The University of California, Berkeley has announced that it has received a gift of books, drawings, and correspondence of the Armenian-American writer and playwright William Saroyan, who is known for such works as The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze and Other Stories, My Name Is Aram, and the screenplay for The Human Comedy.
The collection includes approximately twelve hundred books and other archival materials assembled by Saroyan's niece, Jacqueline Kazarian, who is also the founder of the William Saroyan Literary Foundation International. The materials come primarily from Saroyan's home in San Francisco, now a museum directed by Kazarian, and include items from her personal collection and those acquired through a prominent archivist and via a friend of Saroyan's.
Born in Fresno, California, in 1908, Saroyan drew extensively on his Armenian-American heritage and childhood experiences in his books, plays, and short stories. The gift includes many first editions of his award-winning works as well as materials personally inscribed by Saroyan, who died in 1981. Berkeley's Bancroft Library already has significant holdings of Saroyan's work collected during his lifetime.
"UC Berkeley is such an incredible place of learning and growing and intellectual exploration," said Kazarian. "I know that my uncle wanted his library, manuscripts and galleys to go to Berkeley. Students will be inspired by the collection."