Papers of Raymond Chandler, 1914-85

Scope and Content

Chandler's papers include literary papers; correspondence, business and personal papers; and working papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Raymond Chandler (1888-1959) was an author. In 1933 `Blackmailers Don't Shoot' was published by Joseph T. Shaw in Black Mask magazine, the first of Chandler's many contributions during the next five years to Black Mask and Crime Detective Magazine. In the Spring of 1938 he began work on a full-length novel using one of his Black Mask characters, Philip Marlowe, as a first-person narrator. The Big Sleep was published in 1939 and was an immediate success. It was followed by Farewell My Lovely (1940), The High Window (1942), The Lady in the Lake (1943), The Little Sister (1949), The Long Good-Bye (1953) and Playback (1958), together with several collections of short stories and articles for magazines. In 1943 Chandler began a fraught connexion with Hollywood when he collaborated with Billy Wilder on the screenplay for Double Indemnity (Paramount, 1944), the first of several assignments which also included The Blue Dahlia (Paramount, 1946) and Strangers on a Train (Warner Brothers, 1951).

Access Information

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Certain material is not available to readers, details are given in the catalogue.

Acquisition Information

The papers formerly in the possession of Helga Greene were deposited in the Library in 1983. A further series of letters from one of Chandler's American literary agents, Brandt and Brandt, was added to the deposit in 1984.


Collection level description created by Emily Tarrant, Department of Special Collections and Western Manuscripts.

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue is available in the Library. An online catalogue will shortly be available (

Custodial History

The letters and papers which make up the Chandler collection on deposit at the Bodleian Library were, with the exception of one series of letters, formerly in the possession of Mrs. Helga Greene, Chandler's English literary agent after 1956.


Many of the papers were used by Frank MacShane for The Life of Raymond Chandler (London, 1976) and for his edition of the Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler (New York, 1981).