Patricia Highsmith Papers

Swiss Literary Archives

Finding aid established by Philippa Burton, Lucienne Schwery, Stéphanie Cudré-Mauroux, Ulrich Weber, Lukas Dettwiler, 2005

Schweizerisches Literaturarchiv

Hallwylstrasse 15
CH-3003 Bern

email address:

Finding aid encoded by Lukas Dettwiler 2006


Author/Origine : Highsmith, Patricia (1921-1995)
Title : Literary Remains
Key Data of Documents : 1850 c - 1995
Scope and content : Manuscripts (Short Stories, Novels, Poems), Notebooks, Drawings, Letters, Diaries, Photos, Scrapbooks, Library, Videos, Audio Tapes and LPs, Newspaper Cuttings
Collation : 120 boxes
Cote : SLA-PH

Patricia Highsmith, New York, 1941 c

Biography of Patricia Highsmith

Patricia Highsmith was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on 19.01.1921 and died on 04.02.1995 in Locarno (Ticino). She was raised in Fort Worth, Texas, and in New York where she studied and found work as a text writer for comic strips. Following the publication of her first thriller, Strangers on a Train (1950), she was able to make a living as a writer. She traveled extensively, especially to and in Europe, taking up residence in England in 1963. She moved to France in 1967 and finally to Switzerland (Ticino) in 1981. Patricia Highsmith wrote more than 20 novels, plus many short stories, essays and articles for the media. She owed much of her fame to the five Ripley novels, featuring the murderer and anti-hero Tom Ripley, who always somehow managed to cover up his tracks. Only part of her work is crime fiction however. Highsmith was above all concerned with the psychology of her characters, and with human relationships and the way in which they degenerate into violence. The novel The Price of Salt deals with the subject of a Lesbian relationship. Her works have inspired several films, by such well known directors as Alfred Hitchcock, Claude Chabrol, Wim Wenders and Anthony Minghella.

Scope and Contents

Literary works: typewritten manuscripts of various novels, including unpublished fragments of The Click of the Shutting and other novels. A large number of typewritten manuscripts of partly unpublished short stories and essays. Some 39 'cahiers' or literary notebooks. Including a large collection of sketches and water colors by the author. Family correspondence. - Correspondence with publishers. - Letters from the author to recipients including: Dan and Florine Coates, her mother Mary Coates Highsmith, Barbara Ker-Seymer, Carl Laszlo, Charles Latimer, Kate Kingsley Skattebøl. Letters to the author, dating mainly from circa 1970, and from correspondents including: Paul Bowles, Roger Clarke, Dan Coates, Graham Greene, Barbara Ker-Seymer, Charles Latimer, Patricia Losey, Mary McCarthy, MariJane Meaker, Kate Kingsley Skattebøl, Muriel Spark, Gore Vidal. Life Papers and Documents, Memorabilia: diaries, photo albums, identification documents, family trees, household items (typewriter, pictures, etc.). Collections: editions of her works, scrapbooks containing press clippings about the author, audiovisual material, her personal library. Supplementations (Donations, further acquisitions after 1996).

Adminstrative Information

Organization of Documents

The Literary Remains consist of five parts:
- A: Works
- B: Letters
- C: Life Papers and Documents
- D: Collections
- D: Supplementations

History of the acquisition and organization of the Highsmith Papers

Patricia Highsmith’s literary estate was acquired by the Swiss Literary Archives (SLA) in August 1996 from Daniel Keel the executor of the writer’s will. The majority of the collection was transferred to the SLA in November 1996. Other items, that had been stored at the publishers Diogenes Verlag in Zurich, were transferred to the SLA in March 1998. Since then, the collection has grown through a variety of donations (the most significant being: the Coates Donation 1998, and the Skattebol Donation 1999) as well as the purchase of items (Latimer correspondence, Ker-Seymer correspondence among others). The organisation of the collection was mainly carried out by Philippa Burton in the framework of a contract from March to August 1997. The general structure of the collection was defined and an inventory carried out of the manuscripts and drawings among others. Philippa Burton then carried out an inventory of the correspondence in 1998/99. During her training, Lucienne Schwery made an inventory of the photograph collection as well as a variety of documents connected with the author’s life. Kate Kingsley Skattebøl helped to identify different people (in photographs and correspondence) during a stay in Bern in 1999. The final (latest?) work on the collection was carried out in 2005/2006 by Lukas Dettwiler and Ulrich Weber. In order to facilitate the accessibility to the Patricia Highsmith Papers, the inventory has been converted into EAD format.


AvP Anna von Planta
c./c circa
div. mat. divers materials
dd. dated
approx. approximately
h.w. handwritten
IHT International Herald Tribune
Illustration Illustr.
PH Patricia Highsmith
MC Music Cassette (Audio Cassette)
MS(S). Manuscript(s)
numb. numbered
p. page
pp. pages
orig. original
pseud. pseudonym
suppl. supplement
Ts(s). Typescript(s)
t.w. typewritten
t. p. title page
CoD Coates Donation
?/(?) unknown (person or subject)


Documents are available for consultation only in the SLA Reading Room, and are subject to certain restrictions above all in relation to the inherent personal rights and copyright.

Preferred Quotation

Swiss Literary Archives (SLA). Patricia Highsmith Papers.

Table of contents

A Works
A-01 Prose
A-01-a Novels
A-01-b Unfinished / Unpublished Novels
A-01-c Short Stories, Articles and Essays
A-01-c-1/01-61 "Oldest Short Stories 1945-1955 c"
A-01-c-2/62-110 "Short Stories: Middle"
A-01-c-3/111-180 "Short Stories: 1972-74-78-80-81-82"
A-01-c-4/181-237 "Short Stories 1983-88/Book Reviews"
A-01-c-5/238-299 "Stories - Articles 1989"
A-01-c-6 to 10 Collections of Short Stories
A-01-c-11 to 14 Essays / Incomplete Old Stories, etc.
A-02 Poems
A-03 Theatre Plays [no Ms.]
A-04 TV and Radio Scripts
A-05 Notebooks [Cahiers]
A-06 Drawings
A-06-a Small Format Drawings and Sketchbooks
A-06-b Medium Format Drawings and Sketchbooks
A-06-c Large Format Drawings
B Letters
B-01 Letters from Patricia Highsmith
B-01-01 Family Correspondence
B-01-02 Personal Correspondence
B-01-03 Business Correspondence
B-01-04 Letters to Readers
B-01-05 Fan Letters (To non-writers)
B-01-06 Letters to Politicians and Newspapers
B-01-06-a Divers Subjects
B-01-06-b Israel/Palestinians
B-02 Letters to Patricia Highsmith
B-02-01 Family Correspondence
B-02-02 Personal Correspondence
B-02-03 Business Correspondence
B-02-04 Letters from Readers (sorted)
B-02-05 Letters from Readers (unsorted)
B-03 Letters between Third Persons
B-04 Thematical Correspondence
B-04-a Thematical Bundles
B-04-b Unsorted Letters
B-04-b-01 Copies of Letters
B-04-b-02 Letters in/from Scrapbooks and Diaries
B-04-c Original Correspondence Folders [empty]
B-04-d Documents from Correspondence Files
C Life Papers and Documents
C-01 Diaries
C-02 Personal Papers
C-02-a Birth certificate, Passports, Death report etc.
C-02-b Private Small Format Booklets (Address Booklets, Small Notebooks)
C-02-c Social Security (Health and Medical Documents)
C-02-d Death (Exit, Last Will etc.)
C-02-e American Citizenship
C-02-f Cats
C-02-g Divers Personal Documents (Horoscope, CV)
C-02-h Calendars with Notes
C-03 Genealogical and Family Documents
C-03-a Stewart Family
C-03-b Coates and Coats
C-03-c Coates Donations
C-04 House and Business Documents
C-04-a Business Small Format Booklets (Income and Address)
C-04-b House Documents
C-04-b-01 Visitors' Book, 1977/1991
C-04-b-02 Documents re: Aurigeno House, 1980/1995
C-04-b-03 Documents re: Tegna House, 1977/1995, n.d.
C-04-b-04 Writing Utensils, TV, Media, 1985/1995, n.d.
C-04-c Memberships
C-04-d Editors
C-04-e Taxes
C-05 Photos
C-05-a Photo Albums
C-05-a-02 Red Album (horizontal)
C-05-a-03 Black Album (gold tooling)
C-05-a-04 Red Album (upright)
C-05-a-05 Black Album (photographs)
C-05-a-06 Black Album (memory book)
C-05-b Private Shots
C-05-c Professional Shots (Portraits etc.)
C-05-d Photos Coates Donation
C-06 Awards and Diplomas
C-07 Memorabilia
C-08 Notes by Patricia Highsmith (and others)
C-08-a Divers Notes
C-08-b Notes removed from PH's Books
D Collections
D-01 Personal Library
D-02 Collection of Highsmith Editions
D-03 Scrapbooks
D-04 Press Cuttings and Newspaper/Magazine Copies re: Life and Work of PH
D-04-a Articles and Stories by PH
D-04-b Portraits of PH and Interviews
D-04-c Reviews of Novels
D-04-d Obituaries
D-05 Press cuttings re: diverse topics
D-05-a Alphabethical Documentation
D-05-b Newspaper Cuttings re: Israel – Palestinians
D-05-c Natural and Unnatural Catastrophes Documentation
D-05-d Animal Rights
D-05-e Blacks
D-05-f Divers
D-05-g The Pits
D-06 Video Tapes
D-06-a Film Versions and Videos relating to PH
D-06-b Patricia Highsmith's Video Collection
D-06-c Additional Videos on PH and her Oeuvre
D-07 Audio tapes and records
D-07-a Spoken Letters / Interviews / Reviews / Reportages
D-07-b Recordings of Literature / Music / Guides
D-07-c Highsmith Audio Books
D-07-d Long Play Records (LPs)
D-08 Orignal Ts./MS. Boxes and Folders
D-09 Film Scripts / Screenplays by other Authors, based on PH Novels
D-10 Maps
D-11 Studies on PH's Work (Manuscripts)
D-12 Manuscripts by Others
D-13 Artwork in Possession of PH
D-14 Collection of Postcards
D-15 Odds and Ends
E Supplementations
E-01 Copies of Manuscripts and Documents [Large format boxes]
E-02 Exhibition Documents
E-03 Executors' Files