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Richard Layman collection of John Dos Passos

Identifier: SCU-RBSC-2017-7

The Richard Layman collection of John Dos Passos contains both primary and secondary materials gathered or produced by Richard Layman in his extensive study of the artist and author Dos Passos. John Dos Passos, born in Chicago in 1896, was an influential writer in the first half of the 20th century. After his graduation from Harvard in 1916, he served as a volunteer ambulance driver in France and Italy during WWI, eventually joining the United States Army Medical Corps. He would later travel extensively in Europe and the Middle East both on his own and as a newspaper correspondent. As a young man Dos Passos embraced socialism and was highly critical of the structure of American society. During this time he wrote his most acclaimed fiction, including One Man’s Initiation: 1917, Manhattan Transfer, and the U.S.A. trilogy. Throughout his life he became increasingly disillusioned with the ideology of the left, campaigning for both Goldwater and Nixon in the 1960s. Aside from his novels, Dos Passos is recognized for the paintings and sketches he created, showcasing his interest in the Constructivism, Expressionism, and Surrealism movements. Many of his works have been highlighted in various art exhibitions such as the Colors That Will Not Fade show hosted by McKissick Museum in 1999. The collection contains materials chronicling Dos Passos’s career and personal life from the late nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries. The first few series contain personal correspondence and family photos as well as several original manuscripts and a sketch book from Italy completed by Dos Passos in 1918. There is a large periodicals series which includes material both by and about Dos Passos along with material related to his paintings and various exhibitions. A large research series contains material used by Layman during his studies, including photocopies of correspondence and manuscripts, art exhibit brochures and catalogs, and notes for some of Layman’s own writings about Dos Passos. The oversized series includes framed art, periodicals to which Dos Passos contributed, and newspaper articles from the turn of the last century. Richard Layman received his PhD from the University of South Carolina in 1975 and went on to pursue a successful career in publishing. He is director of Layman Poupard Publishing and Bruccoli Clark Layman; combined, these companies have produced critically acclaimed reference books since 1978, including the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Dr. Layman has written or edited books on Dashiell Hammett, Ring Lardner, and John Dos Passos and amassed The Richard Layman Collection of John Dos Passos over a period of more than three decades.


  • 1900-2014


Access Restrictions

Open to research

Publications Rights

All rights reside with the creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.


9 boxes


Gift/Purchase, 2017

Repository Details

Part of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene Street
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-3847

Raef Mills
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