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Romance Literature and Media: Romance Manuscripts and Special Collections

Romance Manuscript Collections

Romance Writers in the Archives

The BPCL's manuscript collections include the papers created/collected by organizations or individuals. They might include drafts of essays or books, letters/emails sent between many different parties, ephemera from conferences and other events, and even journals, artwork, or swag given out at events. They often serve as extremely detailed records of an author's career and in-depth biographies of the person who donated their collections.

The Browne Popular Culture Library is the repository for the RWA's organizational papers (see the Organizations of Romance Writers and Readers tab in this LibGuide for more information), and their collection is still growing. However, the library has many more manuscript collections from prominent romance authors that richly represent the author's writing process, publishing process, engagement with romance organizations, and more.

Explore our romance-related manuscript collections here -- we have over 50!

Here are a few highlights from the archives:

  • The Susan Elizabeth Phillips Papers (MS 154). This collection consists of manuscript materials, promotional items, correspondence and fan-created items dating back to the author's earliest published works.
  • The Gwynne Forster Papers (MS 195). This collection consists of personal papers, manuscripts, and promotional materials from acclaimed African-America romance author Gwynne Forster. The collection dates from approximately 1951-2013.
  • The Dorothy Daniels Papers (MS 2). This collection consists of manuscript materials for more than 50 books by the author; these materials range in date from 1965 to 1985.
  • The Sandra Kitt Papers (MS 235). This unique collection consists of manuscripts, promotional materials, correspondence, and photographs from African-American romance author Sandra Kitt; it also includes a remarkable array of materials from Kitt's careers as a librarian and a designer.

Romance Publicity Materials

How Do Romance Authors/Publishers Market their Work?

This collection consists of printed and other materials used for marketing romance authors/publishers and books. It represents the promotional materials used by well-known authors/publishers such as Nora Roberts and many more. Made up of primarily printed material, the collection features book previews, postcards, posters; it also includes unusual items like temporary tattoos, picture frames, and fake crystals that have been used by authors and publishers to make readers aware of their works.

Learn more about this special collection and explore its finding aid here.

The Frank Kalan Romance Cover Art Collection

A Unique Collection of Original Paintings for Romance Covers

 The Frank Kalan Romance Cover Art Collection consists of 130 original oil paintings by commercial artist Frank Kalan, donated by his family. The paintings represent a period during the 1980s and 1990s when Mr. Kalan worked as a cover illustrator for romance novels produced primarily by Harlequin Enterprises. In addition to the paintings, the collection includes paperwork showing the direction Kalan received from the publisher, reference photographs used to create the paintings, and cover mockups created from the paintings.

The Frank Kalan Collection provides researchers with the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the most important elements of romance novel marketing- the cover. In addition, the BPCL already holds copies of many of the books created from Mr. Kalan’s work. The ability to consider this particular combination of creative process and published product is unique among academic archives, and will be a tremendous resource for scholars of romance fiction, one of the fastest growing aspects of popular culture research.

Learn more about this collection and browse its finding aid here.