University of Texas at Austin

Peter Matthiessen:

A Preliminary Inventory of an Addition to His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Matthiessen, Peter, 1927-2014
Title: Peter Matthiessen Addition to His Papers
Dates: 1979-1997
Extent: 13 boxes (5.46 linear feet)
Abstract: This addition includes articles on two of Matthiessen's recurring subjects, North American Indians and wildlife, material on his books, Indian Country and Lost Man's River, correspondence, and personal information in the form of articles and interviews.
Call Number: Manuscript Collection MS-02721
Language: English
Access: Open for research

Administrative Information

Acquisition: Purchase, 2000 (R13525.2)
Processed by: Suzanne Casey and Liz Murray, 2000

Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin

Scope and Contents

This collection of Peter Matthiessen Papers is an addition to a larger accession received in 1995, for which a preliminary inventory is also 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 to 1983. Five articles include drafts and research material, along with the 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 book 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 1995 accession.
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 is also present.
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 Biography.

Peter Matthiessen Papers--Folder List