Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Literature > 216. Cornell Woolrich

216.  Cornell Woolrich (1903-1968).  Night Has a Thousand Eyes. Typed manuscript, carbon, with autograph corrections, 372 pages, ca. 1945. RBML, Cornell Woolrich Papers

Cornell George Hopley-Woolrich was born in New York City on 4 December 1903, the son of Genaro Hopley-Woolrich, a civil engineer and Claire Attalie Tarler. After his parents divorced, Woolrich spent his early years with his father traveling through Mexico and Central America, before moving back to New York City at the age of twelve to live with his mother. He attended Columbia University intermittently between 1921 and 1926 but never graduated.

Of all his major novels, Night Has a Thousand Eyes , published in 1945 under the new pseudonym George Hopley, is the one most dominated by death and fate, and in it Woolrich depicts the terror that is generated by knowing the exact moment and nature of one's death. By the mid 1940s Woolrich was regarded as the premier American suspense writer. After a stroke rendered him unconscious, he died on 25 September 1968, less than two and a half months short of his sixty-fifth birthday. He left his estate of some $850,000 to Columbia University to establish a scholarship fund for journalism in his mother's memory. He also left his papers and his copyrights to the Columbia University Libraries.

Bequest of Cornell Woolrich, 1968

Columbia University Libraries / Butler Library / 535 West 114th St. / New York, NY 10027 / (212) 854-7309 /