David Goodis Collection at Temple University’s Paley Library

Location: Temple University’s Paley Library is located on the university’s main campus, on 1210 Polett Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19122. The Special Collections Research Center is located on the ground floor. The Special Collections are available for research, teaching, learning, and administration at Temple University, but if contacted can be available to anyone.

Contact information: E-mail through http://library.temple.edu/collections/scrc/ask ; Call (215)-204-8257, or Write at SCRC, Paley Library (017-00), 1210 Polett Walk, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122.

Frame of Reference: David Goodis attended Temple University and studied journalism, graduating in 1938. During his time at Temple, he wrote for the school newspaper and was featured in the staff photo in the 1938 yearbook, credited as a member of the “Board of Editorial Assistants”. He was a prominent author in Philadelphia in the 1950’s and 60’s, and several Philadelphians have donated their Goodis collections to Temple to create a worthwhile tribute to the author.

Significance: Goodis was one of the most foremost crime novelists of the 1950’s, and was at the forefront of the film noir movement in the brief time he lived in Los Angeles. Not  only did he writing screenplays during this time, but many of his novels were also turned into very successful films. Many credit him as one of the driving forces behind Hollywood’s film noir obsession, as most of his mystery novels inspired film noir’s biggest hits.

About the Collection: Paley’s collection of Goodis materials includes copies of quite a few of his books, many articles about him, legal documents pertaining to a lawsuit in his later years, and memorabilia from Philadelphia-hosted conventions NoirCon (held annually in November) and GoodisCon (held in 2007, on the 40th anniversary of Goodis’ death).

The Writer and His Work:

Born: March 2, 1917

Died: January 7, 1967

Educated: Temple University, 1938, journalism degree

Important Works: Black Friday, The Burglar (novel and screenplay), Dark Passage, Down There/Shoot the Piano Player, The Moon in the Gutter, Cassidy’s Girl, The Blonde on the Street Corner

Interesting Bio Fact: The death certificate lists Goodis’s cause of death as a “cerebral vascular accident”, or a stroke. It has never been confirmed, but his death has been attributed to injuries from being beaten while resisting a robbery a few days before

Elsewhere in the Area: NoirCon, a convention that is held yearly in November, also hosts a tour of Goodis’s Philadelphia every year (separate from the convention), visiting the two houses he lived in and his gravesite in Bucks County.

Emily Cross, Temple University