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Judson C. Sapp papers and collection of Rex Stout

Collection MS-1996-022: Judson C. Sapp papers and collection of Rex Stout


  • Creation: 1914-1985, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1977 - 1982

Scope and Contents

The Judson Council Sapp papers and collection of Rex Stout document Sapp’s efforts to create a comprehensive collection of first editions of all American publications of Rex Stout's works, as well as his participation with the Wolfe Pack and other mystery literary associations. The papers illustrate the strong following around Rex Stout's character Nero Wolfe and give insight into a world of fandom, amateur presses, and literary societies during the late 1960s to early 1980s.

Materials include correspondence with collectors, friends, and Stout-enthusiasts; vendor catalogs, fanzines, and mystery newsletters; Nero Wolfe ephemera such as fan artwork, film stills, broadsides, and audiovisual recordings of radio shows and television series; and Wolfe Pack correspondence, The Gazette: The Journal of the Wolfe Pack , and Black Orchid banquet ephemera. This collection also includes Sapp's correspondence with John McAleer, Rex Stout's official biographer, which documents their professional collaboration and friendship.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research. Recordings on audio cassette have been digitally copied; all original media were retained, but may not be played due to format. Digital use copies can only be accessed in the Burns Library Reading Room. Recordings on audio reel are not available for playback due to format impermanence and cannot be reformatted by Burns Library at this time. Please let Burns Library Public Services know of your specific interest; when it becomes possible we will schedule reformatting.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note: Judson Council Sapp III

Judson Council Sapp III was born December 19, 1940 to Judson Council Sapp II and Doris Henry of Dalton, Georgia. He attended Dalton High School and then Emory University, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and Kappa Phi Kappa. Sapp met a fellow student and his future wife, Linda Sue Hayes, at Emory. The two graduated in 1963, married that summer, and settled in Atlanta. Sapp was employed as an elementary school principal for the Atlanta Public School District and Linda as a librarian at Emory University.

Sapp was first introduced to the work of Rex Stout in 1964. He spent the greater part of the 1970s and early 1980s building his collection of first- and limited-edition publications of Rex Stout, including both American and foreign editions. During this period, Sapp developed friendships with other Rex Stout enthusiasts, beginning with Rex Stout's authorized biographer, Boston College Professor John McAleer.

Prior to receiving a letter from McAleer in 1972, Sapp had not met any other Stout fans, McAleer’s foundation of the affinity group, the Wolfe Pack changed that. Sapp became an active member of the Wolfe Pack and the invitation-only DAPA-EM (Elementary My Dear, Amateur Press Association); presented at the Wolfe Pack's Black Orchid banquets; corresponded with other Stout collectors; and contributed to Guy M. Townsend’s book, Rex Stout: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography.

Sapp died of cancer February 6, 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. He was buried in West Hill Cemetery in Dalton, Georgia, and is survived by his wife.

Sources U.S. Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

Correspondent files: McAleer, John, Box 30, Folder 13-18, Judson C. Sapp papers and collection of Rex Stout, MS.1996.022, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

"Funeral Notices." 1983.The Atlanta Constitution (1946-1984), Feb 08, 1983.

"Linda Hayes is Bride of Mr. Sapp." 1963.The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968), Aug 11, 1963.

"Marriage Announcement 3 -- no Title." 1963.The Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution (1950-1968), Jun 02, 1963.

Biographical note: Rex Stout

Rex Stout was an American author best known for his detective fiction. He was born December 1, 1886 in Noblesville, Indiana, the sixth of nine children. In 1887 his parents, John and Lucetta Stout, bought a forty-acre farm south of Topeka, Kansas, where Stout grew up. As a young man, Stout tried several trades, including bookkeeping (with a stint in the Navy as a bookkeeper on Theodore Roosevelt’s yacht), ushering at an opera house in Topeka, studying law, and working as a cigar store clerk. He also traveled around the United States and began to work seriously at writing.

Stout published serialized novels and short stories throughout the 1910s, mostly in All Story magazine, but took a break from writing in 1916 when he settled in New York City, married Fay Kennedy, and started a savings and loan business for students with his brother, called the Educational Thrift Service (ETS), which he left in 1929. He and Fay spend the next couple of years in Europe. He worked on the first of several "straight" novels he would produce, How Like a God (1929). He published several more novels in this vein. In 1931, he and Fay divorced. The next year he married Pola Weinbach Hoffman, a textile designer, and together they had two daughters, Barbara (1933) and Rebecca (1937).

In 1934, Stout wrote his first novel featuring the characters Nero Wolfe and his sidekick Archie Goodwin, Fer-de-Lance. For the next four decades, he dedicated his career to writing the Nero Wolfe series. During that time, Stout wrote seventy-two Wolfe novels and novellas, which spawned several radio, television, and film adaptations, and built the dedicated fan base that would later become the Wolfe Pack. In 1969, he received the crime-fiction award, the Silver Dagger, from the Crime Writers' Association.

Stout was involved in the operation of many professional organizations, among them the Authors’ Guild and Authors’ League of America (both of which he served as president), the Dramatists Guild, the Mystery Writers of America, the Screen Writers’ Guild, and the Radio Writers Guild. He was also a lead figure in several political groups. During World War II he was chairman of the Writers’ War Board. He helped to found the Fight for Freedom Committee and Freedom House and gave a series of radio broadcasts concerning Axis propaganda called "Our Secret Weapon." Following the war he continued his political activism by helping to found and serving as president of both the Society for the Prevention of World War III and the Writers Board for World Government.

Rex Stout died on October 27, 1975 at the age of 89 at his estate, High Meadow, in Connecticut.


Anderson, David R. Rex Stout. New York: F. Ungar, 1984.

Erickson, Scott W. "Stout, Rex.” In American National Biography Online, February 2000,

McAleer, John J. Rex Stout: A Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, 1977.


39.75 Linear Feet (64 containers)

29 Gigabytes (32 files with approximately 15 hours of audio)

Language of Materials



The Judson C. Sapp papers and collection of Rex Stout document Sapp’s efforts to create a comprehensive collection of Stout first editions, as well as his activities as a fan and member of the Nero Wolfe literary society, the Wolfe Pack. Materials include correspondence; published materials; audiovisual records of Rex Stout's radio shows and television recordings; and ephemera.


The papers are arranged in three series: I. Rex Stout; II. Collecting; and III. The Wolfe Pack.

Series I is further divided into six subseries: articles and clippings; fan ephemera; interviews; literary works; McAleer biography; and Nero Wolfe.

Series II comprises three subseries: card catalog; Sapp correspondence; and management.

Series III comprises four subseries: Black Orchid banquets; correspondence; ephemera; and The Gazette: The Journal of the Wolfe Pack.


Materials acquired from Linda Sapp.

Related Materials

Ed Price collection of Rex Stout, MS.2018.057, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

John McAleer faculty papers, BC.1995.016, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Rex Stout papers, MS.1986.096, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Separated Materials

This collection included published materials that have been transferred to the John J. Burns Library book collection.



  • TV and radio dubs of Nero Wolfe shows
Judson C. Sapp Papers and Collection of Rex Stout
1914-1985 (bulk 1977-1982)
Xaviera Flores
April 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States