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SCRB Collection 010. Yerkes, James and Ruth. The James and Ruth Yerkes Collection of John Updike and Related Materials, 1954-2011: Overview

Collection Description

Yerkes, James and Ruth.  The James and Ruth Yerkes Collection of John Updike and Related Materials, 1954-2011.  SCRB Collection 10.  9 Hollinger boxes, 1 flat box, and 1 oversize folder.

The James and Ruth Yerkes collection of John Updike and related materials mainly contains works by and about John Updike.  Included are articles and poems written by John Updike along with articles, books, and reviews written by others about Updike and his works.  Also found in this collection is work by James Yerkes, including materials from John Updike and Religion, and the Updike website The Centaurian, a website created by Yerkes concerning Updike.  Audio and video recordings of Updike are also included.  John Updike was an American novelist, poet, short story writer, art critic, and literary critic.

Biographical Note

John Hoyer Updike was born in Reading, Pennsylvania on 18 March 1932.  He graduated from Shillington High School in Shillington, Pennsylvania in 1950, and within four years obtained a degree in English from Harvard University.  Updike worked as a staff writer for The New Yorker and published some of his own short stories during the 1950s.  His first novel The Poorhouse Fair was published in 1959.  The next year he published Rabbit, Run the first in a series of four novels following character Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom.  Updike continued to write novels, short stories, literary and art criticisms, children’s books, and poetry over the next 50 years.

Updike married Mary E. Pennington in 1953.  They had four children, Elizabeth, David, Michael, and Miranda.  The couple divorced in 1974.  In 1977 Updike married Martha Ruggles Bernhard.  Updike died of lung cancer in Danvers, Massachusetts on 27 January 2009.

James Yerkes is professor emeritus of Religion and Philosophy at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Yerkes and his wife Ruth currently live in Surry, Maine.  Yerkes is the editor of a scholarly collection of essays, John Updike and Religion, and founded The Centaurian website, where he posted news and commentary about John Updike and his works.

Scope and Content

This collection is divided into three series, John Updike, James Yerkes, and Recordings.

John Updike, 1954-2011 has four subseries: Works by Updike, Works about Updike, Works about Updike by Alice and/or Kenneth Hamilton, and Miscellaneous.

Works by Updike, 1954-2008 holds poems, short stories, remarks, and speeches written by John Updike.

Works about Updike, 1959-2011 consists of articles about John Updike by other authors and reviews of Updike’s publications.

Works about Updike by Alice and/or Kenneth Hamilton, 1967-2009 consists of articles about John Updike and a manuscript copy of a book about Updike written by Alice and Kenneth Hamilton.  Some items are written by the couple individually, and some are written together.  Kenneth Hamilton was a Religion professor at the University of Winnipeg.

Miscellaneous, 1955-2009 contains photographs of Updike, commemorative envelopes from Pennsylvania, and programs from Updike’s funeral and memorial services.  Also included are materials written by his mother Linda Grace Hoyer and his son David Updike.

James Yerkes, 1977-2010 is divided into three subseries: John Updike and Religion, Works by James Yerkes, and Miscellaneous.

John Updike and Religion: The Sense of the Sacred and the Motions of Grace, 1997-2001 is composed of material relating to Yerkes’ editing of the above titled book.  This includes correspondence, proof copies, reviews, and articles written about the book.

The Centaurian, Updike Website, 1996-2010 holds copies of the website, correspondence, and a visit log from the website created by James Yerkes about John Updike.

Works by James Yerkes, 1997-2004 has reviews of books written by John Updike and others and a draft copy of “As Good As It Gets.”

Miscellaneous, 1977-2001 contains slides from a John Updike book signing and correspondence with Herb Yellin.

Recordings, 1977-2007 consists of audio and video recording of or relating to John Updike.  This includes interview with John Updike, interviews with people who knew Updike, and productions based on Updike’s works.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License