It is with pleasure that the Lilly Library announces the recent acquisition of the papers and manuscripts of author J. Greg Perkins. Dr. Perkins’ generous donation documents the creative processes involved in the making of his monumental work of fiction, the 19-volume series Darkness Before Mourning.
One of the largest works of serious fiction ever created by a single author, the materials were over 40 years in the making and provide a remarkable window into American society, life, families, and personal relationships from the 1950s to the present. Beginning with the first volume in the series, The Announcers, each independent work forms part of a biographical continuum, exploring in profoundly dark semi-fictionalized form the author’s searing experiences. The works are published by Chatwin Books of Seattle Washington.
Born in Kokomo, Indiana, Dr. Perkins is a proud graduate of Indiana University with a B.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry. He was also a postdoctoral Fellow in neurochemistry at the University of Iowa. Perkins has written numerous New Drug Applications (NDAs), Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs) and scientific papers, as well as the co-author of the book, Pharmaceutical Marketing: Principles, Environment, and Practice, 2002.
With over 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Perkins has been a senior executive at Solvay Pharmaceuticals, Hoffman-LaRoche, and Burroughs Wellcome. His many professional accomplishments include elucidating the mechanism of action for Estraest, a widely prescribed female hormone replacement product, and serving as Vice President of Drug Regulatory Affairs for Hoffman-LaRoche Inc. where he was responsible for all regulatory affairs and was the FDA liaison for all Roche U.S. ethical drugs. During this time he helped to introduce Zalcitabine (ddC) for AIDS. Prior to Hoffman-LaRoche, he worked at Burroughs Wellcome as Head of Regulatory Affairs (Consumer Products) where, during the course of his tenure, he was responsible for the design and execution of clinical trials as well as devising and executing a program for the OTC conversion of Actifed and devising regulatory strategies for the approval of AZT for AIDS.
A Faulkner scholar and enthusiast, throughout these years of remarkable professional accomplishments, Dr. Perkins wrote extensively, engaging in what he calls, “writing therapy,” never intending for anyone else to read or witness his works on the page until three years ago, when he began to consider adapting part of the work as a script for a play. It was while working on the script that his work was discovered and subsequently published by Chatwin Books. This unique intersection of an Indiana author, an IU alumni, and a distinguished member of the pharmaceutical world with the Lilly Library, offers exceptional research opportunities for scholars from many disciplines in addition to the interested general public. The materials will be available for use in the Lilly Library Reading Room after the collection has been processed.
Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts