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Bernard S. Oldsey Collection

Identifier: 41
This collection is divided into five series.

Series I contains material related to the writing and editing of British Novelists: 1930-1959 (1983), a volume that Oldsey edited as part of Bruccoli Park Publishers’ Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) series. It is divided into five subseries. Subseries I consists of correspondence arranged alphabetically according to writer’s last name; most of the correspondents are contributors to the book. Subseries II consists of correspondence arranged according to topic. Subseries III consists of correspondence arranged chronologically. Subseries IV contains drafts of many of the essays which can be found in the book. Subseries V contains miscellaneous papers.

Series II contains material related to the writing and editing of Hemingway’s Hidden Craft: The Writing of A Farewell to Arms (1980), a book authored by Oldsey. It contains sections of drafts of the book. The drafts are arranged according to their original order, which does not follow the order of the book itself. There are also correspondence and secondary sources used for research.

Series III contains material related to the editing of Critical Essays on George Orwell (1984). It includes reviews of Orwell’s work dating back to the 1935, correspondence with contributors, accepted submissions, and clippings from January 1984 about Orwell’s novel 1984.

Series IV contains material related to the English Colloquium, a lectures series which Oldsey founded in 1969 and ran until 1979. It contains correspondence with lecturers, reports, and publicity material. Because some of the correspondence contains social security numbers, that correspondence has been placed in Series V, a restricted series which is viewable at the discretion of Special Collections staff.


  • Majority of material found within 1969 - 1985
  • 1935 - 1985


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research


8 Boxes


Bernard S. Oldsey (1923-2008) was a professor in the English department of West Chester State College/West Chester University from 1969 to 1985. The collection contains material related to books he edited and a book he wrote, and material related to a lecture series.

Biographical / Historical

Bernard “Bern” Stanley Oldsey was born February 18, 1923 and grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He attended Pennsylvania State University on a track and football scholarship, but his education was interrupted by WWII. He served from December 1, 1942 to 29 December 1945 in the 34th Infantry Division and earned a Purple Heart. After the war, he earned a BA in journalism in 1948, and an MA in English literature in 1949.

He earned a doctorate in English literature from Pennsylvania State University in 1955 and taught there until 1969 when he transferred to West Chester to develop a graduate program in English.

He founded College Literature in January 1974, a scholarly journal published by West Chester and circulated internationally. Oldsey also established and served as Chairman for the English Colloquium from 1969 to 1979, and brought speakers to campus that included Richard Lattimore, Daniel Gerard Hoffman, Lloyd Alexander, and Chaim Potok.

He wrote 15 books, most of them literary criticism, including Hemingway’s Hidden Craft: The Writing of A Farewell to Arms, published in 1979. He also authored two novels. He edited British Novelists: 1930-1959 (1982) as part of the Dictionary of Literary Biography (DLB) series, and Critical Essays on George Orwell (1984).

Oldsey passed away on the 11th of October, 2008, in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Bernard S. Oldsey Collection
Jesse Brody, Special Collections Technician
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the West Chester University Archives Repository