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Octavia Butler's Papers Preserved For Future Generations

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Thank goodness the Huntington Library's Curator of Literary Manuscripts, Sue Hodson, recognized Octavia's Butler's brilliance when she first met her. Hodson pursued Butler doggedly, and finally Butler agreed to give her papers to the Huntington after her death.

Now Butler's papers will join those of Jack London, Charles Bukowski and Christopher Isherwood in the library, which just received 39 cartons and eight file-cabinet drawers full of Butler's manuscripts, correspondence, school papers and photographs. It's a gold mine, including typed drafts of Kindred, and note cards with Butler's thoughts on the writing process.


Hodson heard Butler speak at a women's history seminar at the library years ago, and was immediately stunned by her ideas. So she ran up to Butler and "put my business card under her nose," she tells the Pasadena Star News. She kept pursuing Butler, until one visit, when Hodson was driving Butler around, and Butler told her, "the Huntington is in my will."

As Hodson says, it's terrible that Butler's papers are being delivered to the Huntington so soon — Hodson had expected someone else to be unpacking those boxes, years from now — but it's great that scholars will have access to so much insight into the inner workings of Butler's mind. [Pasadena Star-News]