Donated by Robb White between April 12, 1966 and October 6, 1970.
Non-circulating; available for research.
This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials, other than that noted above.
Robb White was born on June 20, 1909 in the Philippine Islands to Robb and Placidia (Bridges) White, Protestant missionaries. In 1937 he married Rosalie Mason and they had three children, Robb, Barbara and June. The couple divorced in 1964.
White's books in some ways reflect his own life experiences. Having attended the United States Naval Academy from 1927 to 1931, White served as an ensign in the Pacific theatre between 1941 and 1945, was recalled as a captain for a tour in 1947 and 1948, and worked in the aviation administration. He has also worked as a book clerk, draftsman for the DuPont corportation, a construction engineer, and a deckhand on a vessel bound for the West Indies where he intended to live and work as a writer.
A writer's writer, White truly lived his trade. He produced stories for "dirty" books, for Sunday school magazines as well as the Naval Institute's Proceedings. For a time he wrote for television, including four episodes for "Perry Mason." He also wrote a number of screen plays, two of which starred master of the macabre, Vincent Price.
White attributed his skills as a writer to rigid discipline, not innate talent. When working for DuPont as a construction engineer in New Castle, Pennsylvania, he returned home every evening from his work and from eight o'clock in the evening until two in the morning he wrote. Later in life, even when he did not need to maintain this regime, he persisted in his habits -- rising early enough to begin working at eight o'clock. In his career, White wrote twenty-one books in all, plus numerous articles and stories for the Saturday Evening Post, Reader's Digest, Atlantic, Esquire, True, and the Naval Institute. However, he is on record saying that young people appreciate his work most. He attributed this to their good, decent and courageous nature -- exactly the sort of people about whom he enjoyed writing.
This collection holds the completed, edited typescripts for No Man's (1969) and one of White's more famous works, Deathwatch (1972) -- originally entitled "The Marauder." Both typescripts have been edited by the author, but bear no massive revisions compared to the published forms. The collection also holds typescripts for page one of Surrender (1966) and Silent Ship, Silent Sea (1967).
White confided to Something about the Author that he liked stories which dealt with ordinary people who survived in the face of terrible hardship. Each of the works represented in the White collection reflect that conviction. White's work is typically hero-driven, a characteristic that emerges most clearly in Deathwatch where the protagonist battles not only his human persecutor, but the impersonal harshness of the American desert yet survives and outwits his formidable opponents: human and non-human.
The typescripts for Deathwatch and No Man's Land probably offer the scholar little insight to White's writing processes, as they bear few sigificant changes, but may be of interest to those who wish to know what portions of each manuscript were omitted from the final published forms.
A. BooksDEATHWATCH by Robb White (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972). 1/1-1/4 Original typescript, originally entitled "The Marauder," 1/1 chapters 1-4, pp.1-53; 1/2 chapters 5-9, pp.54-122; 1/3 chapters 12-15, pp.156-206; 1/4 chapters 16-18, pp.207-257. NO MAN'S LAND by Robb White (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1969). 1/5-1/9 Original typescript, 1/5 chapters 1-6, pp.1-84; 1/6 chapters 7-11, pp.85-156; 1/7 chapters 12-17, pp.157-329; 1/8 chapters 18-21, pp.240-295; 1/9 chapters 22-27, pp.296-363. SILENT SHIP, SILENT SEA by Robb White (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1967) 1/10 Original typescript, page one. SURRENDER by Robb White (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966). 1/11 Original typescript, page one.
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The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Hattiesburg, MS 39406
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