Guide to the John B. Sanford/Robert W. Smith Collection
Processed by D. Tambo and T. Lewis
Department of Special Collections
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106
Phone: (805) 893-3062
Fax: (805) 893-5749
Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Guide to the John B. Sanford/Robert W. Smith Collection, ca. 1982-1991
Collection number: Mss 34
Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Department of Special Collections
- Davidson Library
- University of California, Santa Barbara
- Santa Barbara, CA 93106
- Phone: (805) 893-3062
- Fax: (805) 893-5749
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- URL: http://www.library.ucsb.edu/speccoll/speccoll.html
- Processed by:
- D. Tambo and T. Lewis
- Date Completed:
11 February 2003
- Encoded by:
- David C. Gartrell
© 2003 Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Title: John B. Sanford/Robert W. Smith Collection,
Date (inclusive): ca. 1982-1991
Collection Number: Mss 34
Sanford, John B., 1904-
.4 linear feet
University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special Collections
Santa Barbara, California 93106-9010
Physical Location: Del Sur
Copyright has not been assigned to the Department of Special Collections, UCSB. All requests for permission to publish or
quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given
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John B. Sanford/Robert W. Smith Collection. Mss 34. Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California,
John B. Sanford, born Julian L. Shapiro in New York in 1904, studied to become a lawyer until his friend, the author Nathanael
West, encouraged him to take up writing. In the summer of 1931, they retreated to a cabin in the forests of the Adirondacks,
where Shapiro completed his first novel,
The Water Wheel. Following its publication in 1933, he adopted the name of the book's protagonist as his pen name, which he then made his
legal name in 1940. The critical success of his second novel,
The Old Man's Place (1935), led to a script-writing job in Hollywood, where he met his wife, screenwriter Marguerite Roberts. Having already
established a successful career for herself, Roberts offered to support Sanford so he could return to writing novels.
Sanford had produced three more novels when, in 1951, he and his wife were called before the Communist-hunting House Committee
on Un-American Activities, led by Senator Joseph McCarthy. Both Sanford and Roberts refused to testify and were subsequently
blacklisted. Overcome by guilt that his left-wing politics had derailed his wife's career, Sanford wrote nothing until Hollywood
began accepting screenplays from her again in the 1960s. He soon abandoned fiction, however, and produced his acclaimed
A More Goodly Country: A Personal History of America (1975), followed by the autobiographical series
Scenes from the Life of an American Jew (1985-1991).
In 1982, Black Sparrow Press of Santa Barbara reissued Sanford's novel
A Man without Shoes, which had failed miserably when first released in 1951. The book came to the attention of freelance book reviewer Robert
W. Smith, a former CIA officer who had published numerous books and articles on Asian martial arts, on which he was an acknowledged
expert. Smith began a correspondence with Sanford, and within months they had become fast friends. Smith took it upon himself
to resuscitate Sanford's literary reputation and wrote glowing reviews of Sanford's books as they came out, even lobbying
The New York Times Book Review to be assigned Sanford's
The Winters of That Country (1984). Although the
Times turned him down, Smith was able to place articles and reviews in the
Cleveland Plain Dealer and the
Both flattered and grateful for the attention Smith had brought his work, Sanford maintained a cheery correspondence for several
years, but their relationship began to change upon the death of Sanford's wife Maggie. Devastated by the loss, Sanford began
to withdraw into himself, trying to lose himself in his writing. Then, in the spring of 1991, Smith wrote a review of the
final volume of Sanford's autobiography,
The Season, It Was Winter, which Sanford felt denigrated his wife's talent as a writer. With two terse notes, Sanford terminated their friendship. Shortly
afterward, Robert W. Smith stopped writing book reviews.
Scope and Content of Collection
The collection contains material sent by John B. Sanford to Robert W. Smith, including correspondence, typescript drafts of
articles/shorter works, and photocopies of reviews of Sanford's books from various newspapers, as well as other materials
Smith had collected regarding Sanford.
The Department of Special Collections also has copies of John Sanford's books, including advance copies, and signed, first
editions. These are cataloged individually and can be searched in Pegasus, the UCSB Libraries online catalog.
At Other Institutions:
Boston University has the bulk of John Sanford and Marguerite Roberts' papers.
Box 1: 1
Address by John Sanford on accepting an award from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, June 21, 1986
Box 1: 2
Articles (about JS), 1986
Box 1: 3
John Sanford: An American Classic (transcript of an interview of JS by Robert W. Smith), 1984
Box 1: 4
Kunstler, William - "I Write Because I Want To" (typescript copy), [ca. latter 1980s]
Box 1: 5
Roberts, Marguerite (wife of JS - includes obituary and copy of a document establishing screenwriting award in her name, at
USC), 1989, 1990
Box 1: 7 - 17
From Sanford to Robert W. Smith
Box 1: 7
List (by Smith; includes correspondence and typescript drafts by JS)
Box 1: 17
1991 (5 items).
Abstract: [Says in one letter, 5 Apr. 1991, that he can't see continuing the chronological approach in a vol. 6 of
Scenes, just too old for that, but proceeding with memoirs, that can jump back and forth in time; 26 Apr. 1991, says he has sent
off first 325 pp. of Memoir to John Martin and asking if he will publish it.]
Box 1: 19
The Color of the Air: Scenes from the Life of an American Jew, Volume 1 (reviews and publicity)
Box 1: 20
The Waters of Darkness:
Scenes from the Life of an American Jew, Volume 2 (reviews)
Box 1: 21
A Very Good Land to Fall With: Scenes from the Life of an American Jew, Volume 3 (reviews)
Box 1: 22
A Walk in the Fire: Scenes from the Life of an American Jew, Volume 4 (reviews)
Box 1: 22
The Season, It Was Winter: Scenes from the Life of an American Jew, Volume 5
Box 1: 24
William Carlos Williams - John Sanford: A Correspondence (reviews)
Box 1: 25
Winters of That Country: Tales of the Man Made Seasons (op ed piece in newspaper)
Scope and Content Note
Copies sent to RWS; versions of some, e.g. the pieces on the Sacco and Vanzetti jury, Ty Cobb, Charlie Chaplin, Thomas Wolfe,
Richard Nixon, Billy Graham, George Patton, Jr., Truman Capote, and Oliver North, appear in
Maggie: A Love Story; others, e.g. the pieces on Roy Cohn, Fidel Castro, and J. Robert Oppenheimer, appear in
Intruders in Paradise.
Box 1: 26
After a Long Absence: Genus Bison, 1986, n.d.
Box 1: 27
Ars Longa: Truman Capote, 1924-1984, 1990
Box 1: 28
Babylon the Great Has Fallen: Ezra Pound, 1885-1972, n.d.
Box 1: 29
Christian Soldier: Oliver Laurence North, 1941- , 1990
Box 1: 30
Clown: Charlie Chaplin, 1889-1977, n.d.
Box 1: 31
Frank Wills: The Watergate Break-In, 17 June 1972, 1989
Box 1: 32
The Hidalgo: Fidel Castro, 1926- , n.d.
Box 1: 33
His Soul Was Not Left in Hell: William F. 'Billy' Graham, 1918- , 
Box 1: 34
I Have Blood on My Hands, he said: J. Robert Oppenheimer, 1904-67, n.d.
Box 1: 35
The International Sport: Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, n.d.
Box 1: 36
Jack: Richard Milhous Nixon, 1913- , 1990
Box 1: 37
Joe McCarthy and Another Joe: The Army-McCarthy Hearings, 1954 (includes saying this is for volume 5, of
Box 1: 38
Junker: George Patton, Jr., 1885-1945, 1990
Box 1: 39
A Last Stand on Last Stand Hill: The Little Big Horn, 1988, n.d.
Box 1: 40
A Long Season of Rain: Katherine Anne Porter, 1890-1920, n.d.
Box 1: 41
The Lowlife: Roy Cohn, 1927-1986, n.d.
Box 1: 42
A Middle-Aged Jewish Woman: Thomas Wolfe, 1900-38, n.d.
Box 1: 43
Money Is the Root of All Eval, he wrote: Henry Ford, 1863-1947, 1990
Box 1: 44
The National Game: Ty Cobb, 1886-1961, 1990
Box 1: 45
The No-Spikka Peoples: Ellis Island, 1892-1954, n.d.
Box 1: 46
Of One Who Blew the Gaff: Elia Kazan, 1909- . n.d.
Box 1: 47
Picture-Writing and Other Pictures: John and Marguerite Sanford, European Trip: Scene 3: April-August 1952 (old version),
Box 1: 48
The Poor Get Screwed, he said: Augusto Cesar Sandino, 1895-1934, n.d.
Box 1: 49
La Revolucion Agraria, in photographs: Mexico, 1910- , n.d.
Box 1: 50
St. Thomas, an assumed name: Emily Hale, 1891-1969, n.d.
Box 1: 51
Twelve Good Men and True: The Sacco and Vanzetti Jury, 1921, 
Box 1: 52
With the Instinct of My Race: Matthew Henson, 1866-1955, 
Box 1: 53
Foreword in the form of a Memoir (with note saying this was submitted to Capra Press, and markings in red are by the Capra