Skip to main content

Handwritten Fragments of the Realms, Amazing Phenomena Connected with the Enormous Battle of Dolorine Costellio

 File — Box: 24, Folder: 1
Identifier: Sub-Series B

Scope and Contents

From the Series:

The series consists of what is recognized to be Darger’s complete manuscripts. The manuscripts are both handwritten and in typescript. The series contains Darger’s epic, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnean War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion a tale of seven little girls—the Vivian Girls—who set out to rescue abducted children who have been enslaved by the adult Glandelinians, and led by the character General John Manley. The heroes in this tale are children, who usually appear unclothed and are of mixed gender. The villains typically are adults. The manuscript is a story of war and peace, of good versus evil, and loosely parallels many of the events of the American Civil War.

Other works include a handwritten manuscript later typed into In the Realms of the Unreal; a planning journal from In the Realms of the Unreal; and two voluminous works following In the Realms of the Unreal, titled Further Adventures in Chicago: Crazy House, which follows the Vivian Girls in an investigation of murder set forth by evil ghosts. The Vivian Girls, with their brother and companion Penrod, battle demons that inhabit inanimate objects inside a Chicago house and murder the children who enter. The manuscripts also include a work titled The The History of My Life, detailing Darger’s early life, eventually evolving into a fiction about a tornado called Sweetie Pie.

The suggested order of the manuscripts is detailed in the catalogue raisonné “The Writings of Henry J. Darger” (see Henry Darger: In the Realms of the Unreal, by John M. MacGregor, New York: Delano Greenridge Editions, 2002). Several volumes either lack a title page or volume number. Various numbering systems are evident throughout the works. Manuscripts that are bound vary in construction, from sewn bindings up to six inches deep, to assembled collections of notepads bound by string, tape, and other materials. Some manuscript covers are covered with floral patterned paper and titled with gold paint. Unbound manuscripts are foldered in order as defined in the catalogue raisonné.

The majority of the manuscripts are brittle. Many pages are written and/or typed on highly acidic paper; most are in fragile condition. Throughout the collection, Darger used the backside of paper sheets and paper leaves created from two sheets of typing paper pasted together. He also used assorted flyers and notebooks—presumably pulled from the trash—which occasionally contain information and/or text written by unidentified individuals.

The manuscripts are arranged chronologically, as defined by the American Folk Art Museum at the time the material was donated to the Museum Archives.


  • undated


From the Series: 41 linear feet (45 containers; boxes 1-45)

Language of Materials



Repository Details

Part of the American Folk Art Museum Archives Repository

47-29 32nd Place
Long Island City New York 11101 United States
(212) 595-9533