Abrahams, William Miller, 1919-1998

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Educated at Harvard, William Abrahams (1919-1998) was a poet and novelist before becoming one of the most distinguished literary editors on the American publishing scene during the last decades of the twentieth century. Among the many renowned writers whose work he guided into print were Lillian Hellman, Joyce Carol Oates, Diane Johnson, Brian Moore, Thomas Flanagan and Pauline Kael. Abrahams was also an influential force in fostering the short story in America, editing the annual O. Henry award volumes for more than thirty years.

From the description of William Abrahams papers, 1945-1998. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 462164798


A poet and a novelist, William Abrahams became one of the leading literary editors in the American publishing scene. He worked with many renowned writers including Joyce Carol Oates, Lillian Hellman, Diane Johnson, Brian Moore, Thomas Flanagan, and Pauline Kael. Beginning as a poet, Abrahams released his first novel Interval in Carolina (1945) to good reviews. He followed with By the Beautiful Sea (1947) and Imperial Waltz (1954) before beginning a career in editing for Atlantic Monthly Press in 1963. In 1965 he began supervising the O. Henry Awards, editing annual anthologies of the best entries, which he continued until his retirement in 1996. Abrahams also produced four non-fiction works that he co-authored with historian Peter Stansky, Journey to the Frontier; Two Roads to the Spanish Civil War (1966), The Unknown Orwell (1972), Orwell: The Transformation (1980), and London's Burning: Life, Death, and Art in the Second World War (1994).

In addition to his editorial career, Abrahams also served as a trustee for the Lillian Hellman-Dashiell Hammett Literary Estates, and as a member of the William Saroyan Foundation. Abrahams' longstanding relationship with Hellman as both editor and friend, subsequently led to his being named official biographer for Hellman in 1983. Abrahams worked sporadically on the Hellman biography until his death in 1998, never reaching completion due to his extensive editorial commitments and deteriorating health.

From the guide to the William Miller Abrahams Papers, ca. 1945-1998, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Thompson, Dunstan, 1918-1975. Papers of Dunstan Thompson, 1865-2009 (bulk 1918-2008). Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Nemerov, Howard. Papers. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn A note about William Abrahams. Minuteman Library Network
creatorOf McGinley, Phyllis, 1905-1978. Lillian Hellman Papers, 1904-1984 (bulk 1934-1984). Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Nemerov, Howard. Papers, 1939-1985. Washington University in St. Louis, .
referencedIn Alice Adams Papers None., 1931-2000 Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Lillian Hellman Papers TXRC05-A10005., 1904-1984 (bulk 1934-1984) Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
referencedIn Oscar Williams papers concerning The war poets, 1944-1945. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Robert Manning papers, 1938-1993. Houghton Library.
creatorOf William Miller Abrahams Papers, ca. 1945-1998 Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Abrahams, William Miller, 1919-1998. William Abrahams papers, 1945-1998. Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Alice, 1926-1999 person
associatedWith Hellman, Lillian, 1905-1984 person
associatedWith Johnson, Diane, 1934- person
associatedWith Kael, Pauline. person
associatedWith Manning, Robert, 1919- person
associatedWith McGinley, Phyllis, 1905-1978. person
associatedWith Moore, Brian, 1921-1999. person
associatedWith Nemerov, Howard. person
associatedWith Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938- person
associatedWith Thompson, Dunstan, 1918-1975. person
associatedWith Williams, Oscar, 1900-1964 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
American literature--20th century


Birth 1919-01-23

Death 1998-06-02




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