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Donald Barthelme Literary Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory

Works by Barthelme

Correspondence

Material about Barthelme and His Works

Writing Career

Photographs

Miscellaneous

Students' Works

Works by Others

Clip Art Books

Editorial Career

Videocassette



Contact us about this collection

Donald Barthelme Literary Papers, 1956-2001 | University of Houston Libraries

By Julie Grob

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Collection Overview

Title: Donald Barthelme Literary Papers, 1956-2001

ID: 03/2002-007

Primary Creator: Barthelme, Donald

Extent: 30.0 Boxes

Subjects: Angell, Roger, Authors, American - 20th century, Authors - 20th century, Barthelme, Donald, Beattie, Ann, Love, Jim, 1927-2005, Lowry, Beverly, New Yorker (New York, N.Y. : 1925), O'Hara, J. D. (James Donald), Paley, Grace, Percy, Walker, 1916-1990, Powell, Padgett, Short stories, American, University of Houston - Faculty, University of Houston. Creative Writing Program

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Galley proofs, Page proofs, Typescripts

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection contains typescript drafts, galley proofs, and page proofs of Donald Barthelme's novels, collected works, short stories, and other writings, plus collages and collage stories created by Barthelme. One of the richest aspects of the collection is the large set of letters and cards from Barthelme's writing friends and colleagues. The collection also includes about a dozen photographs of Barthelme. In addition, material related to Barthelme's teaching career is incorporated, notably student works that Barthelme received during his years in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston.

Each series is prefaced by a detailed description.

Related Materials:

Donald Barthelme "Forum" Collection (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=258)

The book collection from Donald Barthelme's personal library. (http://library.uh.edu/search~S11?/tdonald+barthelme+literary+papers/tdonald+barthelme+literary+papers/1%2C2%2C98%2CB/exact&FF=tdonald+barthelme+literary+papers&1%2C97%2C)

Biographical Note

Donald Barthelme was born in Philadelphia in 1931 to parents Donald Barthelme Sr. and Helen (Bechtold) Barthelme. In 1932, the family moved to Houston, where Donald Barthelme Sr. developed an architectural practice and taught at the University of Houston and Rice University. Barthelme had four younger siblings: Joan (born 1932), Peter (born 1938), Frederick (born 1943), and Steven (born 1947).

Barthelme enrolled at the University of Houston in 1949, where he took courses in journalism, literature, creative writing, and philosophy. He became a reporter, critic, and editor for the school's newspaper, The Cougar.

In July 1951, he left the University of Houston for a job at the Houston Post, where he reviewed movies, plays, and concerts. From July 1953 to December 1954 he served in Korea, writing for the 2nd Infantry Division's official publication. Following his return to Houston, Barthelme took a public relations job at the University of Houston. There he founded and became editor of the interdisciplinary journal Forum. In 1961, Barthelme became acting director of the Contemporary Arts Museum. The following year he moved to New York City to edit a new journal of art and literature called Location.

In 1961, Barthelme's short story "The Darling Duckling at School" (later renamed "Me and Mrs. Mandible") appeared in the journal Contact. Inspired by Samuel Beckett, Barthelme rejected the constraints of traditional plot, setting, and character development in favor of verbal collages full of absurdity and wit. In 1963, Barthelme published the story "L'lapse" in the New Yorker, quickly becoming a regular contributor.

In 1964 Barthelme released his first collection of stories, Come Back, Dr. Caligari. From that point on, he stayed at the forefront of American literature for three decades. Barthelme published nine more story collections, and 129 stories and "casuals" in the New Yorker. Always innovative, he created "collage stories" that combined images and text, and "dialogue stories" in which two disembodied voices alternate in conversation. He also published three novels - Snow White, The Dead Father, and Paradise. In 1972 he released a children's book, The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine, winning the National Book Award for Children's Literature.

Barthelme remains best known for Sixty Stories, a 1981 anthology of his finest work from the sixties and seventies. Sixty Stories was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in 1982.

Donald Barthelme taught creative writing at City College in New York from 1974-75. In 1979, he was invited to teach in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. Initially he taught in Houston one semester a year, while continuing to live in New York City. In 1983, Barthelme moved to Houston to become a full-time professor. A beloved teacher, he eventually became director of the Creative Writing Progam, a position he held until his death.

Subject/Index Terms

Angell, Roger
Authors, American - 20th century
Authors - 20th century
Barthelme, Donald
Beattie, Ann
Love, Jim, 1927-2005
Lowry, Beverly
New Yorker (New York, N.Y. : 1925)
O'Hara, J. D. (James Donald)
Paley, Grace
Percy, Walker, 1916-1990
Powell, Padgett
Short stories, American
University of Houston - Faculty
University of Houston. Creative Writing Program

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

Acquisition Source: This collection was acquired in 2002 from Marion Barthelme.

Acquisition Method: A few miscellaneous items already owned by the University of Houston Libraries were added to the collection. Typescripts of the short stories "City Life," "City Life II," and "A Dream" were purchased from Joseph the Provider Books in the 1980s. Four typescripts of Donald Barthelme's Paris Review interview, one proof sheet of the interview introduction, and letters from George Plimpton and J.D. O'Hara were also purchased from Joseph the Provider Books in the 1980s. A speech on writers delivered at University of Houston in 1974 was purchased from Detering Book Gallery in 1979. The non-fiction piece "Woman is an imaginary being" was transferred from the Donald Barthelme Forum Collection. The Houston Chronicle article "Donald Barthelme: Serious Writer at Play" was donated by Michael Berryhill in 2005.

Related Materials:

Donald Barthelme "Forum" Collection (http://archon.lib.uh.edu/?p=collections/controlcard&id=258)

The book collection from Donald Barthelme's personal library. (http://library.uh.edu/search~S11?/tdonald+barthelme+literary+papers/tdonald+barthelme+literary+papers/1%2C2%2C98%2CB/exact&FF=tdonald+barthelme+literary+papers&1%2C97%2C)

Preferred Citation: Donald Barthelme Literary Papers, Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Works by Barthelme, [1959]-1990],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1958-1997],
[Series 3: Material about Barthelme and His Works, 1951-2001],
[Series 4: Writing Career, 1972-1997],
[Series 5: Photographs, 1979-1988],
[Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1960-2005],
[Series 7: Students' Works, 1983-1989],
[Series 8: Works by Others, 1975-1989],
[Series 9: Clip Art Books, 1956-1992],
[Series 10: Editorial Career, 1972],
[Series 11: Videocassette],
[All]

Series 7: Students' Works, 1983-1989
Sub-Series 1: Graduate Students, Creative Writing Program
Works submitted to Barthelme by students in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston.
Sub-Sub-Series 1: Elizabeth Ashton
Box 15
Folder 1: The Exorcist, undated
Folder 2: Street Talk, 1984
Folder 3: The Triumph 10, 1983
Sub-Sub-Series 2: [Glenn Blake]
Box 15
Folder 4: Chocolate Bay, undated
Folder 5: Chocolate Bay, undated
Folder 6: The Clearing, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 3: Michael Bond
Box 15
Folder 7: Leftovers
Folder 8: Leftovers
Folder 9: Leftovers
Sub-Sub-Series 4: Maureen Brown
Box 15
Folder 10: Pizza Kid, with note, 1983
Sub-Sub-Series 5: [Kathleen] Cambor
Box 15
Folder 11: Anne, undated
Folder 12: Anne, undated
Folder 13: Anne, undated
Folder 14: Stars, 1983
Sub-Sub-Series 6: Vikram Chandra
Box 15
Folder 15: Red Earth and Pouring Rain, undated
Folder 16: Red Earth and Pouring Rain, undated
Folder 17: Red Earth and Pouring Rain, undated
Folder 18: Red Earth and Pouring Rain, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 7: [Thomas] Cobb
Box 15
Folder 19: Consider the Lilies of the Field, 1983
Sub-Sub-Series 8: Kevin Cunningham
Box 15
Folder 20: Strange Attractors, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 9: Tracy Daugherty
Box 16
Folder 1: Harrup, undated
Folder 2: Harrup, alternate draft, with note, undated
Folder 3: Lowrider, with letter, undated
Folder 4: Lowrider, with letter, undated
Folder 5: Observatory, undated
Folder 6: Problem, undated
Folder 7: Raphael's Blush, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 10: Lila Havens
Box 16
Folder 8: Noctimania, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 11: O[live] Hershey
Box 16
Folder 9: Science in the Modern World, with card, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 12: Sabine Hilding
Box 16
Folder 10: Anna, undated
Folder 11: Anna, alternate draft, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 13: Robert Lunday
Box 16
Folder 12: The Amnesia Club, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 14: Elizabeth McBride
Box 16
Folder 13: Separations
Folder 14: Separations
Folder 15: Sheila, Part I, with cards, 1987
Folder 16: Sheila, Part I, with cards, 1987
Folder 17: Sheila, Part I, 1987
Folder 18: Sheila, Part I, 1987
Sub-Sub-Series 15: Daniel C. Massey
Box 16
Folder 19: Local Terror
Sub-Sub-Series 16: [Virginia] "Ginger" [Moran]
Box 16
Folder 20: The Algebra of Snow
Sub-Sub-Series 17: David Portz
Box 16
Folder 21: Hand Motions About the Neck, 1988
Folder 22: Short Stories, 1989
Sub-Sub-Series 18: Padgett Powell
Box 16
Folder 23: Typical, with note to Marion, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 19: [Michael] "Mike" Ronan
Box 16
Folder 24: Dali Lama Dreams, 1986
Sub-Sub-Series 20: Marilyn Stablein
Box 16
Folder 25: After the Trial, undated
Folder 26: Circling the Buddha, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 21: Eleanor Totz
Box 16
Folder 27: Defiled,undated
Sub-Sub-Series 22: George Williams
Box 16
Folder 28: Airport, undated
Folder 29: Bus, undated
Folder 30: Deadly, undated
Folder 31: Fame, undated
Folder 32: Garden of Earthly Delights, with letter, undated
Folder 33: Ghost, undated
Folder 34: Mule, with letter, undated
Box 17
Folder 1: Under a Green Sun, undated
Folder 2: Under a Green Sun, undated
Folder 3: Under a Green Sun, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 23: Eric Miles Williamson
Box 17
Folder 4: The Pedestrian Wheel, 1988
Sub-Sub-Series 24: Paul Yeager
Box 17
Folder 5: Red Hot Nights, 1988
Folder 6: Red Hot Nights, alternate draft (photocopy), with letter, 1988
Sub-Sub-Series 25: George?
Box 17
Folder 7: The History of Luminescence
Folder 8: The History of Luminescence
Folder 9: The History of Luminescence
Sub-Sub-Series 26: [Polly]
Box 17
Folder 10: Roberta 1956, ch. 7, undated
Sub-Sub-Series 27: Unidentified
Box 17
Folder 11: Angel Corp., undated
Folder 12: Angel Corp., undated
Folder 13: The Butterfly Effect, undated
Folder 14: The Heater Man, undated
Folder 15: [L.A. Law teleplay],undated
Folder 16: Rates of Exchange, undated
Folder 17: Slam Dance, undated
Folder 18: Fragments, undated
Sub-Series 2: Undergraduate Students, 1984-1988
Works submitted to Barthelme by undergraduate students at the University of Houston.
Box 17
Folder 19: Undergraduate students, 1984-1988 and undated
Folder 20: Undergraduate students, 1984-1988 and undated
Folder 21: Fragments, undated

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Works by Barthelme, [1959]-1990],
[Series 2: Correspondence, 1958-1997],
[Series 3: Material about Barthelme and His Works, 1951-2001],
[Series 4: Writing Career, 1972-1997],
[Series 5: Photographs, 1979-1988],
[Series 6: Miscellaneous, 1960-2005],
[Series 7: Students' Works, 1983-1989],
[Series 8: Works by Others, 1975-1989],
[Series 9: Clip Art Books, 1956-1992],
[Series 10: Editorial Career, 1972],
[Series 11: Videocassette],
[All]

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