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William March Papers

Identifier: MSS-0266

Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of approximately 1,100 items dating from 1897 to 1980, including correspondence, literary productions (publications, manuscripts, notes, research), clippings (primarily reviews), criticism, photographs, memorabilia, and a bust of March. While the addition of items in 1986 dramatically increased the research value of this collection, there are still notable gaps. March is known to have destroyed some manuscripts, and some correspondence remains in the possession of March's executors. There are also transcripts of correspondence in this collection for which original items are missing and thought to be in private hands.


  • 1897 - 1980


Biographical/Historical note

William Edward Campbell, better known as the writer William March, was born September 18, 1893, in Mobile, Alabama. He was the second of eleven children born to John Leonard Campbell and Susan March Campbell. Since Campbell's father was a lumberman, the family lived in several small sawmill towns in West Florida and south Alabama. Campbell left home before finishing high school and entered a business college in Mobile at age sixteen. At nineteen he entered Valparaiso University because it would admit him without a high school diploma. He also attended the University of Alabama Law School during the 1914/15 term before working in law offices in Mobile and New York. In 1917, Campbell volunteered for service with the Marines. He served with the 5th Regiment, 43rd Company, was in several major battles of World War I, and was decorated for bravery (Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and Croix de Guerre). His war experiences were later reflected in his novel, Company K, acclaimed by many critics as the best novel dealing with World War I. At the conclusion of the war, Campbell returned to Mobile where he became associated with the Waterman Steamship Corporation. He started as a traffic manager and later became a vice president of the company. The corporation rapidly expanded its offices overseas, and Campbell assumed control of the Hamburg and London offices. Campbell began his serious writing in the 1920s and had his first short story published in Forum in 1929. Company K, perhaps his best known work, appeared in 1933. In addition to his numerous short stories (approximately 145), some of his notable novels are The Tallons, Come in at the Door, and The Bad Seed (popularized both on the stage and screen). March died in 1954 in New Orleans and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Tuscaloosa. He never married. For a more comprehensive review of March's life and work, see Roy S. Simmonds' biography, The Two Worlds of William March (University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1984).


3.4 Linear Feet (about 1100 items)

Language of Materials



Correspondence, literary papers, clippings, criticism, photos, and memorabilia of this author.


Gifts of family members and friends, 1956-1986


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Guide to William March Papers
April 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266