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Correspondence received by and created by Wilson dating from the early 1960s until his death in 2011 also forms part of this collection, as do photographs of both a professional and family nature.In addition, the collection contains early family materials from his childhood and records of his personal interests such as gardening and art collecting.
In 1942 his parents divorced, and he and his mother moved to Springfield, Missouri, where she took a job in a garment factory.When Wilson was 11 years old his mother married Walt E. Wilson lived in Ozark until he graduated from Ozark High School in 1955.He enrolled for summer and fall sessions at Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield.The following year Lanford moved to San Diego, California, to live with his biological father.While in San Diego, Wilson worked in an airplane manufacturing plant and enrolled in San Diego State College where he took courses in art and art history.This collection contains personal and professional papers created and received by Lanford Wilson throughout his life and career as a playwright.
The vast majority of the collection consists of manuscripts in various forms but especially in the form of plays.
In addition to his works there is also a sizeable series of plays sent to Wilson by his colleagues and friends.
There are also files of reviews and promotional clippings for productions of his plays.
In 1957 Wilson moved to Chicago and worked as a graphic artist for an advertising agency.
It was in Chicago that Wilson realized that the short stories he had been writing for years actually worked better in play form.
While in Chicago, Wilson enrolled in an extension class in playwriting at the University of Chicago.