The Kenneth Millar Papers (MS-L001) are located in Special Collections and Archives. This collection contains the personal and professional papers of Kenneth Millar. It includes manuscripts for novels, poems, short stories, and other works; manuscripts of political and environmental writings; reviews; screenplays; a typescript of Millar’s doctoral dissertation; correspondence; family photographs; and other personal material. The collection is 25 linear feet, including 59 boxes and 1 oversize folder.
Kenneth Millar, who wrote under the pseudonym Ross Macdonald, was the best-selling author of numerous classic novels of detective fiction featuring the main character Lew Archer. Kenneth Millar was born on December 13, 1915 in Los Gatos, California, but he moved to Canada as a young boy. In school, he was captain of the boy’s debating team, and he later married the captain of the girl’s debating team, Margaret Strum. Margaret became the well known mystery novelist, using her married name, Margaret Millar. Kenneth earned a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Michigan. The first Lew Archer novel, The Moving Target (1949), was the basis for the 1966 Paul Newman film Harper. Ross Macdonald was often called the natural heir to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as the master of American hardboiled mysteries. Kenneth Millar died on July 11, 1983. We also have in our collections the Margaret Millar Papers (MS-L002), the Matthew J. Bruccoli Research Materials on Kenneth Millar (MS-L003), and the Henry Clay Branson Salisbury Plain Typescript and Correspondence (MS-L018) (including correspondence with Kenneth Millar), as well as the first editions of the novels of both Ross Macdonald and Margaret Millar.
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