The collection consists of correspondence, literary manuscripts, subject files, financial records, photographs, and personal and family papers documenting Wilson's life and work. The papers span the years 1829-1986, encompassing early family documents through materials concerning posthumous publication of Wilson's books and journals. The bulk of the collection dates from the beginnings of Wilson's literary career, ca. 1920, through his death in 1972.Series I, Correspondence, contains letters from literary colleagues, friends, family members, and business associates. Much of Wilson's correspondence concerns his writing, views on literature, interest in languages, and research in subjects including American history, American Indian rights, labor, the Cold War, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Files for literary colleagues, publishers, and friends include: John Peale Bishop, John Dos Passos, Vladimir Nabokov, Dawn Powell, Mario Praz, Allen Tate, Morton Dauwen Zabel, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Doubleday and Company, Oxford University Press, Secker & Warburg, and W. H. Allen. Correspondence with family includes his wives, actress Mary Blair, writer Mary McCarthy, Margaret Canby, and Elena Wilson, and members of the Wilson and Kimball families.Series II, Writings, includes Wilson's journals; drafts, setting copies, proofs, and reviews for his books and plays; drafts and clippings of essays, book reviews, short stories, and poetry; and drafts and clippings of writings by others. Journals consist of holograph notebooks, 1908-1970, accompanying materials, and transcripts, which were the source of Wilson's published autobiographical works. Drafts and proofs are present for most of Wilson's books, including: American Earthquake, Apologies to the Iroquois, The Bit Between My Teeth, Classics and Commercials, The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Duke of Palermo, Europe Without Baedeker, Galahad and I Thought of Daisy, The Little Blue Light, Memoirs of Hecate County (including materials relating to obscenity trials), Night Thoughts, O Canada, Patriotic Gore, A Piece of My Mind, Red, Black, Blonde and Olive, Scrolls from the Dead Sea, The Shores of Light, To the Finland Station, The Triple Thinkers, Upstate, Window on Russia, and The Twenties, The Thirties, The Forties, The Fifties, and The Sixties. Writings by Others includes articles about Wilson, interviews with him, and writings by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Vladimir Nabokov, and Philippe Thoby-Marcelin.Series III, Subject Files, contain printed materials and notes documenting Wilson's research in subjects such as communism, labor, Dead Sea Scrolls scholarship, income tax protest and Cold War spending, and Iroquois land rights. Series IV, Financial Papers, contains publisher account statements and tax records documenting Wilson's income and expenses, and his response to charges of tax evasion by the Internal Revenue Service. Series V, Photographs, contains portraits and snapshots of Wilson throughout his life, early family photographs, and photographs of other writers and friends. Series VI, Personal Papers, includes awards won by Wilson, drawings by him, his collection of Punch and Judy puppets, and legal documents. Series VII, Wilson and Kimball Family Papers, includes early family correspondence and legal documents, genealogical records, and papers of Wilson's parents, including writings and speeches of Edmund Wilson, Sr.