New Finding Aid | Ursula K. Le Guin papers

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new finding aid published for the Ursula K. Le Guin papers (Coll 270). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

[Portrait of Ursula K. Le Guin by Marian Wood Kolisch]
The Ursula K. Le Guin papers document Le Guin’s career as a novelist, short story writer, children’s author, essayist, and poet best known for her world-building science fiction and fantasy works. Her papers not only capture her public persona as an author, a teacher and mentor of other writers, and an activist for various causes throughout her lifetime, but also as a private individual devoted to the welfare of her family, friends, and community. The papers include correspondence, literary works, legal and financial files, public appearances and publicity materials, personal papers, photographs and artwork, audiovisual material, website and social media, and writing of others.

Over the course of her career, Le Guin published twenty-three novels, twelve volumes of short stories and novellas, eleven volumes of poetry, thirteen children’s books, eight collections of essays, and four volumes of translation. Among the literary manuscripts in the collection are Le Guin’s handwritten first drafts of A Wizard of Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness, and many other early novels, short stories, and essays. Other items of note included in the literary papers are original artwork and hand-drawn maps created by Le Guin and other artists that illustrate her fictional worlds of Earthsea and Kesh.

In addition to her work as an author, Le Guin also taught writing for many years, both as a visiting professor and workshop leader, officially retiring from teaching in 2015. She has been honored numerous times by both science fiction and other literary organizations. Many of these awards and artifacts are included in the collection, including Hugo Awards for The Left Hand of Darkness (1970), “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” (1973), and The Dispossessed (1974).

Researchers who want to use the collection may register as a reader and check open hours on our website. We advise patrons to request materials in advance of a research visit.


    • Alexa Goff

      There have been many staff and processing assistants who have contributed to this project over the years. Quoting from the Processing Note in the finding aid: “This collection was originally processed by Kate Sullivan, Chris Hitt, Sarah Goss, and Gwen Amsbury in 2003. Additional processing completed by Joyce Griffith, Liliya Benz, Alexandra M. Bisio, Nathan Georgitis, and Alexa Goff in 2019.”

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