Browne Popular Culture Library

PCL MS-41: Marjorie Dorner Collection

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory


Marjorie Dorner is a contemporary American author of mystery-suspense novels, literary short stories, and one play. The manuscripts of working and final versions of her four mystery-suspense novels form the core of the collection.

Marjorie Dorner transferred her manuscripts to the Popular Culture Library, Bowling Green State University, in December 1993. The collection is open for research, but photocopying or other duplication of manuscripts must comply with applicable copyright laws. This register was compiled by Kevin Lause under the supervision of Jean Geist, Popular Culture Library Associate II in September 1996 and updated in September 2009 by Patricia Falk.

Biographical Sketch 

Marjorie Dorner was born on January 21, 1942 in Luxemburg, Wisconsin. She received a B.A. from St. Norbert College in 1964, an M.A. from Marquette University in 1965, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1971. Since graduating from Purdue, Dorner has spent most of her professional life as a Professor of English at Winona State University in Winona, Minnesota. She also resides in Winona with her two adopted daughters.

Dorner began her writing career by publishing short stories in small newspapers and by having a play (The Hundredth Battle) produced at the Green Bay Community Theater, Green Bay, Wisconsin in 1976. Her first work in the mystery-suspense genre was the novel Nightmare, published in 1987 and televised (as "Don't Touch My Daughter!") on NBC-TV in April 1991. Since then Dorner has published three other mystery-suspense novels -- Family Closets (1989), Freeze Frame (1990 -- Winner of the 1991 Minnesota Book Award for Best Mystery), and Blood Kin (1992). In an interview with the editors of Contemporary Authors, Dorner identified her major concerns in the mystery-suspense genre as " . . . ordinary people whose lives are suddenly visited with violence" and " explaining the ways we interact with and depend upon our social institutions, such as the law and the family." She also noted in the same interview that her major avocational interest is " -- especially to England and the Caribbean" and this interest has obviously served her well in the careful detail she has provided in her novels' varied settings. In 1992, Dorner broadened her creative output with the publication of a collection of literary short stories (Winter Roads, Summer Fields -- Winner of the 1993 Minnesota Book Award for Fiction) which also illustrates the strong influence of oral storytelling upon her writing.

Scope and Content 

The Marjorie Dorner Collection houses the handwritten literary manuscripts for four novels: Nightmare (also listed under the working and final British edition title A Choice of Nightmares), Family Closets, Freeze Frame (also listed under the working title Double Exposure), and Blood Kin. The collection also includes thirteen 5 1/4" floppy diskettes that contain the "Interim" working version of most of Family Closets, and the "First," "Interim," and "Final" versions of Blood Kin.

Researchers interested in the mystery-suspense genre and in the craft of mystery writing will find this collection useful.

Series Description 

Literary Production

Manuscripts, Literary
1987, 1989, 1990, 1992
Arranged chronologically by date of published work
This series includes the handwritten manuscripts for her four mystery-suspense novels. Also included are 13 floppy diskettes (5 1/4", Applewriter) containing some of the revisions for Family Closets and all of the revisions for Blood Kin. The two sets of diskettes are arranged chronologically by date of publication of the final manuscript.


Box 1
Nightmare 1987
1Also labeled A Choice of Nightmares -- author's original title
Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 1, pp.1-49
2Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 2, pp.50-99
3Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 3, pp.100-149
4Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 4, pp.150-184
Family Closets 1987, 1989
5Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 1, pp.1-50 
6Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 2, pp.51-100
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript page 99)
7Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 3, pp.101-150
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript pages 108 and 150)
8Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 4, pp.151-200
9Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 5, pp.201-230
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript pages 226 and 229)
Freeze Frame 1990
10Also listed under author's original title, Double Exposure
Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 1, pp.1-48
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript pages 34 and 38)
11Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 2, pp.49-98
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript pages 56,67,68,71, and 79)
12Handwritten manuscript---Volume 3, pp.99-146
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript page 145)
13Handwritten manuscript---Volume 4, pp.147-196
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript pages 190,191,195, and 196)
14Handwritten manuscript---Volume 5, pp. 197-202
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript page 199)
Box 2
Blood Kin 1992
1Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 1, pp.1-68
(See also author's additional notes on back of manuscript page 56)
2Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 2, pp. 69-138
3Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 3, pp. 139-209
4Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 4, pp.210-280
5Handwritten manuscript -- Volume 5, pp.281-345
6Family Closets
  1. Three (3) 5 1/4" floppy diskettes containing the "Interim Version"
  2. chapters 6-11
  3. chapters 12-17
  4. chapters 18-23
Blood Kin 1992
7Six (6) 5 1/4" floppy diskettes containing the entire "First Version" of the novel, two chapters of the "Interim Version" and one chapter of the "Final Version."
  1. First Version -- Prologue and Chapters 1-6
  2. First Version -- Chapters 7-11 and "Final Version" of chapter 32
  3. First Version -- Chapters 15-19
  4. First Version -- Chapters 20-26
  5. First Version -- Chapters 12-14 and 27-30
  6. First Version -- Chapters 31, 32
  7. Interim Version -- Chapters 3, 4
8Four (4) 5 1/4" floppy diskettes containing the "Final Version" of Blood Kin
  1. Prologue and Chapters 1-6
  2. Chapters 7-8, 10-14
  3. Chapters 15-21
  4. Chapters 9, 22-26, 29-31

Back to A-Z Listing of Manuscript Collections