Skip to main content

Stephen Dixon papers

Identifier: MS-0236

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

The Stephen Dixon papers primarily document Dixon's writing career from approximately 1950 to 2019. Dixon's preferred writing method involved the use of a typewriter, and the collection is largely original typescripts and galleys of published short story collections and novels. The collection is arranged in five series:

Series 1: Biographical materials includes photographs, personal notebooks, and other materials about Stephen Dixon’s life. The series contains awards received by Dixon between 1983-1991, articles including interviews and biographical information written about Dixon from approximately 1993-2007, as well as two audiocassettes labeled "WNYC AM820/93.9FM" dated May 3, 1994, which likely contain a recorded interview with Dixon. The series also includes several notebooks maintained by Dixon which contain notes on his writing, as well as personal material such as pictures of his family, drawings by his daughters Sophia and Antonia, dream recollections, and general lists of household expenses. Additionally, this series includes photographs of Dixon dating from 1976 to approximately 2010. One of the photographs is of a group of what appear to be students and possibly one of Dixon's daughters, Sophia or Antonia. Another photograph is of Dixon autographing a book at the book party for No Relief, held at O'Neill's Bar in New York City. This file also contains a group photograph of the 1992 Penn Faulkner Award finalists.

Series 2: Creative works contains materials related to individual stories, novels, plays, films, and story collections written by Stephen Dixon or adapted from his writing from approximately 1957 to 2017. Some subseries contain both full copies of the work, as well as individual stories contained within that work. The written materials are generally typescripts, as this was Dixon's preferred writing method. Some drafts were written on the back of other documents, and several include handwritten notes and revisions by Dixon and other editors. This series also contains video adaptations of Dixon’s work on VHS tapes, as well as bibliographies and other unpublished stories by Dixon.

Series 3: Letters received consists of both handwritten and typewritten letters to Dixon from 1981-2018. The Jerome Klinkowitz file contains letters written from 1986-2018 by Dixon's longtime colleague and correspondent Jerome Klinkowitz, a faculty member at the University of Northern Iowa whose research interests included Kurt Vonnegut. These letters provide substantial insight into both Dixon's professional career and personal life. The Personal letters and postcards file consists of personal letters from family and friends, including letters from his daughters Sophia and Antonia Dixon, as well as John and Shelly Barth. The Professional letters and handwritten notes file consists of letters relating to Dixon's career, primarily from publishing companies though there are a few letters relating to Dixon's work as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University.

Series 4: Professional files contains copies of published reviews of some of Dixon's books: 14 Stories, Too Late, Love and Will, The Play and Other Stories, Quite Contrary, No Relief, Movies, Fall and Rise, Movies: Seventeen Stories, and Garbage. The series also contains contracts established primarily in the 1980s between Dixon and various publishing companies and publications, such as Esquire and Transatlantic Review. Additionally, the series contains a Johns Hopkins University Annual Faculty Survey for the academic year 1997-1998, as well as a copy of Dixon's résumé.

Series 5: James R. Dixon stories contains eight unpublished stories written by James R. Dixon, brother of Stephen Dixon. The stories were written in approximately the 1950s.


  • Creation: approximately 1950-2019


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information. Collection is open for use.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.

Biographical Note

Stephen Dixon (1936-2019) was born in New York City. He graduated from the City College of New York in 1958 and taught fiction writing in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. Dixon is the author of several novels and short stories. He has been nominated for the National Book Award twice: in 1991 for Frog, and in 1995 for Interstate. He was nominated for the 1992 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for Frog. His writing has also earned him a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy Institute of Arts and Letters Prize for Fiction, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize.


36.88 Cubic Feet (32 containers)

Language of Materials




This collection primarily documents the career of author Stephen Dixon and spans from approximately 1950 to 2019. Dixon was born in 1936 in New York City. He taught fiction writing in the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University and is the author of several novels and short stories.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Stephen Dixon donated these papers over a period of time. The first accession (89-90.41) was transferred on January 30, 1990. Accession 94-95.25 came in 1994, and accession 96-97.4 arrived on November 15, 1996. Additional accessions occurred in 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2018. Paul Maliszewski, an author who assisted Dixon with editing some manuscripts, also donated materials in 2016. Additional materials were donated by Dixon in 2019. Additonal typescripts were donated by the estate of Stephen Dixon and his sister, Pat Dixon, in 2021. Additional correspondence between Stephen Dixon and Dirk and Whitney van Nouhuys was donated by Andrew Burnett in October 2022.

Related Materials

This collection contains letters received from American writer John Barth. Additional materials related to John Barth are available in The John Barth collection, MS.0499, Special Collections.

Related Materials

Additional materials donated by Stephen Dixon, including copies of his published works, are available in the Sheridan Libraries catalog. Please contact Special Collections for more information.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Kristen Diehl in March 2019. Kristen Diehl updated the finding aid to add an accrual of typewritten drafts and correspondence in April 2024.

Rachel Gattermeyer revised the scope and contents notes in this finding aid in February 2024 to bring it into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.

Guide to the Stephen Dixon papers
Kristen Diehl
2019 March
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

The Sheridan Libraries
Special Collections
3400 N Charles St
Baltimore MD 21218 USA