The Harvard University Archives recently acquired a collection of letters and memorabilia by and relating to Erich Segal (AB 58, AM 59, PhD 63), author of the bestselling novel Love Story, co-writer of The Beatles’ film Yellow Submarine and professor of classics at Yale. The collection was given to the Archives as part of the bequest of A. Bernard Ackerman, a founding figure in the field of dermopathology, whose gift funded the establishment of the Ackerman Professorship of the Culture of Medicine at Harvard.
Ackerman and Segal were life-long friends. They met in their teens while attending camp in Pennsylvania and continued to correspond until Ackerman’s death in 2008. The collection is comprised primarily of letters that Ackerman received from Segal over many years of friendship, documenting Segal’s time at Harvard as well as his career as a scholar and playwright. The correspondence includes discussion of Harvard classmates and friends, Segal’s work on writing projects and as a professor at Yale, and Segal and Ackerman’s personal and family lives. The archive also contains photographs and various memorabilia associated with Segal, including a signed copy of Love Story with a personal note to Ackerman.
The collection will be available for research when cataloging is completed.
Related material in the Archives includes Erich Segal's 1968 PhD dissertation, "Roman Holiday Humor: The Plays of Plautus as Festival Comedy." Harvard's Houghton Library also holds a collection of Segal papers.