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Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry's literary papers are found in several different repositories and the Wittliff Collections holds a portion of his archives. A small early donation by McMurtry in 1988 has been processed (finding aid posted below.) Since then, McMurtry has donated additional materials, through the efforts of Bill and Sally Wittliff, in 2003, 2006, and 2015. The preliminary archival inventories for these gifts are listed here. Note that access to unprocessed collections is provided on a case by case basis. Contact the archivist to request access via a research appointment.

Larry McMurtry accessions

 
Accession 2003-042A
 

Materials relating to Larry McMurtry; manuscripts, books, magazines, screenplays, galley proofs, and “American Film” magazines where McMurtry was a regular columnist for an extended period; also in “New York” magazine and “Colonial Times” newspaper.  Most of then were then anthologized in the book, Film Flam, published by Simon and Schuster in 1987. The last essay in Film Flam, “A Walk in Pasadena with Di-Annie and Mary Alice”, has not appeared in print before.  The book is dedicated to Diane Keaton and her family, the Halls; the Di-Annie in the title of the essay refers to Diane Keaton and the Mary Alice to her grandmother, Mary Alice hall.

Materials include;
- one Advance Uncorrected Reader’s Proof of Anything for Billy  by Larry McMurtry -New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988. Paperback - some annotation made in black ink referring to the page numbers and on back cover written in black ink “Reviewed 8/23/88 - WDW”. Inscribed as follows: “For Bill -- My version of How a Star is Born”

- Copy of the manuscript (420 typed pages with many handwritten corrections) Anything for Billy by Larry McMurtry as sent to McMurtry’s agent, Irving “Swifty” Lazar, and his editor at Simon and Schuster, Michael Korda.  In a box labeled by Wittliff with the title, author, and date of receipt, March 28, 1988.  Inscribed as follows:
“Bill:  This must be a complete secret -- Lazar would have a brain seizure if he knew I let a copy out & he’s too good an agent to lose”

- Screenplay “Molly, Gid, & Johnny” by David Wright, based on Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry, n.d. 141 pages.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows “This is one of the several scripts Steve Friedman commissioned for the film that became Lovin’ Molly. L. McMurtry”

- Original typescript In A Narrow Grave by Larry McMurtry with handwritten corrections and additions. 1968. 270 pages, signed by McMurtry.  In a specially made leather and marbled-paper box with spine stamped in gold lettering.  

- Original annotated typescript,Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction by Larry McMurtry, an essay that was published in “Harper’s Magazine.”  This essay is in a slightly different form then its original appearance in In a Narrow Grave: Essays on Texas.  Encino Press, Austin, 1968.  Signed by McMurtry. Manuscript is accompanied by original “Harper’s” envelope.

- Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction  galley proofs of an article form “Harper’s Magazine” with editorial suggestions.  Signed by McMurtry, 8 pages.  Accompanied by original “Harper’s” envelope.

- one book jacket cover for Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry

- The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry, bound set of advance uncorrected proofs, 245 pages.  Signed by McMurtry

- Moving On, original manuscript with handwritten correction and additions.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows:  “This is an ur-version of Moving On, written in Houston in 1963-64 while I was on a Guggenheim fellowship -- it was variously titled Love-Breakers, The Water and the Blood, The Country of the Horn.  LMc.  12 Feb 1986”.   574 typed pages.

- Letter to McMurtry from Dorothea Oppenheimer (his literary agent) with criticisms of Love Breaking (became Moving On).  Dated June 26, 1964.  3 typed pages.

- Letter to McMurtry from Dorothea Oppenheimer with more comments about Love Breaking.  January 14, 1965.  One typed page.

-  All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers - screenplay by Larry McMurtry based on his novel of the same name. Second draft, dated November 17, 1973.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: Fragment of revised draft.  LM”.  71 typed pages.

- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  Advance uncorrected proofs.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1985.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “For Bill Wittliff.  A long one.  LM”.  Lonesome Dove won the 1986 Pulitzer Prize.

- Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry.  Fragment of a typescript, n.d. 62 typed pages.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “A fragment of Draft #1, since destroyed -- LMc”

- Somebody’s Darling by Larry McMurtry. Simon and Schuster, New York, 1978.  Bound set of advance uncorrected proofs.  279 pages. Signed by McMurtry.

- Texasville by Larry McMurtry.  Advance uncorrected reader’s proof.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1987. Signed by McMurtry.

- “School Song” - a screenplay written by Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich. First draft dated June 10, 1970.  McMurtry and Bogdanovich received an Academy Award nomination for this screenplay.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows:  “This is a titled I came up with for The Last Picture Show that Columbia would not be persuaded to use.  L. McMurtry” 154 pages with handwritten additions and corrections by both McMurtry and bogdanovich.

- Step sheet for a screenplay titled The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry.  Original typescript with handwritten corrections and additions, n.d. Signed by McMurtry.  11 pages.

- Complete set of galleys for The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry.  The Dial Press, New York, 1966.  Signed by McMurtry

- Advertising aid for The Last Picture Show.  Clip Book from the Columbia Pictures film directed by Peter Boganovich and featuring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ellen Burstyn, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, and Cybill Shepherd.  Copyright 1971, Columbia Pictures Industries.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “Press Book for the famous black & white movie L. McMurtry”

- “Colonial Times” Metropolitan Washington’s New Community Newspaper.  December 21-January 12, 1972, Volume 1, Number 4.  Feature by Larry McMurtry titled “The Last Picture Show: A Last Word” on page 1.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “L. McMurtry (Marcia’s sister was the publisher)”

- 8x10 b/w photo of Larry McMurtry in cord jacket leaning up against railing, signed by McMurtry.

- The Streets of Laredo - A scenario by Larry McMurtry and Peter Bogdanovich.  Original typescript.  Inscribed my McMurtry as follows:
“This is the frist draft, done with Peter Bogdanovich, for John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda, in 1972 -- it became the novel Lonesome Dove -- L. McMurtry”.  286 typed pages with handwritten corrections and additions.  located on display in the SWWC room 10/2/2003

Backlog items:
- A Part of Space: Ten Texas Writers , signed by Larry McMurtry
- Frontier Literature, includes an excerpt from Larry McMurtry’s Take a Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction on page 185 along with his signature.
- In A Narrow Grave by Larry McMurtry, The Encino Press, Austin, 1968.  This is the infamous “skyscraper” (see page 105) hardbound edition, no dust jacket.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is the supra-legendary real first edition.  L. McMurtry”
- In A Narrow Grave by Larry McMurtry, A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1971.  First paperback edition.  Signed by McMurtry.
- The Literature of the American West, includes an excerpt from Larry McMurtry’s Take a Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction on page 550.
- “Southwest Review”, Spring 1961.  Includes Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.  This story was excerpted from Horseman, Pass By before the novel was published. Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “For Bill This -- apart from college magazines, was my first published fiction.  L. McMurtry”
- Prose That Works edited by Suzanne S. Webb, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1982, paperback.  Includes “Dallas” by Larry McMurtry on pp. 195-198, inscribed by McMurtry.
- Things in the Driver’s Seat: Readings In Popular Culture edited by Harry Russell Huebel. Rand McNally & Company, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, London, 1973, paperback.  Includes “Here’s HUD in Your Eye” by Larry McMurtry on pp. 191-202, inscribed by McMurtry
- The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1983, first edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “For the Wittliffs -- The result of 2 days in Las Vagas.  L.”  Accompanied by a label hand-addressed by McMurtry to the Wittliffs form his bookstore, Book Up, in Washington, D.C.
- The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry.  A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1985.  First edition.  Includes a new preface by the author.  Paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- The Desert Rose by Larry McMurtry.  A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1987.  First edition, paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.  Harper & Brothers, New York, 1961.  First edition of McMurtry’s first book.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry on the end paper.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is about the sixth draft -- I revised the book to death.  L. McMurtry”
- Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.  Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 1985.  Reprint.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Horseman, Pass By by Larry McMurtry.  Penguin Books, 1987.  Paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry.  Harper & Row , Publishers, New York, Evanston, and London, 1963.  First edition.  Hardbound dust jacket.  First inscribed by McMurtry thus: “For Bill Wittliff with very best wishes.  Larry McMurtry”.  Later inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This as I always say is the book the romantics love.”  L. McMurtry.
- Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry.  Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 1986.  Reprint.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Leaving Cheyenne by Larry McMurtry.  Penguin Books, 1987.  Paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- “New River”, No. 1, no date.  Published by The Texas Bookman to promote young and promising literary talent.  Includes “Chili With Beans” by Larry McMurtry (a story excerpted from The Country of the Horn which became Moving On by McMurtry).  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is I believe the only issue -- This is from Moving One. LMc”
- Moving On by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1978.  First printing.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry thus:  “For Sally and Bill with love Larry McMurtry”.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows:  “My very largest novel L. Murtry”
- Moving On by Larry McMurtry.  A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, Inc., New York, 1986.  Signed by McMurtry.
- All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1972.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is my favorite of my earlier books.  L. McMurtry”.
- All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers by Larry McMurtry.  Afterword by Raymond L. Neinstein.  University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1984.  Third printing.  Paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1985.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This was the crowd-pleaser, Pulitzer pleaser -- L. McMurtry”
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster Pocketbooks, New York, 1986.  First printing.  Paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1975.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is the book I remember most painfully as I wrote it in Europe on an Italian typewriter.  Larry McMurtry”
- Terms of Endearment by Larry McMurtry. A Signet Book, New American Library, Times Mirror, 1976.  Paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- Somebody’s Darling by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1978.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows:  “I’ve never really liked the book but Diane Keaton likes it and who would dispute her? L. McMurtry”
- Somebody’s Darling by Larry McMurtry.  A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1987.  First printing.  Paperback, signed by McMurtry.
- Texasville by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1987. First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows:  “The true 1st  -- a grim vision (?).”
- “Playboy” magazine dated May 1987.  Includes excerpt from Texasville by Larry McMurtry on page 83.  Illustrated by Bruce Wolfe.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “I do like this painting.  L. McMurtry”
- The Last Picture Show  by Larry McMurtry.  Penguin Books Contemporary American Fiction Series, New York, 1987.   Paperback. Signed by McMurtry.
- The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry.  The Dial Press, New York, 1966.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is the one made into the movie most likely to be colorized.”
- The Last Picture Show by Larry McMurtry.  The Dial Press, New York, 1966.  Book club edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “Doubleday Book Club edition L. McMurtry”
- Texas Quarterly, winter 1964, vol. VII, No. 4.  Includes “There Will Be Peace in Korea” by Larry McMurtry on pp. 166-170.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “This is what became The Last Picture Show.  L. Murtry”.
- Film Flam by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York,1987.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  This book is primarily a compilation of the preceding film reviews from “American Film”, “New York”, and “Colonial Times”. Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “The casual mutterings of my youth.  L. McMurtry”
- Cadillac Jack by Larry McMurtry.  Simon and Schuster, New York, 1978.  First edition.  Hardbound, dust jacket.  Signed by McMurtry on the title page.  Further inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “My little tribute to the scouting world.  Larry McMurtry”
- Cadillac Jack by Larry McMurtry. A Touchstone Book published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 1987.  First printing, paperback.  Signed by McMurtry.
- New York  magazine, April 29, 1974. Vol. 7, No. 17.  Features article by Larry McMurtry titled “Approaching Cheyenne ... Leaving Lumet.  Oh, Pshaw!” on page 64.  Inscribed by McMurtry as follows: “Then became a cheap book called Wring (?) -- Then merely became a bee in Mr. Lumet’s bonnet. L. McMurtry”


Accession 2006-020

One annotated complete typed manuscript by Larry McMurtry, titled Texasville (a sequel to The Last Pictureshow) - first draft.


Accession 2015-036

BOX 1883 (1 of 1)
Box/Folder
1883/15: “Booked Up” Bumper Sticker
1883/16: Copy of “The Larry McMurtry Collection of H. G. Wells” from Heritage Rare Books Auction

Located on the Framed Art Case, Shelf 12:
18.5” x 22.5” Framed Bookcover of Goodbye to a River by John Graves


FINDING AID TO PROCESSED MCMURTRY COLLECTION

A Guide to the Larry McMurtry Collection, 1968, 1987-1991, n.d.

Collection 014
4 folders (.25 linear feet)
 
 
 
 
Acquisition:  Gift donated by Larry McMurtry, 1988.
Access:  Direct inquiries to Archivist, Southwestern Writers Collection, Albert B. Alkek Library, 601 University Drive, San Marcos, Texas 78666-4604.  (512) 245-2313.
Processed by: Amanda Oates, 1999; Inventory revised by Brandy Harris, 2005.
 
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
Novelist, essayist, and screenwriter Larry McMurtry was born June 3, 1936 in Wichita Falls, Texas. He grew up on a ranch just outside of Archer City and graduated from Archer City High School in 1954. He attended North Texas State University (B.A. 1958), then Rice University (1954, 1958-60, M.A. 1960), and studied for one semester outside of Texas at Stanford University as a Stegner Fellow (1960-61). McMurtry published his first novels while working as an English instructor at Texas Christian University (1961-62), Rice University (1963-65), George Mason College (1970), and American University, (1970-71). In 1962, he won the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse M. Jones award, and in 1964, he won a Guggenheim grant. In 1970, he bought a rare-book store in Washington D.C.'s Georgetown neighborhood, named it Booked Up, and relocated to run the store.  A second Booked Up was opened in Archer City, Texas, in 1988.
 
His first seven novels were all set in Texas, some in the country, some in urban settings. The first three were made into movies. Despite the critical and popular success of “Hud” (Horseman Pass By) and “The Last Picture Show,” for which McMurtry wrote the Academy award winning screenplay (1972), he perceived a lack of appropriate recognition for his work in general. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he wore a t-shirt which read “Minor Regional Novelist,” to help make this point.
 
McMurtry’s urban trilogy, set in contemporary Houston, Moving On (1970), All My Friends Are Going to Be Strangers (1972), and Terms of Endearment (1975), all deal with love and marriage, and are examples of McMurtry's ability to consistently create a strong sense of place, characters, and dialogue. Terms of Endearment would later be translated into Finnish, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish, and made into a very popular movie by the same name (1983), starring Jack Nicholson, Shirley MacLaine, John Hurt, and Debra Winger.
 
Following this trilogy, McMurtry looked outside of Texas for settings: Somebody’s Darling (1978) set in Hollywood, California, Cadillac Jack (1982) set in Washington D.C., and The Desert Rose (1983) set in Las Vegas. These novels involve characters seeking meaning in urban life and were not as critically or commercially successful as McMurtry’s novels set in Texas.
 
In 1985, McMurtry published Lonesome Dove, the story of two ex-Texas Rangers who take on a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. This novel won McMurtry a Pulitzer Prize, as well as widespread critical and commercial success. The novel was brought to the small screen in 1989, in a very popular television mini-series of the same name, making McMurtry even more of a household name.
 
Since writing Lonesome Dove, McMurtry has continued to write novels set in both contemporary and historical Texas with characters grappling with old and new lifestyles and values. These novels have been commercially successful, although not to the same degree as Lonesome Dove. McMurtry announced that he would retire from novel writing with the 1999 novel Duane’s Depressed, however he has remained active as a writer, publishing a biography on Crazy Horse and an autobiographical reminiscence, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, in the same year.
 
SCOPE AND CONTENTS
The bulk of this collection is comprised of the original typescript for McMurtry's essay, "Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen,” which includes handwritten corrections by the author (ca. 1984-1985).  Correspondence includes one 1968 letter to McMurtry from Harper's magazine returning his manuscript, "Take My Saddle from the Wall: A Valediction,” a letter from McMurtry to Bill Wittliff, and two to former Southwestern Writers Collection Curator, Dick Holland. These letters date from 1987-1991 and relate to the acquisition of this collection.
 
Books, including many foreign language editions of McMurtry's novels, have been cataloged separately. Additional items relating to Larry McMurtry housed at the Southwestern Writers Collection include the Lonesome Dove Television Miniseries Archives.  This collection includes a typescript of McMurtry's 1972 screenplay, "Streets of Laredo," which later became the basis for his novel Lonesome Dove. Also present in the Collection is a 12"x 30" oil painting by Shannon Stirnweis that served as cover art for the novel Lonesome Dove, and an acrylic painting by Bruce Wolfe for McMurtry's novel Texasville. Bill Wittliff's collection includes photographs of McMurtry and broadsides for McMurtry's In a Narrow Grave, (published by Wittliff's Encino Press.)
Additional McMurtry material can be found at the University of Texas, Permian Basin, and at the University of North Texas at Denton.