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The Writers Road: Selections from the Sam Shepard Papers

Man in sunglasses driving
Sam driving, 1977, by Johnny Dark

JUNE 3, 2013 – FEBRUARY 14, 2014
THE WRITER'S ROAD: Selections from the SAM SHEPARD Papers

Widely considered one of America's greatest living playwrights, Sam Shepard was also an accomplished actor, director, screenwriter, and musician. Shepard has received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and has been nominated for an Academy Award for his acting. He was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letter in 1986. In 1992, he received the Gold Medal for Drama from the Academy and in 1994 he was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame. His impact on modern theater can be gauged by the numerous scholarly books and articles devoted to his work, as well as the hundreds of productions of his plays, both in the U.S. and abroad.

The Wittliff is home to the major archive of Sam Shepard, and The Writer’s Road is the first-ever comprehensive exhibition from this extensive and illuminating archive. The exhibition also celebrates the book in The Wittliff’s Southwestern Writers Collection Series: Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark. Edited by Texas State faculty member Chad Hammett, Two Prospectors presents selected correspondence and photographs from Shepard’s archive, chronicling the decades-long friendship between Shepard and Dark, who is Shepard’s former father-in-law from his marriage to actress O-Lan Jones. The Writer's Road exhibition includes Wittliff materials used by filmmaker Treva Wurmfeld to make the documentary, Shepard & Dark, which won the prize for Best Documentary Feature at the 2012 Woodstock Film Festival, among other awards.

Together, the exhibition and new book offer fascinating revelations and insights into the private life, working methods, and creative career of this Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, short-story writer, screenwriter, director, musician, and Academy Award-nominated actor. 

Below are galleries that feature many of The Wittliff's Shepard materials.

Gallery: An Introduction

Gallery: 1960s and 1970s, Days of Heaven and Buried Child

Gallery: Early 1980s, True West and The Right Stuff

Gallery: Mid-1980s to 1990s, Fool for Love

Gallery: 1990s to 2013, Cruising Paradise

Gallery: Selected Letters from Shepard to Dark