Hotch at 100: Legacies

In the final installment of “Hotch at 100,” our interview with writer, philanthropist, and Washington University in St. Louis alumnus A. E. Hotchner, Hotchner reflects on various aspects of his legacy. He touches on his 100th birthday, his feelings about his written work, his advice to young writers, and his help in establishing the A. E. Hotchner Studio Theater and the A. E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition at Washington University. The Hotchner theater, a 125-seat black-box space that enables the staging of more intimate plays than in the full-scale Edison Theater, was established with a donation from the Newman’s Own Foundation. The Foundation also funds the A. E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition, which each year selects a group of plays written by current undergraduate and graduate students to receive two weeks of rehearsals with a guest dramaturge and staged readings in the Hotchner Theater.

Hotch also discusses his then-upcoming novel, The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom, now available from Penguin Random House. The novel, which returns to the milieu of Hotchner’s memoirs King of the Hill and Looking for Miracles—St. Louis during the Great Depression— is an imaginative murder mystery whose young protagonist, Aaron, navigates the streets and precincts of St. Louis in an attempt prove that his father is innocent of a crime he didn’t commit. Though the story itself is fiction, Hotch says the book is inspired by the real places of his youth and the people that populated them, and that writing the novel was a way for him to “pay off certain emotional debts” to those that played a significant role in his early life.

Here in Special Collections we look forward to seeing what Hotchner accomplishes in his 101st year!

The following scans, from drafts of “The Adventures of Aaron Broom”, written between Hotchner’s 99th and 100th birthdays, are part of a recent addition to the A. E. Hotchner Papers:

Holograph manuscript page of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Holograph manuscript page of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Holograph manuscript page of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner

Holograph manuscript page of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

Typescript draft of The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom  by A. E. Hotchner

The Modern Literature Collection has been acquiring Hotchner’s manuscripts and other papers since 1967. The A. E. Hotchner Papers currently consist of  manuscript and editorial material toward the books Papa Hemingway (1966), Treasure (1970), King of the Hill (1970), The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1981), Looking for Miracles (1975), Choice People (1984), Louisiana Purchase (1996) and Hemingway in Love (2015), as well as scripts for Hotchner’s adaptations of Hemingway materials for television and original plays for television and the stage. View the Finding Aid here.

A major new acquisition from Hotchner this year includes further manuscripts and screenplays, correspondence with Hemingway, photographs and other memorabilia of Hotchner’s time at Washington University, dozens of photographs of Hemingway, and many materials related to Hotchner’s long-running charity production of the Hemingway story-cycle “The World of Nick Adams”. These acquisitions are currently being processed.

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