Cornell Woolrich papers, 1958-1964
|Woolrich, Cornell, 1903-1968,.
|1.5 linear feet (1.5 linear feet 3 document boxes)
|Rare Book & Manuscript Library
|View CLIO Record and Request Material >>
Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich was born on December 14, 1903 in New York City to Genero and Claire (neé Attalic) Hopley-Woolrich.
In 1907 the family moved to Mexico and Genero and Claire divorced soon after. Cornell stayed with his father in Mexico for
the duration of his childhood. As a teenager, he returned to the United States and lived with his mother, his aunt, and his
grandfather on West 113th street. Cornell attended DeWitt Clinton High School and went on to attend Columbia University. He
would have graduated in 1925, but dropped out his senior year. Upon leaving school, Woolrich had a brief marriage to Gloria
(Violet Virginia) Blackton. Woolrich befriended Blackton and her sister, Marion. After a few short dates, they married on
December 6, 1930. A month later, Woolrich disappeared. While he was gone Gloria Blackton discovered his diary and realized
that he had been having daily affairs with men throughout their marriage. She quickly divorced him. Woolrich moved back in
with his mother and lived with her in the Hotel Marseilles until she died in 1957. Although he was a guarded and mysterious
individual, Woolrich was also a prolific author writing crime and suspense novels and short stories. Many of his works were
adapted into films, radio and television plays. He is perhaps most known for his 1942 short story "It Had to be Murder" which
was adapted into the Hitchcock directed classic, Rear Window. Woolrich also wrote under the pen name of William Irish. He
continued to write his whole life, however, he became even more of a recluse after his mother died. Woolrich stayed in his
hotel room until he died in 1968. There is very little information about his personal life and the information that exists
may or may not be true. Woolrich wrote an autobiography (unpublished), yet he sensationalized much of it and in some cases
fabricated complete parts of it.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains primarily articles and manuscripts by the crime writer Cornell Woolrich. The bulk of the collection
consists of drafts of articles, manuscripts, and plays. There is also a small amount of correspondence and personal items.