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Cordwainer Smith papers

Call Number: MS 196


The Cordwainer Smith collection contains drafts, fair copies, bound manuscripts, journals, typescripts, clippings, and correspondence, representing the major part of the surviving science fiction manuscripts of influential science fiction writer Cordwainer Smith. Also present are some of Linebarger's non-speculative fiction literary work and some papers from his governmental and academic careers, as well as some works by other writers.


  • Creation: 1928 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger (1913 - 1966)

Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 11, 1913. Linebarger’s father, Paul Myron Wentworth Linebarger, served as a Federal District Judge in the Philippines before working with Sun Yat Sen, a Chinese statesman who would become Linebarger’s godfather.

Throughout his childhood, Linebarger studied at several schools, including the Punaho Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii from 1919-1920, the British Cathedral School in Shanghai, China from 1920-1922, and the Oberrealschule in Baden Baden, Germany from 1923-1924. He received his Bachelor of Arts at George Washington University in 1933 after studying at the University of Nanking and North China Union Language School. He received his Master of Arts and Ph.D. from John Hopkins University in 1935 and 1936, respectively.

Linebarger married Margaret Snow in 1936, with whom he had two daughters before their divorce in 1949. He married Genevieve Collins in 1950, who would go on to publish several pieces under the Cordwainer Smith pseudonym after Linebarger’s death.

Linebarger’s first major publication came with his Ph.D. thesis, a scholarly work on Asian politics entitled The Political Doctrines of Sun Yat Sen (1937). He wrote several other non-fiction books on Chinese politics, including Government in Republican China (1938) and The China of Chiang K’ai-Shek (1941). These publications were followed by Linebarger’s Psychological Warfare (1948), a book based on Linebarger’s military experience and understanding of psychology.

In addition to his nonfiction work, Linebarger wrote fiction under several pseudonyms, including Cordwainer Smith, Carmichael Smith, Felix C. Forrest, and Anthony D’Este. Ria (1947) and Carola (1949), written under Felix C. Forrest, were his first published fiction works and were followed closely by Atomsk (1949) as Carmichael Smith.

Linebarger as Cordwainer Smith would first publish “Scanners Live in Vain” (1949) in a pulp magazine called Fantasy Book. “Scanners Live in Vain” was the first of Cordwainer Smith’s Instrumentality of Mankind stories, which included “A Planet named Shayol” (1961), “The Ballad of Lost C’Mell’ (1962), and “The Dead Lady of Clown Town” (1964). The Instrumentality of Mankind would culminate in the novel Norstrilia (1975) and several anthologies of short stories.

Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger died on August 6, 1966.

[Information taken from collection materials and the Cordwainer Smith official website.]


5 Linear Feet (10 boxes + 37 volumes)

Language of Materials



The collection was arranged into series by the seller based on material type. These materials were classified into broad categories, including Early Works, Science Fiction, Other Works, Correspondence, Miscellaneous Materials, and Work by Others. Each series has sub-series as needed.

The Early Works series contains materials from early in Smith’s writing career. The Science Fiction series includes drafts of various science fiction stories that Smith wrote and published. The Other Works series contains non-fiction work that Linebarger created.

Correspondence includes incoming and outgoing pieces of correspondence between Linebarger/Smith and others. Several pieces of correspondence in this series are to and from literary agent and fellow author Harry Altshuler, relating to Linebarger’s work.

The Miscellaneous series includes various enclosures removed from Smith’s books. Works by Others includes writing drafts, correspondence, or other materials created by people related to or creating materials related to Smith.

Volumes are mostly bound typescript drafts and other versions of works by Linebarger, as well as scrapbooks of clippings and reviews of Linebarger's work. The volumes, mostly bound by/for Linebarger, have been described at the end of this finding aid together.

Physical Location

MS 196

Physical Location

MS A56, MS A57

Physical Location

MS B157, MS B158, MS B159, MS B160, MS B161

Physical Location

MS C267, MS C268, MS C269, MS C270, MS C271, MS C272, MS C273, MS C274

Physical Location

MS D174, MS D175, MS D176, MS D177, MS D178, MS D179, MS D180, MS D181, MS D182, MS D183, MS D184, MS D185, MS D186, MS D187, MS D188, MS D189, MS D190, MS D191, MS D192, MS D193, MS D194, MS D195, MS D196

Other Finding Aids

A more detailed description of the collection is available at

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Booked Up, 1982; gift, Harry Altshuler, 1989.

Related Materials

Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger Papers, 82115, Hoover Institution Library and Archives.

Separated Materials

Linebarger, Paul Myron. Our Chinese Chances through Europe's War. Chicago: Linebarger Brothers Publishers, 1915. Available at Spencer Research Library at B8516.

Linebarger, Paul Myron. Miss American Dollars: A Romance of Travel. Milwaukee, WI: Mid-Nation Publishers, 1916. Available at Spencer Research Library at B8517.

Linebarger, Paul Myron. Bugle Rhymes from France. Chicago: Mid-Nation Publishers, 1918. Available at Spencer Research Library at B8518.

Guide to the Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger Collection
Cordwainer Smith papers
Finding aid prepared by alh, rwm, am, 1985, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995; mmj, 2023. Finding aid encoded by mmj, 2023.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Cordwainer Smith papers, MS 196, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States