“I’d be doing myself potential harm to say exactly, but it’s all legally acquired and ethically acquired,” Moran said. He adds that literary agent Andrew Wylie, aka the Jackal, has the rights to Updike’s published materials and that Harvard University has Updike’s archive.
Moran says the most controversial items in his collection are the notes on the index cards that Updike wrote down for his yet-to-be-published novel about Saint Paul. Updike died in 2009. The book has been embargoed and won’t come out until 2029, Moran said.
Moran said he’s not trying to make money off his collection. He’s trying to loan it to a museum. Recently, he sent out portfolios to the Smithsonian; museums in Dallas, Houston Pittsburgh and Seattle; the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and “a few art critics and media types.”
Moran also contacted the Harry Ransom Center, the University of Texas archive, library and museum, and was told the center developed its exhibits out of its own collections.
“If I wanted to get paid, I’d put it on eBay or something,” Moran said. He thinks the time is right for museums to show Updike’s memorabilia. He says the public is tiring of abstract art and wants something more concrete. Like Updike’s expense account from The New Yorker for $36 for staying at the Algonquin Hotel.
“The idea of the relic or memorabilia seems to be taking more of a presence,” Moran said.
Paul Moran’s business background doesn’t seem to fit an interest in the great American writer who gave us “Rabbit, Run,” a novel about Harry Angstrom, the former high school basketball star who had a job demonstrating a kitchen gadget called the MagicPeeler and ran away from his wife after she accidentally drowned their baby in the bathtub.