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Michener Rights

Information about rights to the works of James A. Michener '29

James Michener '29 holding a lacrosse stick like a guitar

Department Overview

Above: A young Jim Michener '29 as a student at Swarthmore in the 1920s. Photo courtesy of Friends Historical Library.

James A. Michener '29 (1907-1997) attended Swarthmore College on a scholarship, graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English and history, and later became known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of more than 40 epic historical novels. Upon his passing in 1997, Michener left  

“the publishing responsibility, rights (including copyrights and royalties of all types), and profits from (i) the literary journals and other papers and (ii) the manuscripts, correspondence, notes, memoranda, notebooks, and papers of a similar nature...to Swarthmore College, for use for its educational purposes….”

Throughout his career and to this day, Michener's works have been widely published, translated, and adapted in many languages and multiple print, electronic, and audio formats as well as on stage and screen. Proceeds from those rights support Swarthmore’s endowment, ensuring the enduring impact of Michener’s literary legacy on the College. The James A. Michener Legacy Circle is named in honor of his remarkable gift.

To inquire about the rights to any of James Michener’s works, please contact Don Cooney at dcooney1@swarthmore.edu or 610-328-8285. 

Your inquiry about rights must include the following information:

  1. The specific title(s) you are inquiring about. We cannot respond to general inquiries about “available rights” without reference to specific titles.
  2. The specific right(s) you are inquiring about. For example: “License to publish in trade paperback in Chinese simplified language James A. Michener’s [NAME OF WORK] in the People’s Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macao).”
  3. Evidence of your readiness to carry out your proposed project. This can include links to information demonstrating your success in comparable endeavors.
  4. Detailed contact information on the best ways to reach you.