Creator: Woolmer, J. Howard
Title: Woolmer Collection of Cormac McCarthy
Abstract: The Woolmer Collection of Cormac McCarthy spans 1969-2006 and
documents the professional and personal friendship between the book
collector and McCarthy. The collection is arranged in four series:
Correspondence, Writings by McCarthy, Writings about McCarthy, and
Woolmer’s Bibliography Files.
Identification: Collection 092
Extent: 5 boxes (2.5 linear feet)
Book collector and bibliographer, J. Howard Woolmer, wrote to Cormac McCarthy praising both Outer Dark (1968) and McCarthy’s first novel, The Orchard Keeper (1965) after reading Robert Coles’ review of Outer Dark published in the March 22, 1969 issue of The New Yorker. In his July 29, 1969 letter, Woolmer states his intent to begin collecting all of McCarthy’s work and asks if the author would be willing to sign copies of his books. In his August 16 reply, McCarthy agrees. These letters mark the first of over 120 sent between the two men from 1969 to 2006.
By 1969, Woolmer had been in the book selling business for almost ten years. Operating out of the literary Mecca of New York City, he issued his first catalogue in 1961. His early catalogues were of modern first editions and on the works of literary giants such as James Joyce. Woolmer soon began issuing catalogues based on single subjects; the first on the Imagist Poets (1966) and then, in 1969, on the novelist Malcolm Lowry, author of Under the Volcano. He has since published a bibliography on Malcolm Lowry; A Checklist of the Hogarth Press; and a bibliography of the Leonard L. Milberg Irish Theatre Collection.
In a 2007 interview, Woolmer stated that he had initially moved away from modern firsts because “I didn’t get enough of a kick from the books of contemporary writers.” However, with Cormac McCarthy he had discovered an exception, and over the next thirty years he amassed a remarkable collection of signed first editions, advance proofs, and foreign imprints of McCarthy’s books. The Wittliff Collections purchased these books in 2006 along with the collection of letters between McCarthy and Woolmer.
Scope and Content Note
The Woolmer Collection of Cormac McCarthy spans 1969-2006 and documents the professional and personal friendship between the book collector and McCarthy. The collection is arranged in four series: Correspondence, Writings by McCarthy, Writings about McCarthy, and Woolmer’s Bibliography Files.
Series I: Correspondence, 1996-2006 (box 1), contains 120 letters between McCarthy and Woolmer. The letters are arranged chronologically. The majority of the letters discuss McCarthy’s writing, but other topics include recommendations of books to read, reviews of McCarthy’s work, and the book collecting world. More detailed descriptions of each letter are found in the container list beginning on page 5.
Series II: Writings by McCarthy, 1982-1994 (boxes 1-4), includes photocopies of drafts of Blood Meridian, The Crossing, Cities of the Plain, The Road, The Stonemason, and The Gardener’s Son. The works are arranged into following subseries: Novels, Plays, and Screenplays.
Series III: Writings about McCarthy, 1974-2006 (boxes 4-5), comprises reviews and articles about McCarthy from Esquire, The New Yorker, Southern Literary Journal, Texas Monthly, and other publications. The writings are arranged alphabetically by author. Also included are a number off clippings files about McCarthy and a small collection of ephemera such as publishers catalogs, flyers, and press packets.
Series IV: J. Howard Woolmer bibliography files, 1986-2006, (box 5), consists of Woolmer’s files and notes on a possible bibliography on McCarthy. Of note are Woolmer’s correspondence files regarding collecting McCarthy.
Woolmer Collection of Cormac McCarthy, Southwestern Writers Collection, Texas State University-San Marcos
Purchased in 2006.
Processed by Katie Salzmann, 2007.
Notes to Researchers
Books in the Woolmer Collection have been cataloged and the records are searchable through the Alkek Library online catalog, http://catalog.library.txstate.edu/.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series I: Correspondence, 1969-2006.
1 1 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 29, 1969. Carbon, 1 p.
Praising Outer Dark and asking if McCarthy will inscribe books.
1 1 McCarthy to Woolmer. August 16, 1969. TLS, 1 p, with a holograph addition.
“Thank you for your very kind letter…” Mentions stories in Yale
Review and Sewanee Review. “I don’t write short stories…I won’t have
another book finished for a couple of years.” He will inscribe the books.
1 1 Woolmer to McCarthy. August 20, 1969. Carbon, 1p.
Asking about foreign editions, and promising a complimentary
subscription to Works, a magazine that Woolmer had a hand in publishing.
1 1 Woolmer to McCarthy. September 9, 1969. Carbon, 1 p.
Thanking for inscribed books.
1 1 McCarthy to Woolmer. February 17, 1970. TLS, 1 page.
“Thank you for the letter and note…I have an artist friend who wants to do an illustrated edition of my forthcoming book [Child of God] but it remains to be seen whether the publisher will take to the idea.” Supplies the names of publishers of foreign editions of his books. Thanks Woolmer for Works: “I was really amazed at the quality of material they’re publishing. Most literary quarterlies these days are pretty grim. I particularly liked Lyn Lifshin’s poems. And Paul Blackburn’s Bertran de Born.”
1 1 McCarthy to Woolmer. January 21, 1972. TLS, 1 p.
“Thank you for the book of poems…This girl is very good. I particularly liked ‘You who rejoice in Symmetry’, but of the ones I have had a chance to read there are none bad…”
1 1 Woolmer to McCarthy. April 28, 1973. Carbon, 1 p.
Inquiring about purchasing manuscripts, corrected galleys, etc. of The Orchard Keeper and Outer Dark.
1 1 McCarthy to Woolmer. June 28, 1973. TLS., 1 p.
“Sorry to be so long in answering your letter. The new book [Child of God] is on the fall lists and will be out, I am told, in December. It is not the longer book that I was writing, but a shorter one which intruded itself in the middle of writing the other one.” Replies to Woolmer’s inquiry about buying manuscripts saying he has all the “stuff” and would consider an offer if Woolmer tendered one.
1 1 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 23, 1973. Carbon, 1 p.
Asking for an inventory of manuscripts in order to make an offer.
Correspondence - continued
1 2 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 22, 1974. Carbon, 1 p.
Praising Child of God. Includes duplicates of newspaper clippings enclosed with the letter.
1 2 McCarthy to Woolmer. March 12, 1974. TLS, 1 p.
“Thanks for you letter and the comments on the book…” Sends new address in Tucson and agrees to sign books. Hasn’t had a chance to go through his manuscripts.
1 2 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 15, 1973. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending Child of God for signature. Mentions the possibility of McCarthy’s papers going to a university library.
1 2 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 15, 1976. Carbon, 1 p.
Mentioning PBS advertisement in NY Times for The Gardeners Son.
Requests a copy of the script. [Copy of NY Times ad included.]
1 2 McCarthy to Woolmer. December 13, 1976. ALS, 2 pp.
“Thanks for your letter. Sorry you’ve been looking for my book without
success…” Is going to have a copy of the typescript of The Gardner’s Son made for Woolmer and would like a copy of The Michael Fraenkel - Henry Miller Correspondence, Called Hamlet in return.
1 2 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 7, 1977. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending the Miller-Fraenkel book; discussing the reviews of The Gardener’s Son; and asking about early works in preparation for a possible bibliography [as yet unpublished]. Corresponding New York Times advertisement for the PBS Visions series, and a November / December 1976 issue of Coda: Poets and Writers Newsletter with mention of the series on p. 9.
1 2 McCarthy to Woolmer. January 26, 1977. ALS, 1 p.
“Thank you for the book. It is very exotic looking. This was the only one of Millers books I didnt have and I’ve been looking forward to reading it for years…” Mentions his early publications: “I’m afraid theres not much research to do in the way of bibliography. Think I published a story once in a college rag…When I started writing novels I stopped writing anything else. Never wrote no poetry.” Ends with “I’m in Tucson working on my ‘western’ [Blood Meridian] Long book supposed to be out this year but maybe not.”
1 3 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 9, 1979. Carbon, 1 p.
Thanking him for typescript and asking to have it signed. Suggests Woolmer/Brotherson publish a limited signed edition of “Burial” [previously published in Antaeus].
Correspondence - continued
1 3 McCarthy to Woolmer. February 2, 1979. ALS, 1 p.
“Thank you for the note. Letter, I guess…” Mentions he did not know that Antaeus had published an excerpt from Suttree. “I dont like to find my name in little magazines, but the idea of a limited edition sounds interesting. I’m working on a western [Blood Meridian] – based loosely on historical events in Mexico in 1849 – illustrated with about 2 dozen period prints – woodcuts mostly. The book is essentially finished (300 pp) but needs to be completely rewritten…”
1 3 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 10, 1979. Carbon, 1 p.
Regarding Suttree, which he does not like as much as McCarthy’s other works, but feels it is still “miles ahead of anything being written by any other writer.” Asks if McCarthy uses a typewriter; discusses possibility of publishing McCarthy’s “western.”
1 3 McCarthy to Woolmer. Undated, , envelope lacking. ALS, 1 p.
“Thank you for your letter and here’s your book…” Robert Coles sent him proofs of a review to appear in the New Yorker. Mentions another review: “I suppose by now you may have seen the thing in Esquire, I enjoyed the cartoon. Thought it showed a wit and discernment the reviewer [Geoffrey Wolff] could have used. Also the cartoonist managed to get all the words spelled right.” Answers Woolmer’s question about his writing process: “I normally use a typewriter (you asked) and I think you can see why.” Mentions that Random House has publishing rights for “the western” but that maybe Woolmer can publish an excerpt.
1 3 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 18, 1979. Carbon, 1 p.
Providing details of publishing history.
1 3 McCarthy to Woolmer. May 1979. ALS, 2 pp.
“Thank you very much for the Levertov. It is very handsome…” mentions Kosinki’s book in passing, agrees that Esquire has fallen on hard times, he’s seen a number of reviews, some of them nice ones. Mentions that his editor is Albert Erskine and that Woolmer should contact him about publishing the excerpt.
1 3 Woolmer to McCarthy. June 22, 1979. Carbon, 1 p.
Regarding publishing an excerpt of Blood Meridian.
1 3 McCarthy to Woolmer. October 16, 1979. ALS, 1 p.
“What are you doing? Did you ever hear from Albert about the limited signed edition…?”
1 3 Woolmer to McCarthy. October 31, 1979. Carbon, 1 p.
Regarding cancelled trip to Vanderbilt and response received from Albert Erskine.
Correspondence - continued
1 3 McCarthy to Woolmer. November 5, 1979. TLS, 1 p.
“Sorry you didnt get down to Nashville, would have enjoyed seeing you…” Discusses Random House, “Albert is semi-retired and probably considered some sort of relic of bygone years by the functional illiterates now in command…” Also, “a short section of the western is to appear – I am told – in the next issue of Triquarterly. The issue being devoted to the literature of the West. I’m branching out.”
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 5, 1980. Carbon, 1 p.
Informing him that Robert Penn Warren considers McCarthy a “most talented writer.” Recommends the film Wise Blood.
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. April 1, 1980. TLS, 1 p.
“Thank you for your very nice letter…” Mentions that Robert Penn Warren and he share the same editor at Random House [Erskine]. “Interesting that he [Warren] liked Child of God. Some people think it a most peculiar book, but lately it has been receiving a sort of belated enthusiasm in the form of reviews and theses and such.” Mentions that Wise Blood actors Brad Dourif and Ned Beatty were also both in The Gardner’s Son.
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 19, 1980. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending May 2, 1980 TLS review of Suttree [review included].
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. August 12, 1980. ALS, 2 pp.
“Thanks for the clipping. You were right, I probably would not have seen it…I’m getting ready to head west for the final push on my novel [Blood Meridian]. Hope to get it done by the end of the year.” Erskine and Random House are very negative about a limited edition. “I don’t have an agent anymore and am in a sort of limbo…” All of his books except for the most recent are out of print; inquires if Woolmer knows of a paperback house that might be interested.
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 18, 1980. Carbon, 1 p.
Received Triquarterly. “The Scalphunters” is powerful, but confused about characters. Comments on the stuffing genitals into victim’s mouths. Mentions reading John Yount.
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. January 27, 1981. ALS, 2 pp.
“Thanks for your letter, it is always nice to hear from you…The characters in the story [Blood Meridian] are a bunch of American adventurers in Chihuahua in 1849 who have contracted to supply scalps to the government…” Mentions John Yount’s The Trapper’s Last Shot. Also mentions getting “a little windfall from a foundation [MacArthur] so expect to stay in business a while longer.” Might go to Europe.
Correspondence - continued
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. February 23, 1981. Carbon, 1 p.
Suggests getting together if McCarthy comes out East.
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. June 22, 1981. ALS, 4 pp. (1 sheet folded in half).
“I’m looking for a book for a friend of mine and thought maybe you could help me…” Forty-Four Years of the Life of a Hunter by Meschach [sic] Browning. “The western proceeds apace – not a blistering pace, I suppose, but it goes.” Describes getting caught in the middle of a gunfight between police and criminals in Knoxville, “A news lady rushed up to me with a microphone and a tape recorder and asked me what was going on. I told her I had no idea, but it certainly seemed like the good old days for a few minutes.”
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 3, 1981. Carbon, 1 p.
Promising to look for the Browning book. Asks if McCarthy couldn’t use
a good agent.
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. July 15, 1981. ALS, 4 pp. (1 sheet folded in half).
“Thanks for the letter. Yes, the Meschach [sic] Browning book is what I need…” States his literary affairs are “a long and tiresome tale at best…. My agent for several years was Candida Donadio...she expressed her satisfaction at representing me personally and negotiated the contract for the book with which I am now occupied. That was the last I ever heard of her…I wrote and told her I’d like to make official what already existed in fact and we amicably parted…After this I wrote some other agents who’d been recommended to me by a friend but the one or two who wrote back seemed less than jubilant about the prospects of representing me. So Random House is now my agent…”
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. October 6, 1981. Carbon, 1 p.
Has asked John Malcolm Brinnin [Gertrude Stein and Dylan Thomas biographer] about agents and his is Dorothy Olding of the Harold Ober Associates, Inc. Waiting for “the western” to come out; is buying up copies of Orchard Keeper to hand out to friends.
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. October 28, 1981. ALS, 1 p.
“Good to hear from you. Thank you for your inquiries on my behalf…” Planning a trip to New York at beginning of new year. Random House has sold the paperback rights to his early books to the Ecco Press.
1 4 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 23, 1981. Carbon. 1 p.
Congratulations on receiving the MacArthur grant. Wall Street Journal clipping about the grant from November 19, 1981 included.
Correspondence - continued
1 4 McCarthy to Woolmer. December 9, 1981. ALS, 1 p.
“Thank you for the letter and the good wishes…The MacArthur people just call you up and ask where to send the checks. It was something of a shock...My creditors seem much gratified…I am still struggling with my mss, but it goes ok…”
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 4, 1983. Carbon, 1 p.
Recommending agent Peter Shepherd who handles Muriel Spark in the U.S. and suggests McCarthy contact him.
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. May 24, 1983. ALS, 1 p.
“Thanks for the letter. Please dont apologize for trying to find readers for my books…In the same mail came a letter from Peter Shepherd asking that I call him – which I’ve done…”
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 28, 1983. Carbon, 1 p.
Gave copy of Orchard Keeper to neighbor who is reading it for a second time. Sending photo for inscription.
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. Undated . ALS on Hausman’s laundry ticket, NYC.
“Here’s your photo…” [Photo not included].
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. June 20, 1983. Carbon, 1 p.
Thanks for signing the photograph.
1 5 Woolmer to Albert Erskine, Jr. June 25, 1983. Carbon, 1 p.
Asking for publication information on all of the printings of McCarthy’s books.
1 5 Lane, Sharon [Random House] to Woolmer. July 25, 1983. TLS, 1 p.
Sending some publication information on McCarthy books.
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 29, 1984. Carbon, 1 p.
Asking when western will be published; inquires about status of agent search
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. December 10, 1984. ALS, 1 p.
“Thanks for your letter, ‘twas good to hear from you… the western - entitled Blood Meridian or The Evening of Redness In the West is set and proofread and will appear – I am told – in March…” More about his search for an agent; Ecco Press has brought out his early books.
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 16, 1984. Carbon, 1 p.
Glad Blood Meridian is coming out; offers $100 to buy Xerox copy McCarthy had sent to Peter Shepherd [copy in box 1 folders 10 & 11].
Correspondence - continued
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. February 1, 1985. Carbon, 1 p.
Received the Xerox copy from Peter Shepherd; surprised at Shepherd’s lack of response to McCarthy. Praises Blood Meridian; asks if McCarthy actually traveled the country described. Endorsed/canceled check to McCarthy included, as is a Spring 1985 advertisement for Random House.
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. Undated . ALS, 1 p., envelope lacking.
“Glad that you got the Xerox…” and refunds $50.00. “To answer your question, I spent several years in the country described. I’ve taken the train to Mochos a couple of times and it is a great trip…”
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. February 16, 1985. Carbon, 1 p.
Received his copy of Blood Meridian; likes the Dali painting. Will send copy for inscription if McCarthy agrees.
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. March 12, 1985. ALS, 1 p.
“By all means send the book and I will be happy to scribble in it and return it…Saw a nice review in USA Today (national newspaper) this past week-end but nothing other. Book in a few stores friends tell me…”
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 18, 1985. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending copy of Blood Meridian for signature; discusses reviews and mentions meeting Dali once.
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 2, 1985. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending Xerox of Times review. Mentions meeting Albert Erskine at a
fugitive poets exhibit at The University of Virginia. Newspaper clipping from April 28, 1985 Times included.
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. June 28, 1985. ALS, 2 p.
“Thank you very much for sending the Southern Literary Journal. Discusses Erskine. “Mostly these days I’m trying to get a film script produced into a film. The MacArthur largess expires in a little over a year and I’ve gotten used to eating regularly and dont know what will happen when the money stops. Other than that I have 2 or 3 novels that I have notes and a few sections for but I dont know which one to hone in on. Probably the most difficult one…”
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. October 16, 1985. ALS, 1 p.
“Thanks for sending the review (Images of the Southern Writer)…” Just back from a week-long rafting/hiking trip in Big Bend. “I’m working on a couple of stories in filmscript form. Very good form for conserving the word…”
Correspondence - continued
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. November 4, 1985. ALS, 1 p.
“My good friend and attorney here - Bobby Perel - has an opportunity to buy an original set of Curtis’s Indian photographs…” Asks if Woolmer knows what they might be worth. McCarthy’s brother and wife visited and they went rafting down the Rio Grande “Very beautiful country. It rained in the night and the river came up 5 feet and we brought out refugees with us…”
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 20, 1985. Photocopy with holograph addition, 1p.
Curtis’ The North American Indian valued at about $50,000. Advises about what attorney should look for; offers to help auction it.
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 23, 1985. Carbon, 1 p.
Follow-up on Curtis book. Recent auction at only $22,000 but not a fine set.
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 17, 1985. Carbon, 1 p.
1 5 McCarthy to Woolmer. December 17, 1985. ALS, 2 pp.
“Ecco sent me about a half dozen of these [advance cover for paperback Blood Meridian] and I was just [martialing] all forces for a note to you I should I would send you one…” The Curtis book “has escaped.” Asks what book Woolmer is working on. Included: advance cover inscribed “Guaranteed to be the first autographed copy. All the best, Cormac.”
1 5 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 24, 1985. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanks for Blood Meridian cover. Working on checklist of Leonard and
Virginia Woolf’s Hogarth Press.
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. February 25, 1986. ALS, 2 pp.
“Thank you very much for the book [Bibliography of Malcolm Lowry]. I think is quite elegant and I’ve enjoyed looking through it. I think Under the Volcano is an amazing book and Lowry a genuinely tragic figure…” Discusses Malcolm Lowry and Albert Erskine’s relationship with him. “Thank you also for the excerpt from Rubin’s book on Southern literature…I see these excerpts come from pages as advanced as #581. How long does this tome continue? I didnt know there was that much Southern Literature…” Mentions he is back from New Orleans where friend has been filming a movie with Richard Gere.
1 6 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 19, 1986. Carbon, 1 p.
Sorry he missed McCarthy’s phone call; Asks about status of Curtis book.
Correspondence - continued
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. June 3, 1986. ALS, 1 p.
“Sorry I missed you on the telephone. Perel was stirring about the Curtis
again, but it has subsided again since…Random House sends the proof cover of their paperback issue of Suttree – due out in October. A ‘Vintage Contemporary’ the jacket says. Do you love it? Gallimard has bought the rights to Blood Meridian.” He’s written a play.
1 6 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 15, 1986. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending a “have-list” of his CMcC collection [not included]; offers to
buy anything McCarthy has that’s not on the list.
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. July 15, 1986. ALS, 1 p.
“Aint you a good chap to send the play? I thought it quite good…” Mentions that his agent has banned him for showing anyone a copy of his new play “Something to do with his strategy…”
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. August 27, 1986. ALS, 3 pp. (2 sheets)
“Thanks for the correspondence – The Writer’s Choice is something I would not have seen otherwise. Tobias Wolff is a very agreeable chap…I was pleased to see I remain in his good graces…” Lists McCarthy editions that Woolmer might not have in his. “My translator was here a few weeks ago. Charming gentleman who loved the desert and kept crying out ‘formidéble!’ at everything…I’m working on a whale story. May go to Argentina in the fall with a biologist friend who studies them…” Asks whom else Woolmer collects. Mentions Michael Ondaatje and Guy Davenport.
1 6 Woolmer to McCarthy. October 29, 1986. Photocopy, 1 p.
Trying to get French translations. Discusses book collecting (Yount,
Gilbert White Graham Swift) and bibliography writing.
1 6 Woolmer to Robert Penn Warren. November 3, 1986. TLS, 1 p. with Warren’s
Inquiring about McCarthy excerpt in text book. Warren’s response
indicates that he did not publish an excerpt in Understanding Fiction, but there might be a reference to McCarthy.
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. November 5, 1986. Postcard.
“This, as the card says, comes to you from Ushuzia [Argentina], the southernmost city in the world…”.
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. Undated , ALS, 1 p., envelope lacking.
“Just back from the Argentine – a good trip. Spent about 3 weeks among the whales at peninsula Valdez…[Guy] Davenport is supposed to have a new collection of essays out from North Point. I thought the first collection was just a first rate piece of work…Just finished a very interesting book called The Body in Pain by Elaine Scanny…” Sending a Yount book found for 50 cents.
Correspondence - continued
1 6 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 24, 1986. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking him for Yount book. Recommends Robert Herring books.
Enclosing Anatole Broyard New York Times Book Review article, “To Squalor, With Love” that references Suttree. [clipping included].
1 6 McCarthy to Woolmer. February 28, 1987. ALS, 1 p.
“Good to hear from you. I see I’m going to have to start proofreading my letters before I send them off…” Spent Christmas with his brother in Knoxville then went to California for a week. “I’m now holed up and back to work. My whale biologist friend Roger is in the Seychelles. I think I’m in the wrong business…”
1 7 McCarthy to Woolmer. January 5, 1988. ALS, 2 pp.
“Thank you for the clipping from the NY Times. I’m just back from California, where a theatre group did a reading of a play I wrote…I’ve finished a rough draft of a novel [All the Pretty Horses] – Mexico & Texas in the 1940’s – and started another one with much the same setting…”
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 9, 1988. Photocopy, 1 p.
Asking if McCarthy has an extra copy of the play script.
1 7 McCarthy to Woolmer. March 21, 1988. ALS, 2 pp. (one sheet of paper)
“I aint forgot you…” Is hesitant to send copy of script “because I intend
some time to do some more work on it. There are elements that are just not clean…” Recommends [Bruce Chatwin’s] Songlines.
1 7 Woolmer to Ken Lopez. April 4, 1988. Carbon, 1 p.
Inquiring about advance copies of Outer Dark and Child of God.
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 19, 1988. Photocopy, 1 p.
Passing along compliment from Bruce Chatwin. Also inquiring about
selling his papers; is establishing a relationship with a university library that would be in position to purchase his archives. Advises to never throw anything away.
1 7 McCarthy to Woolmer. November 17, 1988. ALS, 2 pp.
“I’ve been in my non communication mode for some time but I have to write and thank you for the very handsome book…I appreciate your inquiry about my manuscripts. I’ve got – I suppose – most of them packed away in a storage locker along with corrected proofs and galleys and such. I dont really propose to do any thing with this junk except keep it…Anyway I’m still at work on my little projects I’ve finished rough rafts of 2 novels and started a third. They are all three connected…”
Correspondence - continued
1 7 McCarthy to Woolmer. April 8, 1989. ALS, 3 pp.
“Sorry for the long hiatus in our correspondence…” Just received a batch
of reviews [All the Pretty Horses]. “I was very distressed over Chatwin’s death. A talented and honest man and a decent human being – the perfect candidate, in other words for the fates to single out…I’ve lost another writer friend two weeks ago – Ed Abbey. I think he came across in his writing as some thing of a curmudgen [sic] but he was a kind and generous man – qualities, sad to say, not common to writers…” Refers to Woolmer’s comments about selling his manuscripts, “I get requests from institutions wanting me to send them my manuscripts. I sometimes wonder vaguely what they think I use for money. I’ve been a full time professional writer for 28 years and I’ve never received a royalty check. That, I’ll betcha, is a record…”
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. April 27, 1989. Photocopy, 1 p.
Shocked over Chatwin’s death; discusses Henry Miller and Saul Bellow
manuscripts sales; advises not to give away his papers.
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. August 22, 1989. Carbon, 1 p.
Inquiring how to pronounce “Suttree.” Arguing with friend that it is
1 7 McCarthy to Woolmer. September 6, 1989. ALS, 2 pp. (1 sheet of paper).
“Thanks for your note. You win the wager. It never occurred to me that folks would pronounce Suttree to rhyme with shoe tree but they do…”
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 14, 1990. Photocopy, 1 p.
Suggests bringing Dr. Thomas F. Staley, Director of the Harry Ransom
Center at the University of Texas to El Paso to meet McCarthy.
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. June 10, 1990. Carbon, 1 p.
Woolmer and Staley thinking of coming out in to El Paso in October.
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. August 15, 1990. Photocopy, 1 p.
Sending Paul Watkins novel; more about October trip possibility.
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. August 31, 1990. Photocopy, 1 p.
Staley suggests October 15, 16, or 17.
1 7 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 18, 1991. Carbon, 1 p.
Attended American Academy awards and disappointed McCarthy was a
no-show. Hopes to see him in El Paso in fall.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 15, 1992. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for proof copy of All the Pretty Horses; praises book. Will be in Austin for dinner for Elizabeth Hardwick, but won’t make it to El Paso.
Correspondence - continued
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. April 21, 1992. Photocopy, 1 p.
Asking about McCarthy signing copies of books; offers to broker deal for
his papers with the HRHRC.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. June 4, 1992. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for signed books. Inquires about scripts for The Stonemason and
The Gardner’s Son.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. September 11, 1992. Photocopy, 1 p.
Inquiring about The Stonemason.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. October 3, 1992. Photocopy, 1 p.
Recently spent the day with Guy Davenport; went to The University of
Tennessee library and found “Wake for Susan” and “A Drowning Incident” published in the Phoenix.
1 8 McCarthy to Woolmer. December 7, 1993. Printed invitation, 1 p.
“Cormac McCarthy invites you – on the occasion of his receiving the
National Book Award for 1992 – to a party to be held on Saturday December 19th at the law offices of Malcolm McGregor and Bobby Perel.”
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 10, 1993. Carbon, 1 p. with typed annotation.
Sending Thomas Staley’s review of All the Pretty Horses for Harper & Queen. TMs included, inscribed: “To Howard Woolmer, I’ve cut and cut for Harper and Queen. I could write a book on this fine novel. Best wishes, Tom 12/7/92”
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 1, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for party and lunch; Suggests limited edition of The
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 10, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for Stonemason; sending check for $100; congratulations on
National Book Critics Circle Award.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. April 10, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p.
Sending article in Firsts.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 1, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p.
Reporting on purchase of French editions during Paris trip.
1 8 Woolmer to Editions Robert Laffont. May 4, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p.
Inquiring about French editions.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 25, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p.
Update on All the Pretty Horses printings.
Correspondence - continued
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 13, 1993. Carbon, 1 p.
Complimenting “The Wolf Trapper.”
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 21, 1993. Photocopy, 1 p., annotated.
More about collecting foreign editions; asking to publish limited edition
of The Stonemason.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. February 20, 1994. Carbon, 1 p.
Regarding a photograph Woolmer had given McCarthy.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. March 24, 1994. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending books for signature; read in a London Times poll that both John
Banville and Roddy Doyle listed McCarthy as one of “the greatest living novelists writing in English.”
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 13, 1994. Carbon, 1 p.
Thanking for signed books.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. February 6, 1995. Photocopy, 1 p.
Regarding John Sheddan and McCarthy’s desire to purchase back letters
he’d sent to Sheddan. Corresponding note (TMs, 1 p.) from Woolmer
about his dealings with Sheddan.
1 8 Woolmer to Dennis McCarthy. May 15, 1995. Photocopy, 2 pp.
Proving fair market appraisals of three signed McCarthy books.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. August 20, 1995. Carbon, 1 p.
Had coffee with Marisa and Sylvia Erskine.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. September 8, 1995. Photocopy, 1 p.
Alerting McCarthy to bookmarks quoting him. Inquires about future
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 22, 1995. Photocopy, 1 p.
Heard that Thomas Staley met McCarthy in El Paso; urges McCarthy to
consider the HRHRC as home for his papers.
1 8 Woolmer to McCarthy. September 24, 1996. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for inscribed Gardener’s Son; just back from Vancouver.
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. September 14, 1997. Carbon, 1 p.
Inquiring about a proof copy of Cities of the Plain.
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. May 14, 1998. Carbon, 1 p.
Asking McCarthy to inscribe Cities of the Plain.
Correspondence - continued
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. July 24, 1998. Carbon, 1 p.
Sending Cities of the Plain for inscription; congratulations on wedding
and wife’s pregnancy.
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. September 9, 1998. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for Cities of the Plain; recommends The Bandana, a new opera
with a libretto written by Paul Muldoon.
1 9 McCarthy to Woolmer. January 6, 1999. Christmas card.
Signed, and with a print-out of a digital image of the John Francis
McCarthy, 5 months.
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 29, 1999. Photocopy, 1 p.
Inquires about screenplays “Whales and Men” and “Cities of the Plain.”
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. November 21, 1999. Carbon, 1 p.
Working on a new collection; going to Morocco.
1 9 McCarthy to Woolmer. November 28, 1999. Printout of digital image with
holograph annotation “John Francis McCarthy 15 months/Nov ’99 All best, Cormac.”
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 4, 1999. Carbon, 1 p.
Thanking for photograph
1 9 McCarthy to Woolmer. January 28, 2001. Printout of digital image with
holograph annotation “John Francis McCarthy, Age 2.”
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 30, 2001. Photocopy, 1 p.
Thanking for photograph; Comments on All the Pretty Horses film.
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. August 11, 2005. Printout, signed, 1 p.
Asking McCarthy to sign No Country for Old Men; meeting with Phillip
Murray in New York.
1 9 McCarthy to Woolmer. December 13, 2005. ALS, 1 p.
“Sorry to be so late answering your nice letter…” Has been in Ireland.
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. December 22, 2005. Printout, 1 p.
Sending book for signature; working on Irish Theatre Collection for
1 9 Woolmer to McCarthy. January 25, 2006. Printout, 1 p.
Thanking for inscribing No Country for Old Men; is reading Blood
Series II: Writings by Cormac McCarthy, 1982-1994.
Photocopy of the original typescript reproducing holograph corrections that
appeared in the original. 468 pp, annotated at bottom right of epilogue page, “Cuidad de Chihuahua December 1982” and “Oct 83 revision” on top left of same. Holograph inscription on the title page: “For Howard with all best wishes Cormac McCarthy.”
1 10 pp. 1-228 of Ms, plus title page, acknowledgements, and quotes. Also
included is a photocopy of a January 22, 1985 TL from Peter Shepherd to McCarthy. Pagination is continuous with additional numbered pages: 24a; 169a, b, and c; and 172a.
1 11 pp. 229-451 of Ms, plus 1 p. epilogue. Pagination is continuous from
229-319 with the exception of 254, 255, and 256 on same page. After p. 319, pagination is as follows: 310, 311x, 312, 313, 314x, 315x, 316x, 317, 318x, 319, 320. Pagination is continuous from 320-451 with the exception of 394 and 395 on same page.
Photocopy of page proofs, 513 pp. complete, printed on rectos only. Preceded by 3 information pp, the first “Cormac McCarthy June” in green felt pen. The second, title page, “Volume Two of The Border” reproduced holograph. The third, the copyright page with “2nd of 3 book contract untitled” with holograph note re the material published in Esquire and a note indicating to whom copies of this typescript should be sent, January 21, 1994. This is a proof for Knopf salesmen.
2 1 pp. 1-200 plus 3 information pp.
2 2 pp. 201-400
2 3 pp. 401-513
Photocopy of page proofs ready for book printing with line numbering on left side of each page. Loose sheets, 421 pp., printed on rectos only, March 21, 1994. Printed note: “This pass was done in the ‘Rough Page’ format as requested. Please be advised that standard paging specifications such as window, number lines of the of the last page of a chapter are purposely ignored…” Holograph inscription, “Sent to me for review by McCarthy’s editor Gary Fisketjon, Michael Mewshaw.”
2 4 pp. 1-200 plus publication information proofs.
2 5 pp. 201-421
Writings by Cormac McCarthy - continued
The Crossing, continued
Photocopy of final typescript, 556 pp., loose sheets printed on rectos only. Prepared for limited distribution to Knopf salesmen, with two pages of “key selling points.” May 1994.
3 1 “Key selling points” fact sheet from Knopf for sales. Includes marketing
plans, book description, author information, and previous book sales history. 2 pp.
3 2 pp. 1-200
3 3 pp. 201-400
3 4 pp. 401-556
3 5 Photocopy of final typescript, 556 pp., printed on verso and rectos and bound in
cloth. Prepared for limited distribution to Knopf salesmen, with two pages of “key selling points.” May 1994.
Cities of the Plain
3 6 Photocopy of page proofs, 291 pp. March 5, 1998.
4 1 Photocopy of typescript, 231 pp., printed on verso and rectos and bound in cloth.
[Error: includes title Knopf information sheet for From Oslo to Iraq and the Road Map by Edward W. Said.]
The Stonemason: A Play in Five Acts
4 2 Photocopy of typescript, 107 pp., including cover sheet and title page plus pages
2a and 85a & b. Agent’s stamp is on cover sheet. Holograph inscription on title page “For Howard All the best Cormac.” The Ecco Press edition is revised from this typescript. The holograph changes that appear in the typescript are mostly incorporated in the Ecco version and there are considerable other changes both in dialogue and in stage directions. Also includes 1 photocopy p. from Publishers Weekly, March 28, 1994 with note on Ecco Press publication.
The Gardener’s Son
4 3 Photocopy of shooting script, 140 pp. Accompanied by the envelope addressed
by the author dated December 21, 1978.
Series III: Writings about McCarthy, 1974-2006
4 4 Coles, Robert. “The Stranger,” in The New Yorker, August 2, 1974, pp. 87-90.
4 5 Ditsky, John. “Further Into Darkness: The Novels of Cormac McCarthy,” in The
Hollins Circle, vol. 18, no. 2, April 1981, pp 1-11.
4 6 Hall, Michael. “Desperately Seeking Cormac,” in Texas Monthly, vol. 26, issue
7, July 1998, pp. 76-79; 110-111.
4 7 Hodge, Roger D. “Blood and Time: Cormac McCarthy at the Twilight of the
West,” in Harper’s Magazine, vol. 312, no. 1869, February 2006, pp. 65-
4 8 Luce, Dianne C. “Cormac McCarthy: A Bibliography,” , 17 pp.
4 9 Passaro, Vince. “The Best Unknown Writer in America,” in Mirabella, May
1992, pp. 52-54.
4 10 Privratsky, Kenneth L. “The New McCarthyism: Collecting Cormac McCarthy”
in Firsts, April 1993, pp. 24-28.
4 11 Sepich, John Emil. “A ‘bloody dark pastryman’: Cormac McCarthy’s Recipe for
Gunpowder and Historical Fiction in Blood Meridian.” (photocopy)
Sepich, John Emil. “The Dance of History in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood
Meridian” in The Southern Literary Journal, vol 24, no. 1, Fall 1991, pp
Sepich, John Emil. “’What kind of Indians was them?’: Some Historical Sources
in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian,” in The Southern Quarterly, vol. 30, no. 4, Summer 1992, pp. 93-110. (photocopy)
4 12 Staley, Thomas F. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (review) in
Harper’s and Queen, April 1993, p. 76.
4 13 Wolff, Geoffrey. “Deadbeats, Live Wires: Hanging out with Cormac McCarthy,”
in Esquire, March 27, 1979, pp. 78-80.
4 14 Wood, James. “Red Planet: the sanguinary sublime of Cormac McCarthy,” in
The New Yorker, July 25, 2005, pp. 88-93.
4 15 Woodward, Richard W. “Cormac McCarthy’s Venomous Fiction,” in The New
York Times Magazine, April 19, 1992, pp. 28-31, 36, 40.
Clipping files, 1965-2006
4 16 1965-1976 (clippings from John Sheddan)
4 17 1965-1979
5 1 1989-1990
5 2 1992
5 3 1993
5 4 1994-2005