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Kenneth Royal Murdoch:

A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator: Murdoch, Royal, 1898-1981
Title: Kenneth Royal Murdoch Papers
Dates: 1940-1982
Extent: 12 boxes, 1 oversize folder (5.04 linear feet)
Abstract: The papers of poet Kenneth Royal Murdoch contain handwritten and typescript drafts of prose and poetry, children's stories, plays, extensive correspondence, and personal material.
Language: English
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Gift, 2005 (Gift no. 12451)

Processed by:

Hope Rider and Liz Murray, 2005

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center


The papers of poet Kenneth Royal Murdoch contain handwritten and typescript drafts of prose and poetry, children's stories, plays, extensive correspondence, and personal material. Although his works were published under the name Royal Murdoch, he was known to his friends and family as "Kenneth," the name he also employed in his correspondence. The collection is organized in three series: I. Works, 1941-1982; II. Correspondence, 1940-1981; and III. Personal.

The works in Series I. include drafts of three published books: The Disrobing: Sex and Satire (edited and published posthumously by Winston Leyland of Gay Sunshine Press, 1982), Gargantua's Mouth (1946), and New Friends of Mother Goose (1958). Also present are drafts of an unfinished novel "Letters to Xenophon Ho," as well as numerous poems and playscripts. Ideas and sketches for works can be found in numerous notebooks and notes on various subjects.

Series II. Correspondence, 1940-1981, bound in date order by Murdoch, contains incoming and outgoing letters, primarily typed transcriptions of personal correspondence. Correspondents include Murdoch's mother Mary Snyder, sister Sadie Woodhead, friends such as Winston Leyland, Stavros Mannesis, Felice Picano, Cyril Sloane, and Edward Watkins; and fellow poets including Peter Dent, Marianne Moore, and André Spire. Loose materials from the bound volumes, such as original letters, photographs, and personal papers, are foldered separately and follow the bound letters.

The personal material in Series III. includes promotional blurbs for works by Murdoch, Spanish vocabulary aides, "Poems and Prose, 1954-1974" by David Malberg, diplomas from high school and college, photographs, and cancelled stamps.

Books and personal effects received with the collection were transferred to appropriate departments within the Ransom Center. The material is in good condition with the exception of fragile drafts of "The Letters to Xenophon Ho" that were photocopied to facilitate access without using the original draft pages.