David Eddings papers

Identifier: EddingsD-RSCA-ORPR-US

Scope and Contents

This collection encompasses Eddings’ entire writing career, containing almost all the correspondence, holograph manuscripts, typescript versions, revisions, and page proofs for each of his 27 published volumes. Versions of more than a dozen unpublished works are also included along with short stories and plays that were rejected for publication. Eddings’ education, army service, and teaching career are all documented. The Papers also contain many photographs and some personal correspondence, which joins the massive collection of fan mail received.


  • 1931 - 2009


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical / Historical

David Eddings (1931-2009) was a major author of the fantasy genre in the United States. His immense output of 24 fantasy titles, all published after the age of 41, provides a satisfying success story about an author who had written all his life and who finally found the appropriate genre. Eight full-length manuscripts, mostly in the action adventure genre, and three plays remain in his papers, all rejected by publishers before he found his niche. Eddings’ forte was in the creation of new worlds peopled by hundreds of characters who would often wield magic during their quests and exploits. Some were placed in Medieval- style environments, some in an earlier Bronze Age, and some in a future existence. Eddings wrote five major series that became well-known to his many fans worldwide: The Belgariad, The Malloreon, The Elenium, The Tamuli, and The Dreamers; and four other standalone titles in the fantasy genre, Belgarath the Sorcerer, Polagara the Sorceress, The Riven Codex, and The Redemption of Althalus.

Born in Spokane, Washington, in 1931, Eddings attended Everett Junior College for two years before transferring to Reed College, from which he graduated in 1954. He was an English major at Reed and participated widely in theatre productions. His creative thesis, an unfinished novel entitled How Lonely are the Dead, was written under faculty advisor Lloyd Reynolds. Drafted into the army upon graduation, Eddings served a few years before returning to his graduate education at the University of Washington, where he wrote another unfinished novel, Man Running, to earn his Masters’ Degree. Eddings went on to teach American and English literature including Chaucer and Shakespeare at several colleges around the country before returning to first Denver, then Spokane, and finally Carson City, Nevada, to write seriously. After his teaching jobs, Eddings held down grocery store jobs until his writing took off. Eddings told the story about finding a 78th printing of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and thinking that he could succeed in writing for that popular genre, where his action adventure novels had been rejected for publication. Eddings did become immensely popular and, as his large collection of fan mail attests, readers from around the world waited eagerly for his books to appear.

David Eddings’ preferred writing style was pen-and-ink on 3-hole-punched lined paper. He did not like typing or the computer and hired a typist to transform his holograph copy into print. Extremely disciplined, Eddings wrote every day and successfully met contract due dates for manuscripts in his later fantasy output, writing an average of one volume a year from 1982 through 2006. Although he wrote everything, his wife Leigh, born Judith Leigh Schall, was significantly helpful in discussing topics and ideas, pointing out things that didn’t work, and proofing/editing. Referring to her as Super Girl, David added her name as co-author on the last eight titles from 1995 on. His papers include all steps of the publishing process and clearly show the author/editor relationship.


55 Linear Feet (110 manuscript boxes)




David Eddings (1931-2009) graduated from Reed in 1954, the first two years being spent at Everett Junior College. Interested in acting and literature, Eddings wrote plays, short stories, and novels all his life. At the age of 41, he was finally successful at getting his work published when he changed genres from action/adventure to fantasy. Eddings wrote 24 fantasy novels and three other works during his career, many with his wife, Leigh Schall Eddings.

Physical Location

Archives Main Shelving (L014), Range F Section 3 and Section 4.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of David Eddings in July of 2009, with additions by his brother, Dennis Eddings, later that year.

Processing Information

Processed by Gay Walker February, 2010.

Gay Walker
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Repository Details

Part of the Reed College Special Collections and Archives Repository

3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard
Portland Oregon 97202-8199 United States