Light & Verity

To Yale, from Macy's

The Beinecke gets David Sedaris's papers, including his instructions on elfing.

Tubyez Cropper

Tubyez Cropper

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In 1992, humorist David Sedaris got his big break: he was invited to read his essay “The Santaland Diaries”—an irreverent account of his work as an elf at Macy’s—on National Public Radio. It’s now a holiday classic, and Sedaris has since written several volumes of humor drawing on his own life.

The Beinecke Library recently acquired Sedaris’s papers. Besides correspondence and drafts of his work, the trove also includes, for example, projects from art school and his very own copy of Macy’s “Elfin Guide” for employees (above). “Only a few contemporary American writers generate as much joy and goodwill” as Sedaris, says Beinecke curator of modern books and manuscripts Timothy Young. “It’ll be rewarding for future generations to see how he crafted those beautiful, seemingly effortless essays.”

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