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Overview of the Archival Collection

As of October 1, 1998, the Steinbeck Archival Collection, formerly at the Salinas Public Library, is housed at the National Steinbeck Center. The Steinbeck Collection has more than 40,000 items relating to the world-renowned author and has been used extensively by researchers from California and around the world.

The Collection began in the 1950s with the purchase of several Steinbeck first edition books. The first major acquisition came in 1964, when former managing editor of the Salinas Californian, Jack Patton, presented the Library with the author’s first editions and an extensive file of Steinbeck-related newspaper and magazine articles dating from the 1930s to the 1950s. The second major donation of items came from private collector Adrian H. Goldstone, whose Steinbeck first editions and other material has also enhanced the Collection. Donations have been received from Steinbeck family members including Elaine Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s widow; Steinbeck’s sisters, Elizabeth Ainsworth and Esther Rodgers; and Steinbeck’s sons, Thom Steinbeck and John Steinbeck IV. The collection continues to grow with many generous donations from patrons from around the United States and the world.

Special Acknowledgements

This Collection’s growth and richness is due to the efforts of a number of Salinas Public Library staff members, whose positions and interests have contributed in unique ways to the Collection. John Gross, former Library Director, devoted much of his time from the mid-1960s through the 1970s acquiring larger donations from various private collections and institutions. Pauline Pearson collected over 200 oral history interviews of friends, family, and associates of John Steinbeck, totaling several hundred hours of audio. This is a widely used resource and is an integral part of the Collection. Finally, Librarian Mary Jean Gamble managed the collection for three decades while it was held at the Salinas Public Library and assisted with innumerable research projects of all kinds. In 2014, she conducted an inventory of the Collection and trained and oriented a new National Steinbeck Center Staff Archivist to the Collection, its history, and arrangement.

1919 El GabilanThe Collection


The Collection contains the following original manuscripts and typescripts of Steinbeck works or articles:
• The Pearl
• Sweet Thursday
• Roots (published as I go back to Ireland)
• The Wizard of Maine
• The field notebook of writings which were combined into Once There Was a War
• Novella treatment of Lifeboat
• Handwritten love poems
• The Snake

Steinbeck Family Library

Consisting of over 400 volumes, the Collection contains parts of the personal library owned by the Steinbeck Family.


The Collection has three main series for correspondence:
I. To/From John Steinbeck: Dating from 1923 to 1966 (approx.)
II. To/From John Steinbeck’s Family: Dating from 1930 to 1999 (approx.)
III. To/From John Steinbeck’s Friends and Associates: Dating from 1935 to 1999 (approx.)
These files are arranged by decade, sender, and recipient.


The oral history interviews collected by Pauline Pearson and George Robinson are available to listen to at the National Steinbeck Center only. Due to the agreements made by Pauline Pearson at the time of the interviews, they can only be accessed in-person and not copied or disseminated in any way.

Also available are video recordings of interviews, lectures, discussions, and panels about John Steinbeck, Edward Ricketts, and other subjects, including speakers and scholars presenting on Steinbeck-related topics at the annual Steinbeck Festival.

Oral History Interviews

The following is a list of individuals whose interviews are available for on-site listening:
Richard Albee • Richard Andolsen • Geoffrey Ashe • Horace Balbo • Jack Balbo • Anne Baxter • Bert Bell • Phil Biddle •Angelo Binsacca •William Black • Sam Bottoms • Eugenia Boyd • Lloyd Bridges • Carol Steinbeck Brown • Donald A. Bussey • Herb Caen • Josephine Dorneidon Cahill • Joseph Campbell • Manuel Campos • Sylvester M Carriaga • Beatrice Vivian Casey • William Church • Vincent Colletto • Ruth Wright Colvin • Elton Laurence Conner • Ignatius Cooper • James Costello • Eldon Dedini • Michael de Guzman • Alicia Harby de Noon • Dorothy Donahue • Sparky Enea • Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. • Peter Ferrante • Ceil Flickinger • Flora’s Girl • Robert W. Ford • Michael Gazzo • Max Gordon • Bonnie Jean Grab • Robert Grab • Ellwood Graham • Dr. John Gratiot • Glenn Tracy Graves • Billy V. Greer • Henry J. Happ • Mildred Kellogg Hargis • Elita Rose Hawley • Helen “Lena” O’Shea Hayes • Maria Hilton • Herb Hinrichs • J. Richard Hughes • Lucille Gordon Hughes • John Inman • Daniel James • Bill Johnson • Elvina Iverson Johnson • Lewis G. Johnston • Stuart Kadison • Rev. Manford Llewellyn Kemper • Charles Kurault • Dorothy Lacey • Ted La Fleur • George Leonard • Margaret Lial • Peter Lisca • Frank Lloyd • Marjory Lloyd • Henrietta Rianda Locatelli • James Locatelli • Arthur Lotton • Henry Lusignan • Pauline McCleary • Arthur McDougall • Walter S. Markham • E.G. Marshall • Elsie Martinez • Richard Masur, Barney Rosenzweig, Ken Wales • Dale Mauzey • Burgess Meredith • Bernice Wilde Scott Mors • Col. George Mors • Dennis Murphy • Thad Nance • Clifford Narvaez • Dan T. Nguyen • Don Noggle, Sparkey Enea, Jimmy Costello • Soon-Teck Oh • Pauline Pearson • Budd Peaslee • William Pellissier • Frank Perez • Helen Hamilton Pettitt • Paul Pioda • Frank Raineri • Efrain Ramirez • Edward Reeder • Louis Rivers (nee Lou Costello) • George Robinson • James Root • Virginia Caldwell Scardigli • Tony Schmidt • Hilda Fenchel Seasons • Jane Seymour • Col. Thomas J. Patrick Michael Shaughnessy • Carlton Sheffield • William Smart • Joe Sommatino • Gus Sonniksen • Jo Stallard • Elaine Steinbeck • Steinbeck House Tour • Jacob Clemens Stock (Pappy Jake) • Clotilda Stoffey • Ralph Storm • Webster Street • Leo Tavernetti • Mel Thatcher • Romualda Vicente • Max Wagner • Richard Wagner • Marie Heinzen Welcome • Irma Werner • Rev. Ron Wilkinson • Florus Williams • Mona Williams •


The Collection has a large file of newspaper articles from local newspapers, as well as newspapers from around the world, covering topics from John Steinbeck’s biography, reviews of his works, coverage of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, local history for the City of Salinas and Monterey County, and more.

John Steinbeck after receiving the Nobel PrizePhotographs

The Collection contains photographs divided into the following categories:
A: Photos of Steinbeck 1902-1949, 1950-1962, 1960-1968+
B: Photos of Family and Friends
C: Homes, Oral History, Awards/Honors
D: Settings for Steinbeck Works
E: Productions of Steinbeck Works
F: Steinbeck Library and Memorabilia
G: Steinbeck Library
H: Characters
I: Migrant Workers

Steinbeck Works

The Collection includes over 1,500 copies of books by John Steinbeck, including first printing, signed editions, proof copies, limited pressings, paperback printings, signed printings, and translations in over 40 languages.

In addition to full volumes, the Collection also includes original contributions published in introductions, prefaces, magazines, and newspapers. This also includes John Steinbeck’s first published article in the 1919 Salinas High School Yearbook, El Gabilan, and a contribution to the Stanford Spectator from June 1924 when he was studying at Stanford University.

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