Collection inventory

Special Collections home page

Austryn Wainhouse Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: MRC
Date: 8 May 2014

Biographical History

Austryn Wainhouse (1927-2014) was an American author, publisher and translator, particularly of French works. He is best known for his translation into English of the complete works of the Marquis de Sade.

Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1927, Wainhouse graduated from Harvard University and then traveled in Europe, eventually settling in Paris with his wife Mary ("Muffie") in 1949. There he worked for Maurice Girodias at Olympia Press, for whom he produced the first unexpurgated English translation of de Sade's Justine (1953), and was an editor of Alexander Trocchi's literary magazine Merlin. His letters from this period suggest that his bohemian lifestyle and political leanings somewhat puzzled his father, a long-time American Foreign Service employee and the author of numerous books on peace and arms control.

By 1960 Wainhouse was divorced and dividing his time between the United States and Europe. In the mid-1960s he began working with avant-garde publishing house Grove Press to produce an English translation of Sade's complete works, including his Letters from Vincennes and from the Bastille. Wainhouse was given the post of Writer-in-Residence at the Jonas Salk Institute in 1971, where his colleagues included physician Jonas Salk and physicist Jacques Monod; in 1972 he won the National Book Award (Translation) for his translation of Monod's Chance and Necessity.

For the next several years he continued writing and translating from his home in Vermont. Then in 1982 he established The Marlboro Press in Marlboro, Vermont, with the goal of publishing English translations of French and Italian works. "[A]s a publisher [I] could pursue no more responsible course and render no service of greater usefulness to the American reading public than to strengthen and multiply its imaginative connections with the rest of the world," he wrote in a brief history of the press. Over the next twenty years the press published more than ninety titles (first under its own imprint and later under the joint imprint of The Marlboro Press/Northwestern University Press), including literary travel, poetry and fiction.

Wainhouse remained good friends with his former wife Mary ("Muffie") and in the late 1990s he and his wife, Deborah Clayton Wainhouse, relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where Muffie was living. Muffie died in 2001. Wainhouse's affection for France had never waned, and that same year he and Deborah retired to Uzès in the south of France where he died in 2014.

Wainhouse had three daughters, Cassandra, Melissa, and Suzannah, and one son, Henry.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Austryn Wainhouse Papers consists of calendars, correspondence, diaries, financial material, manuscripts, memorabilia, notebooks, Sade material, and a small amount of miscellanea. The collection contains both personal and professional material and spans Wainhouse's entire career, with particular emphasis on his early work including his translations of the Marquis de Sade.

Calendars consists of 31 small desk calendars, spanning thirty years, with Wainhouse's notes.

Correspondence contains both incoming and outgoing letters (Wainhouse often made carbon copies of his letters, even to friends and family). Notable correspondents include Simone de Beauvoir, Alain Accardo, Georges Bataille, Samuel Beckett, Albert Guerard. The most extensive correspondence is with Dick Seaver, his editor for the Sade books at Grove Press; with British poet Christopher Logue, a close friend with whom he corresponded for more than forty years; and with his wife Mary (Muffie).

Diaries consist of a variety of bound volumes, mostly untitled, spanning about forty years. The first volume includes Wainhouse's pithy observations on his Navy experience and clippings of some of his columns. Later volumes cover a summer in Mallorca (Majorca), a year in Geneva, and "Years with Michelle."

Financial material includes ledgers in which Wainhouse entered his translations and fees, royalty statements from several publishers, and some miscellaneous notes.

Manuscripts, one of the largest series, includes original work as well as translations. Original work includes essays (topics include Baudelaire and "Negroness"), short stories (e.g., "The Prince of Janitzio") and novels (Aftosa, Artra, Hedyphagetica, There Comes a Youth), many of which were apparently never published. Also here is Wainhouse's master's thesis on E.M. Forster. Translations include works by Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, Aleksandra Kroh. Formats include handwritten manuscripts, typescripts, typescript carbons, and others, many with annotations and corrections.

Memorabilia contains a large number of photographs, two boxes of slides, a few negatives, a scrapbook, and some assorted paper memorabilia (membership cards, etc.) Nearly all of the photos are candid shots of Wainhouse, family, friends, houses, scenes in Europe, etc. They have been sleeved for protection, but since most are undated/unlabeled and they arrived in a single box without any organization, no attempt has been made to arrange or categorize them and they remain in random order.

The collection contains more than twenty spiral Notebooks, though not all are found in this series. In some cases, such as the Juliette notebooks (see Sade material below) they were clearly either translations or drafts of original work; these have been filed under Manuscripts or Sade material, depending on their content. What remains in this series are notebooks whose contents either could not be identified, such as one containing practice exercises in Greek and another labeled "Traveler from Peking."

Sade material represents nearly a quarter of the collection. The bulk of this series consists of manuscripts and typescripts of Wainhouse's translations. There are 13 spiral notebooks filled with Wainhouse's original handwritten translation of Justine, numerous drafts of Letters from Vincennes, drafts of Klossowski's Sade mon prochain, and a handwritten translation of Philosophia dans la boudoir (Philosophy in the Bedroom). Also included here are original works by Wainhouse, such as his essay "On translating Sade," the foreword to Juliette Book III, and a "Translator's preface." There are two folders of publicity, both from Grove and from the press (reviews, articles, etc.), and a few miscellaneous items such as the typescript of "The Boudoir Philosophers," a stage version of Philosophy in the Bedroom written by Eric Kahane.

The few items of Miscellany at the end of the collection consists of photopies of two published novels and a random assortment of clippings and printed material.

Arrangement of the Collection

Calendars and diaries are arranged chronologically. Correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and, within that, chronologically. Manuscripts are arranged alphabetically by title, with all translations grouped alphabetically under that subheading. Memorabilia are arranged alphabetically by type but no further arrangement has been attempted and photographs are in no particular order. Sade material is arranged alphabetically by title or type of material; the folders of publicity have been sorted by year only.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Related Material

A number of published books have been removed from the collection for cataloging. A complete list of these items is available on request, or you may search the Classic Catalog for "Austryn Wainhouse" as a keyword.

See also the Grove Press Records.

Subject Headings


Accardo, Alain.
Bataille, Georges, 1897-1962.
Beckett, Samuel, 1906-1989.
Blackburn, Paul.
Blanchot, Maurice.
Froshaug, Anthony.
Guérard, Albert J. (Albert Joseph), 1914-
Hyvernaud, Andrée.
Hyvernaud, Georges.
Klossowski, Pierre.
Lilienthal, David Eli, 1899-1981.
Logue, Christopher, 1926-2011.
Malina, Judith, 1926-
Monod, Jacques.
Sade, marquis de, 1740-1814 -- Translations into English.
Seaver, Richard.
Spingarn, Lawrence Perry, 1917-
Trocchi, Alexander, 1925-1984.
Wainhouse, Austryn.
Wainhouse, David W.
Wainhouse, Mary.
Wyckoff, Alexander.
de Wet, Louis.

Corporate Bodies

Grove Press.
The Marlboro Press.

Associated Titles



Authors, American.
Authors, French.
French literature -- 20th century -- Translations into English.
Publishers and publishing -- Vermont.
Small presses -- Vermont.
Translations -- Publishing.


Paris (France) -- Intellectual life -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms

Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts (document genre)
Manuscripts for publication.
Slides (photographs)



Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Austryn Wainhouse Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Purchase, 2013.

Table of Contents








Sade material