This collection of Peter Matthiessen Papers is an addition to
a larger accession received in 1995, for which a preliminary inventory is
available. Included are articles on two of Matthiessen's recurring subjects,
North American Indians and wildlife, as well as material on two of his books,
Indian Country and
Lost Man's River, correspondence,
and information about Matthiessen.
The collection is arranged in three Series: Series I.
Writings and Research Material, Series II. Correspondence, 1991-1996, and
Series III. Personal.
The articles on North American Indians in Series I date from
1979-1983. Five articles include drafts and research material, along with
published piece, while the others are represented by solely by the printed
article. The theme of these articles is carried forward in Matthiessen's 1984
Indian Country in which he
"explores ten important instances where the white man's encroachments upon the
sacred grounds of Indian tribes show the tragic effects of a confrontation that
is bound to harm both sides." Though the entire manuscript is not present, a
portion of the chapter on the Great Basin is included along with extensive
research material comprised of articles, theses, documentary reports, Supreme
Court and other court rulings, published works, and correspondence. This
material complements the drafts, galleys, and reviews for
Indian Country received in the
Drafts of Matthiessen's second novel in his Watson trilogy,
Lost Man's River (1997), complete
Series I and brings new book material to his papers. In
Lost Man's River, Matthiessen
"confronts the primal relationship between a dangerous father and his desperate
sons and the ways in which his death has shaped their lives." Matthiessen's
1990 novel in this series,
Killing Mister Watson, is
well-represented in numerous drafts in the previous accession.
The small amount of recent correspondence in Series II is of
a general nature, with the exception of a file on the Yanomamö genocide which
contains documents and letters from Napoleon Chagnon and Stephen Corry. Other
correspondents include Ramsey Clark, Jim Harrison, John Irving, James Salter,
and Gary Snyder. A small group of fan mail and thank you letters from 1996
Series III contains information on Matthiessen in the form of
articles and interviews as well as a 1996 draft of his entry in the
Dictionary of Literary
Additional material is expected.