection is arranged in four series: Correspondence, Writings by McCarthy, Writings about McCarthy, and Woolmer’s Bibliography Files.

Dates: 1969 - 2006

SMC 0095. Harriet Doerr correspondence, 1995 - 1998

Collection Overview From the Collection: Small Manuscript Collections consists of material acquired by the Wittliff either through gift or purchase that are not part of larger collections. They are often indiidual items or small groups of items relating to a particular author, musician, photographer, or topic. Types of material include: manuscripts; letters; photographs; ephemera such as pamphlets, brouchures or cataloges; reports; historical documents; and other printed material. Each item or group of items is assigned a unique...
Dates: 1995 - 1998

Additional filters:

Archival Object 1
Collection 1
Authors, American 1
Book collecting -- United States 1
Correspondence 1
Women authors 1