Guide to the William Demby Papers, 1986-2008


The William Demby Papers contain four versions of his unpublished work of fiction, "King Comus." It also contains a lengthy interview transcript, personal documents, biographical writings, a small amount of correspondence, and various other documents.

Collection Details

Collection Number
William Demby papers
Demby, William
1 Linear Feet
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Materials in English and Italian.

Collection Overview

Most notable in the William Demby Papers are his unfinished novel, "King Comus," and a lengthy interview transcript from 2008. The collection also contains miscellaneous correspondence, personal documents, and research.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

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Collection is open to research.

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All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48-hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], William Demby Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

King Comus, undated
(4 folders)

4 versions.

Box 1
Interview with William Demby, 2008

Interview took place from July 12-14, 2008 in Sag Harbor, NY. Unedited transcript.

Box 2
Personal Documents, 2004

Includes marriage and death certificates and a Permit of Stay.

Box 2
Biographical Writings on Demby, 2004-2013

Includes "Celebration of the Life of William Demby."

Box 2
Correspondence, 2001-2007

Various emails, letters, postcards, and faxes.

Box 2
1986 Supplement to The Woodson Source Book, 1986

By Minnie Shumate Woodson.

Box 2
Miscellaneous Draft and Research Notes, undated
Box 2
In the Company of Charlatans, 2007[?]

By Gregory Lewis, nephew of William Demby. Details his fight for equality in the work force.

Box 2

Historical Note

William Demby (1922-2013) was the author of "Beetlecreek," "The Catacombs," and "Love Story Black." Demby's education was interrupted by World War II, when he served in Italy. He resumed his studies and then returned to Italy to marry Lucia Drudi. He married civil rights attorney Barbara Ann Morris after the death of his first wife and split his time between Florence, Italy and Sag Harbor, NY.

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The William Demby Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2014.

Processing Information

Processed by: Janice Hansen, December 2014.

Accessions described in this finding aid: 2014-0190