Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 July 2019
James Baldwin wrote in longhand. With a pen. On paper. These technologies sustained Baldwin’s voice, life, and legacies. His secretary and biographer David Leeming recalls meeting Baldwin in 1961 at the precise moment he finished his third novel: “[I] found the author sitting at a kitchen counter writing furiously on a yellow pad … I looked over his shoulder as he scribbled the last line of … Another Country.” As a professional writer, Baldwin certainly utilized a typewriter regularly. Beyond photographs where Baldwin can be seen perched behind the machine, posing perhaps more than composing, Leeming’s biography tells of a new typewriter purchased in 1987 “for the use of a hired typist,” and of how Baldwin “took the trouble to type” one of his last journal entries on this machine.