Perhaps Texas' most beloved writer, John Graves was born in Fort Worth in 1920 where he explored the Trinity River. He graduated from Rice University, received a master’s degree from Columbia, and served in the Pacific as a first lieutenant where he lost the sight in one eye. He taught at the University of Texas and Texas Christian University before writing four notable Texas books: Goodbye to a River, Hard Scrabble, From a Limestone Ledge, and Myself and Strangers. Over the years, Graves also contributed to Texas Monthly and wrote for the Sierra Club, the Atlantic, Esquire, and the New Yorker.
In 1960, with the proceeds from Goodbye to a River, Graves purchased some 400 acres outside of Glen Rose, Texas, which he dubbed Hard Scrabble. There he continued to write, raised goats, and kept honey bees. He died in 2013. The Wittliff Collections is the home to John Graves' archives.